By: JoEllen Barton, SecurShred
So. Burlington, Vermont – In this data driven age, it is more important than ever to protect your information. At least 54 million households in the United States have a home computer and use the internet (1). This opens computer users to identity theft, phishing scams, credit card fraud, etc. In order to protect your household from these acts, computer users must become diligent and educated regarding the proper disposal and destruction of their electronics.
A good majority of electronics these days have some sort of hard drive installed in them. PDA’s, cell phones, lap tops, desk top computers, facsimile machines, anything that you can save information to has a memory bank that stores your information.
Not all information can be cleared by simply using an *overwriting program, reformatting the drive, running a magnet over it or drilling holes in the hard drive platter. If the platter can spin or is flat enough to get an image off of it then it could still have information taken from it. Same can be said for a SIM/SD media card.
When it’s time to replace your electronic device you should remove the hard drive or SIM/ SD media card and have them destroyed. The SIMM/SDMI card is easy to destroy as you can cut them up with a good pair of scissors. A hard drive or external drive can be just as easy to remove and destroy/recycle.
The tools you’re going to need are either a phillips head screwdriver and/or a flat head screwdriver. Depending upon whether you have a laptop or a desktop the instructions vary. Unfortunately Macintosh laptop hard drives are not as easy to extract. These should be brought or sent to a company like Ship-n-Destroy.com that can remove the hard drive for you. Consult your laptop or desktop computer users guide if you have any further questions.
PC – Laptops/Notebooks
Turn off the laptop and unplug it, then remove the main battery.
Locate the slot that houses the hard drive. The hard drive slot is usually located on one side of the laptop, but on some models it may be located in the front.
Remove the screw (or screws) that connect the slot cover to the laptop and then gently pull out the hard drive. The hard drive will be enclosed in a sled-type housing that is often connected to the slot cover.
Remove the two screws on each side of the hard drive that secure the sled and then remove any screws that connect the hard drive or sled to the slot cover.
Desktop Computer Towers
Turn off your computer, disconnect the power, and remove your computer’s side panel. Depending on the model or type of casing, you may have to remove both side panels.
Unplug all cables connected to the hard disk. If necessary unscrew the hard drive from the casing and then remove the hard disk. Many hard disks slide in and out of the case on rails.
Now that the hard drive has been removed you can donate your laptop or computer or drop it off or mail it to a company like Ship-n-Destroy.com for proper electronics recycling. Your hard drive should be brought to a NAID certified destruction company for secure destruction and recycling.
SIM Card – A subscriber identity module or subscriber identification module (SIM) is an integrated circuit that securely stores the International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI) and the related key used to identify and authenticate subscribers on mobile telephony devices (such as mobile phones and computers).
SD – Secure Digital or (SD) is a non-volatile memory card format for use in portable devices. The Secure Digital format includes four card families available in three different form factors. The four families are the original, Standard-Capacity (SDSC), the High-Capacity (SDHC), the eXtended-Capacity (SDXC), and the SDIO, which combines input/output functions with data storage.
(1) Current population tolls. US Census Bureau. Eric C. Newburger
*For more information about hard drive defects and why it is impossible to overwrite the drive, visit www.securshred.com.
Customer Service, Marketing and IT Associate