Computer magazine Which this week warns of the threat of identity theft and advises the public to dispose of hard drives carefully. I would encourage anyone to recycle and re-use computers where possible but think carefully before diposing of a hard drive or laptop.
There are many a case of identity theft caused by the seemingly safe disposal of a PC, as readily available software can easily recover deleted files which the user presumes are gone forever. The Inquirer
This is no joke, according to Sarah Kidner, Editor at Which? Computing, “PCs contain more valuable personal information than ever as people increasingly shop online, use social networking sites and take digital photos. It sounds extreme, but the only way to be 100 per cent safe is to smash your hard drive into smithereens.”
There are some Open Source alternatives to the hammer or drill, which claim to safely wipe hard drives such as DBAN.
Darik’s Boot and Nuke (“DBAN”) is a self-contained boot disk that securely wipes the hard disks of most computers. DBAN will automatically and completely delete the contents of any hard disk that it can detect, which makes it an appropriate utility for bulk or emergency data destruction.
I think I will take the advice from Which, so if you see me running around wielding a hammer don’t worry its just simple precautionary measures.