Monday, 07 April 2014 07:08
Getting rid of your old electronics? Whether you're donating, selling, or recycling your aging gear, you'll want to take the following steps to make sure your data stays safe and your gear goes where it's supposed to. And, no, these steps are not optional.
1. Back that thang up!
The first thing to do before you part with any piece of electronics is to make sure you have copies of the data that was on it — especially information that's difficult or impossible to replace, like photos, videos, and contacts. If you don't use an automated PC backup service like Backblaze or Carbonite, you'll want to copy files manually (preferably to an external storage device like a thumb drive or a DVD). If you have an Android or iOS device, make sure you've activated Google Auto Backup or Apple's iCloud service; you also want to go into your data vault and make sure that the files you need are really there.
2. Wipe it down.
Do not assume that whoever gets your old gear will remove your data from it; be safe and do the job yourself. Otherwise you could leave yourself wide open to identity theft. And don't think for one minute that deleting your Documents folder or even reformatting your hard drive is enough. McAfee security expert Robert Siciliano recently bought 30 used computers via Craigslist and went through their hard drives with a forensics expert. Half of the machines that had been reformatted still contained personal data from their previous owners.
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