Thinking about getting a new smartphone for your kids or spouse as a gift this holiday season? Or maybe you want to treat yourself to the newest version of your favorite tablet? Before you start enjoying your new device, make sure you know what to do with your old one.
Whether you are passing it on to someone in your family, trading it in the store or donating, here are 4 steps you should take to securely discard or transfer ownership of your digital device.
#1: Back up your data.
Make sure to save the files you need to a removable drive, the cloud or new computer.
#2: Erase your data
Especially if you plan to donate or sell your devices. Your used equipment can live a useful new life in a non-profit or educational institution. Whether you are donating or selling the device, make sure to completely erase the data first.
#3: Wipe, don’t format.
Formatting a hard drive does not delete or overwrite your data – all of the information remains in the file management system. If you were to sell or donate your device, or if someone found it in a dumpster, software could be used to see all of your data still on the drive.
Change email account passwords and ensure that the device is removed from your mobile carrier’s account. Once the process is complete, make sure you are no longer receiving messages on the device.
And if you plan to permanently dispose of the equipment.
There are a number of options for securely destroying disks and mobile devices. Sending equipment to a secure disk shredding facility is one option. Removing the drive from your computer or laptop and running a drill through it several times is effective in destroying the contents. Physically destroying a mobile device ensures the memory cannot be accessed.
When disposing of electronic devices, do so according to environmental regulations. You can send your device to a service that specializes in recycling, or wait for a local electronics recycling event.
For information only. Not applicable to all situations.
Original version of this article written by Monique Ferraro, Counsel Cyber Practice at Hartford Steam Boiler, can be found on their blog.