Do you have sensitive documents that you want to delete? What options do you have for handling documents with a shredder or shredding services? What are the safest methods to destroy confidential information and data?
Often there are documents with sensitive information, such as a bank statement, credit card, payment receipt or invoice.
Maybe you work for a government agency, or you simply handle secret information. So simply throwing these papers in the trash is insufficient to keep them safe from the wrong eyes. To protect them, you have to destroy them completely.
How to destroy documents by making them mush
Put your documents in a container that is tall and wide enough. It also needs to be strong enough when you add bleach and water.
Then add about 2 liters of bleach to help break down the paper and ink. Avoid contact of bleach with skin and eyes; and above all: do not eat it. In case of accidentally swallowing bleach, call 911 immediately.
Then you need to add about 20 liters of water, so that it facilitates the reduction of the paper to an unrecognizable pulp.
Completely submerge the documents in the bleach water. If you find that they do not fit, you can work with smaller batches or use a larger container. Avoid touching the mixture with bare skin, as it can cause skin damage. Help yourself with a broomstick or wear long rubber gloves.
Let the documents sit for at least 24 hours. When the documents are soft and discolored, use an electric mixer to mix the papers until they become a smooth and homogeneous mass. Put the mixture in the sun to dry before throwing it away.
How to destroy documents with fire
Light a controlled fire outdoors to burn the documents.
Be aware that in most cities and residential areas it is illegal to burn trash openly, so make sure you have a permit.
Add the papers little by little when the fire already light burns for a while. Note that document fragments do not come out of the fire, as even small amounts of information could be the exact valuable pieces that other people want.
When you've burned everything and the fire is out, rummage through the ashes to locate any unburned paper.
Collect all the sensitive debris and reserve it to try to burn it again.
When you've had it, wait for the heat to go out and the temperatures to cool down. Spread the ashes around your garden plants and evenly to repel slugs and snails. You can also pour ashes around the base of hardwood trees.
How to shred documents with a shredding machine
Get a document shredder. A cross-cut shredder is recommended as it produces thinner strips of paper than the traditional strip-cut shredder, which is helpful in preventing thieves from rebuilding entire pages.
You can go to an office supply store to get a paper shredder. You can find up to six levels of security, depending on the thinness of the cut.
Almost all offices have one or more paper shredders or, at least, data destruction services. Check there if you can use it with your own documents.
When you use it, start by inserting the documents through the mouth of the device, avoiding putting your hand or fingers in direct contact with the mouth of the shredder.
An added safety measure: Make sure to separate the resulting pieces into separate bags. Take different portions of each document and put them in separate bags, thus preventing matches from being found within the same bag.
You need to leave as little time as possible between when the garbage comes out and when you pick it up. Save the destroyed documents until just before the city's garbage collection employees arrive.
How to destroy digital documents
Right-click on all the files on your hard drive that contain sensitive information and send them to the recycle bin. Empty the recycle bin.
This is an acceptable and simple method if there is no risk that someone will use more complex techniques to recover the data.
However, you should know that there are methods to recover apparently deleted files through a series of file recovery programs. You should avoid this method if there is a risk that someone will go the extra mile to retrieve that information or if the confidential data could be used to cause harm or harm.
You can overwrite all the information on the hard drive with one of the programs available online to review and replace all the information with random binary strings. Perform at least three passes of these programs to securely overwrite sensitive information.
You can also use demonetization to destroy data using a strong magnetic field. These devices completely relieve the magnetic charge of the hard drive and make it unusable. However, buying a degausser can be expensive, so it may be a better option to rent one of these devices.
The difference between hard drive overwrite and demonetization is that the former can be reversed, while the latter changes are irreversible and no data can be recovered.
Remember: avoid using a degmanetizer if you use a pacemaker, as it may interfere with the proper functioning of this medical device.
Although the above methods may be sufficient to destroy digital data, the most comprehensive method at your disposal is physical destruction of the hard drive. You only need to hammer, heat and drill the device once any external frame has been removed with the appropriate security measures.
This, together with the permanent deletion of emails and the cleaning of the history of your web browser will prevent others from accessing the sensitive information that your emails or the websites you have visited may contain.