Delete/Format
Delete / format | Degaussing | Physical destruction | Software overwrite

Despite the growing awareness of the ineffectiveness of this method of data erasure many organizations still remain ignorant of the risks associated with it. All Delete and Format commands (even with switches such as Format C: /D) affect only the File Allocation Table (FAT) and do not actually erase any data. In other words, the data is not destroyed. Only the address tables pointing to the files are erased and the space is made available for storage but the data is still intact and can be easily recovered with commercial software. It’s comparable to removing the table of contents from a book: the pages of the book remains but it’s more difficult to find a specific page without the contents page. Until the “deleted” data is overwritten with other data, it still exists and poses a significant danger to an organization. Deleting/formatting data is an extremely ineffective method of data destruction and should be avoided.

Advantages

  • There are no advantages to this method as the data is not erased

Disadvantages

  • Data is not erased and can be easily recovered with freely available data recovery tools
  • Organizations and individuals are at huge risk of identity theft, legal and financial battles, lawsuits, jail time, etc. due to the ineffectiveness of this method
  • There is no reporting provided to prove that the data has been completely destroyed