Internet safety basics, step 11: clean your computer safely, part 1 | News

    All computers have some kind of storage device, whether it’s a phone, an iPad, or a supercomputer at NASA headquarters. They all have something to store information.

    In the “olden days”, computers used tape, both magnetic plastic and paper, rotating magnetic “drums”, floppy disks, with thin, flexible magnetic plastic rings (discs) that rotated at high speed. high and “hard drive”. works in a similar way, but the disks are hard and inflexible, like CDs/DVDs.

    Hard drives still dominate the computing world, but are rapidly being overtaken by “solid-state” drives, which store their information on integrated circuits (sometimes called “computer chips”), not not on some kind of moving magnetic structure like tape or disc.

    Whatever the information storage device may be, it all boils down to the same two things: zero and one, also known as 0 and 1.

    The alphabet that computers use has only two characters, and different combinations of zero and one are used to form language that the computer understands. “Human readable” letters and numbers are translated into machine or “binary” code, the language all computers have used since their inception. The disks inside the hard drive store these zeros and zeros in a similar fashion, by recording different types of magnetic “blobs” I call them subgroups or orientations of magnetic material. count.

    Solid state drives do the same thing, just with large masses of microscopic switches called transistors. On, off, no, one. At its core, computer languages ​​are very simple.

    Now you may be wondering, “what does any of this have to do with anything I need to know?”

    It all goes back to the way we clean up hard drives? How do we delete or delete files? How do we really get rid of all those zeros and ones that we have piled up inside our calculator?

    Back in 2003, a friend named Simpson Garfinkel was a student at MIT. He and a classmate decided to do a research project, which involved buying used old hard drives. They’ll buy them on used computer stores and eBay, and they’ll pull out the hard drive.

    They will then check the hard drives to see if there’s anything there. What they discovered caused quite a stir in the computer industry.

    They found that 74% of the drives contained readable data, even though 36% of the drives had been reformatted. They found emails and medical records, credit card numbers, they even found a hard drive pulled from a bank’s ATM, filled with banking transactions.

    You want to make sure you know the difference between erasing and erasing information from your computer, as those words may not mean what you think. p class = ”p1” span class = ”s1” Next week: Safe computer cleaning, part two. /span

    Dave Moore, CISSP, has been fixing computers in Oklahoma since 1984. Founder of the nonprofit Internet Safety Group Ltd, he also teaches community training seminars on Internet safety. He can be reached at 919-9901 or

    Recent Articles


    Featured Article

    Leave A Reply

    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here

    Stay on op - Ge the daily news in your inbox