Secure File Deletion

Today I received an email inviting me to buy a Easy File Shredder product for a special price of $15 instead of the usual price of $50.

Securely deleting sensitive data is really important. But is buying a product really needed?

This type of thing has generally been needed because when you delete a file, you are essentially marking the file space as unallocated, and until the space is used for new files, recovery software can “undelete” it.

For this reason, if I were deleting a sensitive file at work, I might use a something like sdelete from Microsoft Sysinternals or if I’d neglected to delete it securely, I’d use something like ‘cipher /w:F’ to wipe these file rementants from the whitespace.

Now I hear what you’re saying. These command line tools are fine, but a normal user might be needing a GUI. CCleaner has a securedelete functionality, as wells as a drive whitespace cleaner that can be used.

But this isn’t even the worst part about this. Many, if not most computers are now using SSDs for performance. The Secure File Deleting device I’ve given are for traditional drives. With SSDs you cant securely delete a file by overwriting the original blocks. There are no file blocks. A product like this is of questionable benefit.

What you need to do instead is make sure that you have full disk encryption enabled. On Windows this is bitlocker for your main drive and bitlocker to go for your removable storage. Then if someone were trying to recover files that you’ve previously deleted, they would need to first successfully authenticate to the computer.

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