Privacy Blog

"Friends don’t let friends get spied on.' – Richard Stallman, President of the Free Software Foundation and longtime advocate of privacy in technology.

Ready to Ditch Your Old Flash Drive? Don’t Just Erase and Recycle

An article by Rob Pegoraro in the USA Today web site contains an important warning for owners of flash drives: erasing a flash drive doesn’t really delete its contents. He writes, “The safest way to wipe the slate clean is actually to encrypt it — and that’s not as hard as it sounds.”

The fact is that several utilities are available for both Windows and Macintosh that will “unerase” a drive. Rob Pegoraro’s article describes several ways a hacker might retrieve your private data from a supposedly-erased drive of any sort, including flash drives. His article then goes on to suggest ways of actually deleting the information so that your secrets will not fall into the hands of anyone who retrieves your flash drive in the future.

You can find Rob Pegoraro’s article in the USA Today web site at

I must say that I have a better and even easier method of deleting data from a flash drive: crush it.

Flash drives have exploded in capacity. The only reason to ever get rid of a flash drive is because the drive you purchased a few years ago is now so limited in storage capacity when compared against today’s newer and cheaper flash drives. In short, a flash drive that is a few years old isn’t worth much.

The last time I threw away an old flash drive, I used a ball-peen hammer. After several blows, I don’t believe anyone could retrieve any information from the device.

Your choice.

Categories: Offline Privacy & Security

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.