Disposal of Computing Equipment Standards

Prior to disposing of Emory computing equipment, the information and programs should be totally destroyed (sanitized) prior to disposal (i.e., sent to surplus or donated, charity or otherwise). Simply dragging your files to the trash bin or deleting them is NOT destroying the data on your hard drive since operating systems can store portions of the original file in various locations on the hard drive (swap files, .tmp files, and spool files are some the computer uses to temporarily store and process information).

Destruction of information can be performed using a secure file deletion program which helps ensure all information is not only deleted but completely destroyed. The cleaning process should securely overwrite all cluster or sectors at least three times to ensure that the information has been completely destroyed. There are many software programs available including Norton Utilities WipeInfo, No*Trace, Shredder, Secure Clean & BC Wipe as well as free tools.

Several reference articles are listed below. If you need further help finding tools or services, contact the Security Team.

Related Articles:

What You Don't See On Your Hard Drive
https://www.sans.org/reading-room/whitepapers/incident/dont-hard-drive-653

Securely Deleting Files
https://www.giac.org/paper/gsec/377/securely-deleting-files/100985

- "...are disposing of a computer system, you must make sure all sensitive files contained on the hard drive(s) has been completely destroyed by using a disk wiping utility or some form of secure delete program."

Deleting Sensitive Information:Why Hitting Delete Isn't Enough
https://www.sans.org/reading-room/whitepapers/privacy/deleting-sensitive-information-hitting-delete-isnt-691

- "Windows won't ever write over the data on the disk while it continues to exist in the recycle bin. Once the bin is emptied that data is marked for overwrite. The data is never really removed"

Unix Secure File Deletions
https://www.giac.org/paper/gsec/850/unix-secure-file-deletion/101783