Q: What program do you use to securely delete/wipe/erase data on hard drives?

A: Darik's Boot and Nuke - "Darik's Boot and Nuke ("DBAN") is a self-contained boot disk that securely wipes the hard disks of most computers. DBAN will automatically and completely delete the contents of any hard disk that it can detect, which makes it an appropriate utility for bulk or emergency data destruction."

The method we use is: "American DoD (Department of Defense) 5220-22.M Standard Wipe Short" - A 3-pass wipe using random characters, complements of characters, and random data streams. (i.e. Writing random characters to the hard drive to erase data and doing this 3 times.)


Q: Can I just format to securely delete/wipe/erase data on a hard drive?

A: No - This is because formatting a hard drive does not destroy the data on the hard drive it merely marks that area of the hard drive as writable by the Operating System. So the previous data is left there until the Operating System writes/saves new data in that area of the formatted hard drive. Therefore you can most likely recover data from a formatted hard drive.


Q: What is the difference between High-Level formatting and Low-Level formatting?

A: Low-Level formatting - Mainly done at the hard drive factory and never by a computer user. Low-Level formatting is used to outline areas (tracks and sectors) on the hard drive so physically the hard drive is ready to be used. This type of formating involves the circuit board on the hard drive.

High-Level formatting - This type of formatting we can do as computer users. High-Level formatting is usually done before an Operating System is installed. Also it's done after installing a brand new hard drive. This formatting changes the file system on the hard drive so the Operating System that you use can write and save data to the hard drive.


Q: What is bad sector on a hard drive?

A: Is a sector on a hard drive or flash memory that cannot be used due to permanent damage (or the operating system is not able to successfully access it), such as physical damage to the disk surface or failed flash memory transistors.  If multiple bad sectors occur it is highly recommended to replace the affected hard drive.


Q: What is malware? How do you know if you've been infected?

A: Short for malicious software, which is software designed to infiltrate a computer without the owner's informed consent. The expression is a general term used by computer professionals to mean a variety of forms of hostile, intrusive, or annoying software or program code. The term "computer virus" is sometimes used as a catch-all phrase to include all types of malware, including true viruses.

Most common infections are called ransomware fake antivirus and/or other programs that pop-up warning you that your computer is infected. This fake program will prompt you, trying to force you to use your credit card and purchase the full version. DO NOT do this as these programs are FAKE and will usually charge your credit card, but nothing on your computer will change, your computer will still be infected.


Q: What is spyware?

A: Is a type of malware that is installed on computers and that collects information about users without their knowledge. The presence of spyware is typically hidden from the user. Typically, spyware is secretly installed on the user's personal computer. Sometimes, however, spywares such as keyloggers are installed by the owner of a shared, corporate, or public computer on purpose in order to secretly monitor other users.


Q: What is adware?

A: Is any software package which automatically plays, displays, or downloads advertisements to a computer after the software is installed on it or while the application is being used. Some types of adware are also spyware and can be classified as privacy-invasive software. An example of a piece of adware are pop-up advertisements.


Q: What is trojan horse (trojan for short)?

A: Is a term used to describe malware that appears, to the user, to perform a desirable function but, in fact, facilitates unauthorized access to the user's computer system. The term comes from the Trojan Horse story in Greek mythology. Trojan horses are not self-replicating which distinguishes them from viruses and worms. Additionally, they require interaction with a hacker to fulfill their purpose. The hacker need not be the individual responsible for distributing the Trojan horse. It is possible for hackers to scan computers on a network using a port scanner in the hope of finding one with a Trojan horse installed.


Q: What is worm?

A: Is a self-replicating computer program. It uses a network to send copies of itself to other nodes (computers on the network) and it may do so without any user intervention. Unlike a virus, it does not need to attach itself to an existing program. Worms almost always cause at least some harm to the network, if only by consuming bandwidth, whereas viruses almost always corrupt or devour files on a targeted computer.