Data sanitization


Data sanitization

The digital era has posed a significant challenge to protection data and digital privacy. Our electronic devices on an average contain more data about our personal and professional beings than anything else, thus with the disposal of these equipment comes the challenge of secure disposal of digital data. This concern gains much more attention when considering recycling or refurbishing of such equipment.

Data sanitization is the process of deliberately, permanently and irreversibly removing or destroying the data stored on a memory device to make it unrecoverable. A device that has been sanitized has no usable residual data, and even with the assistance of advanced forensic tools, the data will not ever be recovered. There are three methods to achieve data sanitization: physical destruction, cryptographic erasure and data erasure.


Physical destruction is the process of shredding hard drives, smartphones, printers, laptops and other storage media into tiny pieces by large mechanical shredders or using degaussers.


Hammering is a part of Physical destruction in which HDD are hammered and broken so that it cannot be set in the HDD slot and hence cant be used any further, this is not a full proof method of removing the data as the destructed pieces contains the data in full


Cryptographic erasure is used interchangeably with Crypto Erase. Cryptographic erasure is the process of using encryption software (either built-in or deployed) on the entire data storage device, and erasing the key used to decrypt the data.  The encryption algorithm must be at a minimum of 128 bits. While the data remains on the storage device itself, by erasing the original key, the data is effectively impossible to decrypt.  As a result, the data is rendered unrecoverable and is an appropriate method to achieve data sanitization.


Data erasure Machines are the software-based method of securely overwriting data from any data storage device using zeros and ones onto all sectors of the device. By overwriting the data on the storage device, the data is rendered unrecoverable and achieves data sanitization.


Data Degaussing - Degaussing is the process of reducing or eliminating an unwanted magnetic field (or data) stored on tape and disk media such as computer and laptop hard drives, diskettes, reels, cassettes and cartridge tapes. When exposed to the powerful magnetic field of a degausser, the magnetic data on a tape or hard disk is neutralized or erased. Degaussing is the guaranteed form of hard drive erasure, as such; it serves as the standard method of data destruction. Using the right degausser will guarantee that your information is no longer retrievable.