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Secure destruction

(also data wiping)

Secure destruction definition

Secure destruction is a process of permanent confidential data removal from a given device to prevent unauthorized information access without any data recovery options. Many advanced techniques and methods are used, such as physical destruction, cryptographic algorithms, overwriting, and degaussing. These methods aim to make data unrecoverable or unreadable to minimize the risk of leaking, breaching, or disclosing sensitive information. Secure destruction is widely used for repurposing or disposing of electronic devices, like solid-state drives, hard drives, smartphones, and IoT devices. To be more precise, all devices – that can contain sensitive data.

See also: spyware, anti-malware

Common secure destruction methods

Various secure destruction methods are used for different types of media, data sensitivity levels, regulations, or compliance requirements. Here are a few common techniques:

Data overwriting: This data overwriting method includes forensic techniques. The data is overwritten with random information multiple times. Thus it becomes unreadable and unrecoverable.

Degaussing: This method uses powerful magnetic fields to erase the information stored on various magnetic media, such as hard drives or tapes. When magnetic patterns are disrupted, the data is rendered to the point of being useless.

Secure Wiping Software: Specialized software is used to securely erase or compromise data on the storage by overwriting it with random patterns.

Physical Destruction: Different techniques are used to destroy the data in storage media, such as crushing, shredding, or disintegration. These physical techniques ensure that data is unrecoverable in any way.

Encryption and Key Destruction: Encrypting the information in an unreadable way and getting rid of encryption keys makes the data unreadable and inaccessible.