Is your data safe? Probably not if you haven’t taken precautions.
DATA WIPING / DATA MINING
First of all let’s make something clear, deleting a file means deleting the entry of it from the hard disk and unless it’s overwritten with something else it still exists. So formating and reformating won’t save you unless you wipe your hard disk, solid state devices wiping is a little more complicated so I won’t go into details.
So if you want to sell your hard drive, wipe it first several times, usually 3 or 7 wipes known as the DOD standard wipe are enough to make all the data unrecorevable without someone spending a fortune ($100.000,00) on examining the hard drive with advanced equipment. If it’s a SSD use its wiping software contributed by its manufacturer. If it’s a usb flash drive the best you can do is overwrite gazillion times or just burn it literally.
ON-LINE CLOUD SERVICES
You want to files backed up? Don’t use cloud services without encrypting them before the transmission(upload) even though encryptions can be broken depending who trying to break it and the computing power he has. All the sites advertise that their servers are encrypted blah blah however you can never check it for sure. So 2 things, never upload unencrypted files and never upload important files like business project etc, bottom line encryption can be broken which means clouds are insecure.
FULL DISK(SYSTEM) ENCRYPTION (FDE)
Thousands of computers are being stolen every hour mostly laptops, smartphones, tablets, netbooks and not so often desktops. Front-end passwords won’t save you, so here comes full disk encryption to protect your data by making it accessible only by entering the right passphrase/key/password or/and some key-file(some mp3 song for example) you only know about and carry on you on a usb flash drive attached to your keys’ chain. Forget windows encryption or mac or android, use open-source software like TrueCrypt to make sure there are no backdoors, use atleast 128-bit encryption and atleast 26+ mixed password (numbers, letters, special chars) to make it virtually impossible for anyone to crack the encryption in the near future. Note everything can be cracked however if it requires 1.000.000.000.000 years it’s a safe bet none will ever try.
Bottom line is, wipe your drives, encrypt your entire drives, shred your files instead of simply sending them to trash can or recycle bin, use off-line encrypted hard drives for backups and finally use strong passwords for your accounts.
Soon there will be more security articles about firewalls, internet security, encrypted data transmissions and more.