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How to Securely Erase Private Data

Easier and More Secure Alternatives to Using Windows and Eraser

WARNING: If a hardware or software key logger is installed on your computer, storing private data on your hard drive leaves them vulnerable to viewing or theft, even if encrypted, and the following options will be unable to keep them sufficiently secure and private.

I strongly recommend always using one of these secure encryption key fillers and one of these secure web form fillers to prevent key loggers from stealing your encryption keys, passwords and Web form data.

I also strongly recommend moving your private documents, browsing history, e-mail and chat conversations to an encrypted removable medium, securely erasing the private data on your hard drive and switching to portable software.

Because of Windows' activity tracking and logging, and the overwhelming onslaught of spyware being targeted at Windows, Internet Explorer and Outlook / Outlook Express, if you have sensitive data you need to keep private, it's a lot safer to choose one of the following options.

And if you choose the safest or next safest option, using alternative browser and e-mail programs, antivirus and antispyware software and security updates isn't necessary. skip

The Safest Option

Use a Windows, Mac OS or GNU/Linux Live CD, DVD or USB on a read-only CD-R, DVD-R or USB drive with write protection switched on (recommended by banks for online banking) with mobile software and private data on an encrypted removable medium.

The Next Safest Option

Use a virtual alternative operating system in a secured alternative operating system, save your data in encrypted form on an ext2 partition or removable medium from the time you start using your new computer, hard drive or removable medium, and use erasing / wiping / shredding software to securely erase sensitive data.

Another Option

Uninstall Windows and install GNU/Linux or get a Mac (based on FreeBSD) or better yet, OpenBSD (recommended for experienced Unix users only), save your data in encrypted form on an ext2 partition or removable medium from the time you start using your new computer, hard drive or removable medium, and use erasing / wiping / shredding software to securely erase sensitive data.

Security Guides for Mac OS X, GNU/Linux and BSD

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How to Move, Erase and Protect Private Data in Camino and Safari

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Secure Erasing Guide


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