There was a time, not that long ago, when if you bought a new PC or mobile phone, you were likely to keep it for a long time. Before the advent of the relatively inexpensive PC, people often kept their machines for several years. Now, with product release cycles becoming ever shorter and new features being added all the time, users are upgrading more often and consequently are looking for ways to sell or give away their older machines.
That brings up the problem of ensuring that all of the personal data you had stored on that old machine. Simply deleting files is not the answer; users must permanently erase the data. There are a lot of methods for doing this, some more effective than others, but many of them can be difficult to use. Another problem is that it can be hard to know whether the data that you tried to delete actually was erased. And when it comes to erasing sensitive data, hoping it’s gone just isn’t good enough. The only truly provably fail-safe method for destroying data is to physically destroy the hard drive, but that’s not a great option if you’re trying to sell the computer. Buyers tend to like their hard drives in one piece.
There are a number of file-deletion utilities on the market, but Kaspersky PURE 3.0 includes a built-in file shredder that combines several different methods and gives users the ability to choose which one they’d like to use. File shredding utilities work on a simple principle. When a user identifies files to be permanently deleted, or shredded, the utility simply overwrites the memory space that those files use with ones and zeroes or random garbage data. Once that’s done, it’s supposed to be impossible for anyone to recover the data.
PURE 3.0 includes seven individual methods of file shredding. Each algorithm uses a different system for overwriting the targeted files, mainly based on the number of overwrite cycles it uses. For example, the “quick delete” method in PURE 3.0, which is the recommended choice, uses two separate overwrite cycles. Some of the others methods use one or two rewriting cycles, as well. The algorithm designed by Bruce Schneier, a well-known security expert, uses seven separate cycles. Any of the available methods will safely and permanently delete your data.
Deleting the files on your hard drive is usually something that people do just once, but there are other files that you should be erasing on a regular basis: the files in your browser history. These files can be used to track your online activities, whether it’s by nosy co-workers or a curious spouse, and they also can be accessed by some kinds of malware to see where you do your online banking, shopping and other sensitive activities. PURE 3.0 includes a tool with which users can completely erase their browser histories.
The PC cleanup tools in Kaspersky PURE 3.0 perform a number of actions on a protected machine, including erasing users’ browsing histories, cookies and temporary files, all of which can be used to track users’ movements online and also can slow down the performance of the PC. With advanced malware looking to grab as much sensitive data as possible, careful users should use the file-deletion utilities in PURE 3.0 to protect themselves against these sophisticated threats and attacks.