Pressing the 'Delete' button doesn't permanently delete files! There are some misconceptions about erasing information from our computers and here we'll put that right... along with information on what you should look for in file and disk deletion software.
Clicking delete, emptying the Recycle Bin, or even formatting the drive doesn't get rid of files. The digital information still remains on the drive we are using.
This is known as data remanence -- the residual representation of data that remains even after attempts have been made to remove or erase it. So, when we delete, it's simply the pathway to the file(s) that's removed and the data itself is reserved for overwriting with new content.
There are programs that can recreate this deleted data from the different hidden locations on the disk drive or from the swap file. You can read about recovery software in my article, Software To Undelete That Lost DataWe are particularly at risk when selling or disposing of our computer, or even putting it in for repair. Anyone with one of these recovery programs and access to our computer can see everything we've used our computer for... unless our unwanted information is deleted beyond recovery. To illustrate, in his book Database Nation, Simson Garfinkel writes that drives purchased on eBay regularly contain sensitive or confidential data, such as credit card data, pin numbers, financial spreadsheets, etc.
Here's what we're going to cover...
So bearing this in mind, what software features should you be selecting to permanently delete files?
Wiping free space ensures those files that have been marked as available space are actually overwritten and wiped, so that the original contents are non-recoverable.
CyberScrub is used by the EPA, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Department of the Interior and the United Nations.
The program will permanently delete files all types, erase tracks and clean your internet history.
It also speeds up your computer by erasing the deleted junk on free space. This privacy software will locate and delete data from areas of your computer that store traces of your activity, from web surfing and downloads to sensitive information that you thought was gone!
CyberScrub Privacy Suite will probably suit most people but if you want to securely wipe external media, such as USB sticks, CD/DVD and external hard drives, CyberScrub Security is the one to go for.
For businesses that have Regulatory Compliance, then these programs meet document life-cycle policies for HIPAA, Sarbanes-Oxley, FACTA and GLB.
I go into more detail about this software in my article,