Storage

SolutionBase: Safeguard identity information by wiping out data with MediaWiper

Just because you erase a file or format a disk, it doesn't mean that the data is gone. Here's how you can permanently wipe data on just about any device by using MediaWiper

Identity theft has become a huge problem. You've heard about identity theft as it relates to a credit card or bank account information that's stolen from Web sites or other Internet transactions, but have you ever given a thought that when you discard a simple floppy disk or memory card, you can be subjecting yourself to the same fate? By using Mediawiper on anything from a floppy disk to memory cards or zip drives you can protect yourself from a lot of heartache and stress.

Why isn't erasing enough?

Simply erasing files from old hard drives or floppy disks won't prevent someone from accessing important data. Like its DOS fore bearer, Windows doesn't actually get rid of a file's data when you erase it. Instead, the operating system merely notes that the area on the disk being used for the file is now available for other data. When and if Windows needs the space, it then places data in the space of the formerly erased file. Until then, the file, or at least parts of the data within the file, can be recovered.

Formatting a drive won't fix the problem either. Formatting a drive merely overwrites the area of the disk where information about file locations are. The hard drive appears empty to the operating system because all of the information telling the operating system where a particular data file is on the hard drive, where data it contains starts and stops, no longer exists. The information contained in the file however still resides on the drive. All it takes is for someone to use a third party program like WinHex to access the information on the drive and recover the data.

What does MediaWiper do differently?

Rather than just marking files deleted, but leaving valuable data residing on devices, MediaWiper actually overwrites file locations with dummy data. By doing so, MediaWiper makes it virtually impossible for a data to be retrieved from a device. The original data is completely replaced with new worthless information.

MediaWiper can wipe information stored on flash memory cards, USB memory drives, hard drives, or floppy disks. It can't delete information stored on CD-ROMs or DVDs, which by their nature are read-only devices. MediaWiper also can't delete the system drive of your Windows workstation, which is usually drive C. If you want to erase the information from your C drive, you can install the drive into a second computer as a data drive and then wipe it from there.

Where can I get it and what will it cost?

You can get MediaWiper directly from White Canyon's Web site, the creator of Media Wiper. MediaWiper costs $39.95 and WhiteCanyon will throw in a copy of WipeDrive which does essentially the same thing as MediaWiper, but won't wipe information on removable devices. It only removes data from hard drives.

You can download a free demo of MediaWiper that will show you what MediaWiper can do before you buy the full version. The demo is only 4.4Mb in size, so it should download quickly. Just run the MediaWiper.exe file that you download to install the demo. The demo claims it will erase only 25% of the data on any device you choose. This should be enough to at least get you the feel for how the program looks and feels.

MediaWiper is a very easy to use program with simple drop down boxes and buttons that clearly explain what you're going to do. It's so easy that MediaWiper will prompt you twice before it wipes a device, just to make sure you don't accidentally erase something important.

Wipe data, not your budget

MediaWiper is a pretty inexpensive solution if you want to prevent information on devices from falling into the wrong hands. You can quickly get rid of data without worrying that it can be easily recovered. For only $40, that's worth the peace of mind.

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