With the increasing demand for recycled and refurbished electronics, and the growing phone-selling market online, a need for safeguarding one’s private data has become an important issue in a progressively computerized world. In other words, beware of the data-scouring fiends that patiently await your recycled smartphones.
“Identity theft is not a joke, Jim. Millions of families suffer every year,” Dwight Schrute exclaims to Jim Halpert after Jim shows up to work wearing the exact same outfit as Dwight -- a classic reference from The Office. It is true; it does happen to millions of people every year. With the incredible amounts of data being stored on smartphones that are capable of just about anything nowadays, large amounts of personal data may be at risk if not taken care of properly.
So how do we avoid this problem? BlackBelt Defence seems to have a grip on things with its recently introduced DataWipe software algorithm that claims to securely erase data on all memory chips including solid-state drives and Flash memory.
The typical Flash memory drive contains its own onboard memory protection algorithm known as wear leveling. This process functions as a means of leveling out the amount of wear each individual memory block on the chip suffers due to each write/copy cycle. This is done in order to extend the lifetime of each cell’s ability to store a charge by re-mapping the contents of the internal memory on each subsequent write cycle. Thus, it does not allow a complete overwrite of the memory cells to happen. The problem here is that traditional data wiping processes used by recycling and refurbishing companies use an overwriting technique that is meant for CDs, DVDs, and the like, but not SSD and Flash memory.
This is where BlackBelt Defence’s new DataWipe software makes its case. Unlike other data deletion methods, its algorithm works alongside the wear leveling process to completely wipe all data from a memory chip. Some other key benefits of the software include reduced operational overheads, fully traceable audit trails, brand identity safeguarding, customer data protection, and a user-friendly interface.
BlackBelt’s software seems very worthy of its name for the protection it offers to companies and individuals concerned with safeguarding their data. Though the company claims it still may not be able to avoid high-tech security attacks that employ electron microscopes, it is still the best data protection software available commercially. So much so that the British government is considering it for an award. So if you are feeling paranoid about selling your phone on eBay, consider getting yourself a BlackBelt for protection. BlackBelt DataWipe, that is.
Most of those old devices I keep are within 20 feet of me right now. So, it is more like "try not to notice every day."
However, with programs like DOSbox, I am considering recycling the old PCs. Though, perhaps they are becoming collector's items now. My father sold all his old 12" foppy disk based PCs and such on Ebay not too long ago for quite a bit. The original boxes fetched a healthy price on their own.
DBAN is great. Running it 10 times would definitely wipe a harddrive enough so the average, and even adept, user would not be able to get data off the drive. Perhaps the NSA could get recover whatever is on there...
However, DBAN is currently not set up to use on cell phones. Perhaps in the near future.
And yes, the hammer to the drive is a good idea. Even those platter pieces could have recoverable data on them. Use this method as a last resort.
Cabe - So are you saying that DBAN isn't even that great? Your recommendation for running it 10 times makes me a bit nervous. I'm thinking going back to the old sledge hammer is the best approach. (Actually, drill press, but the sledg hammer makes a better visual).
Unfortunately, I can't just put gear in the basement, per say. After letting a bunch of old computers and laptops age from being worth a little money to garbage, I don't like to house tech anymore. I like to sell what I don't use, and buy the next new "whatever."
However, I have destroyed harddrives when I worked in medical IT. That is always an option.
PS. I still have a 286, 386, and 486 PC in storage. The computers of my youth, to be exact. Old video game consoles I can't seem to part with. A few webOS based cell phones, I just like to have as backup. So, perhaps I do follow your suggestion.
I'm not surprised that company is doing a booming business, bobjengr. I've talked to countless people who say they're afraid to get rid of their old electronics, especially if they used them to buy something online.
Very informative post Cabe. I do just about the same a Charles indicated in his comments: just put the old laptops, cell phones, etc etc in the basement and buy new. I was just made aware of a company in my home town that provides a service wiping PC hard-disks and cell phone memory. It's (apparently) doing a booming business. They also repair cell phones when damaged. It's a retail establishment so I paid them a visit to see what they were all about. I was amazed and the business they do wiping memory. Obviously this is a definite need prior to tossing, selling or giving electronics to other people. Great post.
The style of "wiping" a phone's data is a sensitive matter. Only user modified space can have the process applied. Some of which is in an OS or hardware protected space. IE:phone's contacts, text messages, etc. So, those areas need surgical style writing and rewriting of bits to cover over the original data. A process like DBAN will overwrite all data it has access to. DBAN, for example, may not get to all of a phone's data, in other words.
Are they robots or androids? We're not exactly sure. Each talking, gesturing Geminoid looks exactly like a real individual, starting with their creator, professor Hiroshi Ishiguro of Osaka University in Japan.
Truchard will be presented the award at the 2014 Golden Mousetrap Awards ceremony during the co-located events Pacific Design & Manufacturing, MD&M West, WestPack, PLASTEC West, Electronics West, ATX West, and AeroCon.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.