Question of the Week
Is there any way to get back our files which we deleted from a pen drive?
Answer (Part 2 of 2)
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.
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