Downloading the e-mail you have just received? Think twice. Using your computer as your own personal checkbook? Be careful. Selling your PC? Take precautions.
According to Temple electrical and computer engineering professor, Dennis Silage, even deleted files and information can be retrieved.
The problem of improperly deleting important files arises during the resale/upgrade of PCs and also in highly used computer labs. College campuses, such as Temple, are prime examples of places for retrieving deleted information because of high traffic.
Of course not just anyone can perform the retrieval of old deleted files. People who are skilled in the computer field and computer hackers are most likely to use special techniques to access these files.
Now with the Internet easily available to most people, web sites with retrieval directions are easily accessible. Even computer programs such as Norton can “recover” deleted files, as long as the space the file occupied before it was deleted has not been used by a new file
Programs such as online banking or even Word processing files are susceptible to this crime.
According to Computer Information Sciences lead program analyst, Paul Bezzam, it is pertinent for students to know how to properly clean their computer of vital information.
It is necessary to properly delete all files. However, it is especially crucial when it comes to personal information such as credit card information and social security information.
Students who use the computer labs and are unaware how to properly delete files are running a very big risk.
“As a college student I feel threatened because others can take credit for my work,” said sophomore Dana Skolnick.
“All delete does is remove your file from the file allocation table and tell the operating system that this corner of the disk is available to be rewritten,” Silage said.
It does not however completely remove the file and information from the system. Students and other computer users must follow specific instructions to ensure the deletion of all files. Students and other computer users must follow specific instructions to ensure the deletion of all unwanted files.
By formatting the hard drive through the MSDOS prompt, it will erase everything. Not only does it delete the information, the prompt screen wipes the hard drive clean. Taking this precaution is particularly necessary when reselling PCs.
“I would recommend students using movable media such as floppy or zip discs to ensure safety in the labs,” Silage said of computer labs.
As computers become more and more a part of our society, it is necessary to ensure safety. So next time you enter a computer lab or are about to sell your PC, do not unwittingly leave files open for anyone to recover. Properly erase your files to protect yourself and your information.
“Now that I realize files can be retrieved even when deleted, I will the proper precautions when using the computers in the Temple labs,” commented Jenny McGuire, Temple University junior.