Wipe your devices clean before selling or disposing of them

I purchased a NEO by Alphasmart off of an action site this week and I was shocked to discover it still contained verbiage children had typed into files on the device.  Fortunately, nothing confidential was in the files (from the content I learned the teachers last name and what city they were in) but it really surprised me that the seller didn’t take the time to remove user data from the device.

If you are going to sell or dispose of a device capable of storing user data (this includes the most basic form of user data storage: paper), remove the data to the best of your ability before the device is sold or disposed of.  This is standard protocol in IT and it should be standard protocol in any home or business for the general safety of all parties involved.

These are just a few items capable of storing user data and some tips on how to remove data:

  1. NEO by Alphasmart – select “on” > select desired file (i.e. “file 1”) > select “clear file” > select “y”
  2. Mobile phone, smart phone or tablet:  each one is so different, look up online instructions based on who your manufacturer is; here is an example for an iPhone – http://support.apple.com/kb/ht5661
  3. Computer – http://www.wikihow.com/Wipe-a-Computer (each one is so different, look up online instructions based on who your manufacturer is)
  4. Copier, Printer, Fax – each one is so different, look up online instructions based on who your manufacturer is; here is an example for a Lexmark printer – http://www.lexmark.com/publications/pdfs/2007/c925x/UG/html/en/erasing-printer-hard-disk-memory-topic.html
  5. Snail mail – when friends and family send you snail mail, be sure to tear their return address as well as your mailing address off of the envelope, these two small bits of paper are to be placed in the pile of paperwork to be shredded or burned.  Avoid disposing of this information in general trash.
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