What is a USB Drive?
- These cheap drives are incredibly common.
- You can pick up a USB drive at gas stations, grocery stores, and even dollar stores.
- They also come in a variety of shapes and sizes.
- USB drives are so cheap to manufacture that many companies give them out for free as promotional products.
The Dangers of Leaving Data On Your USB Drive
- Threat actors can use names and addresses to commit identity theft against you or your family.
- It costs more than $4,000 to remediate identity theft.
- Hackers could use your bank account information to hack their way into your account and steal your money.
- They may even be able to use old, dusty business documents to breach your company.
- Identification numbers (e.g., employee IDs, Social Security numbers, etc.)
- Business information
- Family member identities
- Bank account details
- Credit/debit card details
- And more
How to Completely Wipe Your USB Drive
Erasing a flash drive isn’t exactly easy — at least not doing so permanently. Flash drives automatically move data to unused components inside them as part of a built-in feature that allows them to last longer and operate quicker despite their size. This is a perk, but it also poses some complications for erasure.
- Plug your USB drive into your Mac or PC.
- Drag the files from your USB drive to the recycling bin.
- Format your drive.
- On Windows, this involves opening the command prompt and type format e: /p:3 (“e” is the slot your drive is currently using).
- On Mac, open the Disk Utility App and find the drive, then click “Erase.”
- Format your drive 3 additional times (note: this may take more than an hour).