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Data Security - Data Wipe Electronic Devices

This article explains how to safely wipe the data on electronic devices.

When data is exposed due to a cell phone, laptop or similar mobile device has been compromised, lost, stolen, or improperly disposed of, the result can be very costly. Depending on the sensitive nature of the data, the owner or others can be at risk of identify theft or financial or medical fraud. This is also true when a workstation is compromised, stolen or not dispose of properly.

This document describes methods for properly wiping (erasing) data on mobile devices.

Apple Devices (iPhones, iPads, etc)

  • If you have your device with you:

Sign out of iCloud, then go to Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings.

  • If you have lost your phone and want to wipe it remotely:

This only works if you enabled Find My iPhone on the device. Sign in to iCloud/#find, where you can track your device, ring it, or remotely erase all data on it by clicking on Erase iPad/iPhone.

Note: Please check Apple for the most up to date instructions:

Lost or stolen device
Remote erasing on iCloud

If none of the above works:

You may still be able to wipe all data on your phone if you have your phone syncing with xMail using Microsoft Exchange. A device can be reset to factory settings by initiating a remote data wipe from xMail.

For more details, refer to:
Remote Data Wipe of Mobile Devices Using xMail
Microsoft Technet: Remote device wipe

Android

  • If you have your phone with you:

To be absolutely sure that your data is erased with no possibility of retrieval, first encrypt your phone (Settings > Security > Encryption), then perform a factory reset (Settings > Backup, and reset). If you want to be absolutely sure that the data is completely overwritten and erased, fill your device's memory with some dummy data (videos should fill it up quickly), and repeat the above process.

  • If you have lost your phone and want to wipe it remotely:

Sign in to the Android Device Manager, where you can track your device, ring it, or remotely erase all data on it.

For more information, refer to:
Google support: Remotely ring, lock, or erase a lost device
CNET.com: The best way to completely wipe your android device

Windows Phone

  • If you have your phone with you:

Go to Settings > About > Reset your phone.

  • If you have lost your phone and want to wipe it remotely:

You can use the Find My Phone function on your Microsoft account to show your phone's location on a map, or to ring, lock, or erase all data on it.

Please check Microsoft for the most up-to-date instructions:
Reset my phone
Find a lost phone (and also remotely wiping it)

Laptop and Desktop Computers

Before disposing of your devices or hard drives, make sure to wipe data on it permanently by using software such as Darik's Boot and Nuke. Apple users can also perform such a wipe from the Disk Utility. Linux users can check your distribution for Shred, which is a command line utility which will permanently erase data.

Remember: Simply deleting files from your operating system does not permanently remove the information from your hard drive until it is overwritten.




Keywords:lost stolen recycle clear remote data wipe erase   Doc ID:51628
Owner:Synita C.Group:University of Chicago
Created:2015-05-22 15:25 CSTUpdated:2016-08-19 08:19 CST
Sites:University of Chicago, University of Chicago - Sandbox
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