We've shown you how to properly erase your physical media before, but a recent study showed that most "secure erase" methods don't actually work very well on solid-state drives (SSDs). Here's what you need to know.
Researchers at UC San Diego found that the normal methods we use to securely wipe magnetic drives aren't as useful on solid-state drives. After testing twelve SSDs, they found that only four were securely erased with whole-drive erasure methods. Trying to securely wipe a single file was even less successful, and more often than not a good portion of the file was recoverable.
The best way to keep your data secure on an SSD, the researchers said, was to encrypt the entire disk from the get-go, as soon as you've installed your operating system. Then, when you're done with the drive, you can delete the encryption keys and do a regular full-drive erasure. They note that securely erasing unencrypted SSDs is very difficult, and in some cases impossible.
The bottom line: If you're upgrading your hard drive, you're best off keeping those SSDs around until a more secure erasure method comes out, rather than selling them on eBay. Hit the link to read the study, or check out the article at Macworld for more info. Photo by Alan.