Afterword

ThimphuTech was the first technology blog in Bhutan. We started writing it in 2009, just as broadband and mobile internet started to take off. (Although internet in Bhutan was launched in 1999, it was either super-slow or super-expensive, and was only used by a selected few).

In the blog, we wrote about technology and food, but also about plenty of other stuff. The blog became popular and influential in Bhutan. A companion bi-weekly column -- Ask Boaz -- was published for many years in the Kuensel, Bhutan's national newspaper. (The complete Kuensel columns are available as an ebook, Blogging with Dragons).

We stopped updating the blog when we left Bhutan in 2014, but the information within the posts can still prove useful, and thus we decided to keep it online.

We thank all our readers.
Tashi Delek,
Boaz & Galit.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Recovering deleted files from a pen drive (Part 2 of 2, K2 #50)

Question of the Week
Is there any way to get back our files which we deleted from a pen drive?
— Rinzin

Answer (Part 2 of 2)
Dear Rinzin,

In the last column, I explained how to recover files that were accidentally deleted from a pen drive. Undeleting is possible because when you delete a file, it is only marked as deleted, but the content is still there. This is true for operational as well as failed devices. For this reason, a hacker can often recover data from a discarded pen drive or hard disk! To make sure no one can ever access your confidential files, the data must be securely overwritten (or the media physically destroyed). Organizations, such as governments, businesses, and ISPs, typically have special procedures for discarding hard disks and pen drives in order to safeguard their data and make sure the data do not fall into unwanted hands. Of course, individuals often also need to protect their digital information by securely deleting files.

How can you securely delete a file? Last week we recommended using a utility for recovering deleted files (Recuva, downloadable at goo.gl/O5f1W). This same utility can also overwrite deleted files. Once you overwrite a deleted file, it will be extremely difficult for a hacker to recover it. Overwriting is easy: After launching Recuva, search for the deleted files as you did in the case of undeleting. However, instead of undeleting, check the files you want to overwrite, then right-click and choose “Secure Overwrite Checked”. This will overwrite the checked files. These files are now gone forever, and it will no longer be possible to recover them.

If you need a more advanced tool, Eraser is the utility for you. Downloadable at goo.gl/aeidX, Eraser has many options to securely delete files, directories, the Recycle Bin and any unused space on a hard drive. It even has a scheduler, so the overwriting can occur when you’re out for a lunch break.

Bored with your generic pen drive? The Magic Mushroom is the gadget for you: Studded with diamonds, rubies and sapphires (as well as 32GB of storage, in case you’re concerned about that), this is the most expensive pen drive in the world: a bank loan of Nu 20 lakhs is all you need. Just remember to securely erase confidential files on the Magic Mushroom - it will help you sleep calmly if you ever lose it...

Readers are encouraged to submit technology-related questions to boaz@thimphutech.com