Many charities encourage individuals and businesses to donate their old laptops, tablets, and other electronics. While many take the plunge to support good causes, it can sometimes be difficult to ensure that devices are in good enough condition to be handed over to unknown hands. UK cybersecurity gendarme NCSC has just released advice on how to effectively erase data from devices so that they can be transmitted in the safest possible way.
First and foremost, donors should be encouraged to erase all data on the laptop or tablet before donating it to charity, otherwise, their personal details, such as usernames and passwords, could be accessible to other people.
The NCSC notes that users are encouraged to do these themselves, so that they have as much control as possible over their data, including backing up any information or files that they may wish to keep before erasing the file apparatus.
For last Better, Reset it
Second, charities that receive laptop and other donations must erase data on donated devices - even if the user claims they have already deleted their data. By performing such a reset, the laptop will revert to being as if it was first used, allowing the new user to configure it as they wish.
Resetting a personal computer helps prevent information previously stored on the device from being shared, and prevents most malware that might have been installed on the laptop from compromising the new user.
The NCSC also recommends that associations that provide laptops to students be selective about the devices chosen: operating systems that are no longer supported by manufacturers should be avoided. This is because they no longer receive security updates, leaving users unprotected against new vulnerabilities, malware and other cyber-attacks. Finally, it is recommended to recycle devices that cannot be donated because they are no longer supported.