How to Properly Destroy a Personal Hard Drive

Dec 5, 2020

Technological advances have been plentiful in the past several years, from computers to smartphones to tablets and beyond. Therefore, it’s not uncommon for the average person to level up their technology and leave behind old devices. Most people are aware of the threat of identity theft, yet they don’t understand how their old technological gadgets, particularly computers and hard drives, can put them in compromising positions.

You may be thinking, there’s nothing on my hard drive that anyone would possibly care about enough to steal! Even if you used your old hard drive primarily for family photos or old work documents, there’s always a chance that your discarded piece of hardware contains important personal information that could help a hacker steal your identity. This could mean a birth date, an address (current or previous), various account numbers, even your SSN. In the wrong hands, any of this information could mean disaster for your bank account and a lengthy investigation on your hands.

Destroying A Hard Drive as a Consumer

Most companies, whether they have a wide scope or operate on a local level, have some sort of system in place for destroying sensitive data that no longer needs to be kept. However, destroying your own records of personal data might be a completely new experience for you. Therefore, it’s important to get some misconceptions out of the way.

You may have heard of some of the common ways that people attempt to destroy hard drives, making them unsalvageable for even the most experienced hacker. One of which is the method of dropping the hard drive into a body of water, operating within the understanding that electronics are automatically rendered non-operational when wet. This is actually not very effective, as a practiced hacker can still access the information on a soaked hard drive with the right tools.

Another typical way you may have seen hard drive destruction take place is using magnets. The idea is that a magnetic field with enough power can destroy the inner mechanisms of any electronic device. However, most hard drives are built with a steel layer to protect against this exact type of damage.

Many consumers looking to independently destroy hard drives will simply smash the device using a hammer or other large weapon. While this could technically get the job done, it can be an extremely dangerous process considering the fact that small pieces of metal will be flying every which way at high speeds. Plus, there’s always the chance that you didn’t damage the drive enough to evade the skills of an experienced hacker!

So, What’s the Best Way?

At the end of the day, the only way to be absolutely sure that your hard drive has been destroyed beyond repair is to work with a professional. A company that specializes in this very service will be able to make sure that the parts that are crucial to destroy will be destroyed in a way that cannot be recovered, while keeping you completely safe during the process.

Need a professional data destruction company in North Dakota? Don’t hesitate. Contact SEAM today for a quote.

SEAM provides IT recycling and data destruction services including onsite shredding and hard drive wiping to South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, and Nebraska.

Schedule a pickup or contact us for more information.