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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Undo and Redo then to you

Skip past red line if you don't want to hear story.

I am quite sure almost everyone in Asia has heard this story. Maybe some in the West too. Its suppose to be the biggest celebrity scandal of the year. Google almost exploded.

Wiki quote:

In January 2008, Edison Chen was involved in a widely publicized sex scandal when sexually explicit and nude photographs of himself and several high-profile female celebrities from the Hong Kong entertainment industry became widely circulated on the Internet. Celebrities implicated in the scandal included Gillian Chung, Bobo Chan, Mandy Chen, Candice Chan, Rachel Ngan and Cecilia Cheung. Nude photos of Edison's current girlfriend, Vincy Yeung, were also made public and the future of the relationship is in doubt.

The way the pictures were circulated on the Internet is not a hard question. The question is how did they manage to get the pictures from his camera?
According to the newspapers Edison bring his computer in to get it fixed, the servicemen went through his computer and copied all his photos, at least that's what it is to my knowledge. Making a bad name for IT people :( , Edison could have prevented this if he deleted his data off of his computer (like really delete it, not only from the index but the hard drive.) don't tell me your surprised or confused because you should already know that data is not deleted when its deleted from the rubbish bin, its only removed from index to allow data to be stored in that location of the disk now (come on, i posted about this ages ago).

My Story:
When I sent my Sony mp3 player back to warranty I did a complete delete, I only had music on it but for some reason IT people like to leave nothing (so i copied and left 2 songs only), maybe its so the technicians can't know I have bad taste for music, harhar but anyway I was glad to do so as it didn't come back. I got a replacement warranty and my old mp3 player along with my music was not given back to me. I did however place a few good song on it so to allow the technicians to test the mp3 player without having to spend additional time uploading a song to test it.

Use this type of precaution to wipe out private data when:
* Recycling old storage devices
* Selling it
* Giving it to a friend or someone to borrow
* Warranty return
* When ever the situation means someone can use it and you don't want them to see your data

! The above story is used as an example of what can happen, I am not suggesting your have such content on your storage devices ;)

Method 1
Get a large file and fill up the usb drive or mp3 player (only for small devices, don't use this method for hard drives, you've got too much space on a HD and the data will be written in free space, maybe) I deleted all my data and sent a demo game which was 600MB to my mp3 player and that destroyed any recovery option fairly well.

It is probably still possible to recover but for basic security this will do, I mean your not trying to secure a $1 million dollar idea, are you? For general photos etc. for privacy reasons this method should be enough, maybe even delete the large file and write something else large to the usb again? Remember the file you write to the usb to overwrite your personal data should be data you don't care about like a game demo file where it doesn't matter if someone knows you've saved that on there. Overwriting a gallery of family photos with a HD movie your your family's last holiday is not a good idea. Usually if you not important, no one will go to extreme lengths to recover your data so I think this method is the fastest.

Method 2
Use software, commercial grade if you wish or a simple free application like Spybot. Spybot has this feature built into the latest version of it. If you find it too hard to find that feature (on left hand menu under tools, called secure shredder) then you could try and download and use a single purpose deleter. I have Eraser and Restoration (Google to download it, I don't have a URL). Personally, I like Restoration, Its main purpose is to scan your removable (and HDs) drives for data that can be restored. We are interested in this as well, what can we restore?? Find out and then select the files and go to the top menu bar and choose the option to delete completely. This will delete it a couple of times to make sure its been over written with different data. Do a scan again and it shouldn't be recoverable.
For HDs you may want to try Eraser where you can selectively choose the files on the HD that you want to destroy.

Method 3
Physically smash the part that is holding your data or the whole storage device all together. Not environmentally friendly but works the best. Smash it into little pieces, grind it into powder, dispose of in garbage bin over 5 months (little handfuls of powder at a time).

If it is still under warranty - make sure to bring the powder and tell the clerk that you can assure it is broken and not working and require a replacement warranty. I am sure they will believe you ... now

If your selling it or giving it to a friend - make sure the powder is in an air tight container and ask your friends to not lose any of it because you want to piece it back later when they are finished borrowing it.

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