Keith is the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) and Head of Global Infrastructure Services at Universal Weather and Aviation, a billion-dollar international aviation services company that operate 50 locations in 20 countries. Prior to Universal Weather and Aviation, Keith served as a cyber security Technical Fellow at The Boeing Company where he led Application Security Assessments, International IT Security Operations, and Supply Chain Security. Keith frequently speaks on various cyber security topics. He has presented for the Houston FBI, Los Alamos National Laboratory, the Department of Homeland Security’s Software Assurance Forum and in Singapore at Blackhat Asia. Keith has made several industry contributions including serving as a U.S. delegate to the International Standards Organization’s Cyber Security Sub-Committee and leading an international software security best practices project. Keith holds an MS in Computer Systems and a BS in Mechanical Engineering.

Securely Dispose of Old or Damaged Electronic Equipment

Disposing of Electronic Equipment Safely

With our latest Weather Event, you might have had some damage to your electronic devices including your computers, smart phones, iPads, tablets, TV’s, Monitors, or anything else that does not work well in a H2O environment.

If you are planning to sell, give away, or throw away a PC or mobile device, you want to be sure that sensitive information is not recoverable from the drive.

Types of Drives:

Mechanical hard drives:

Traditional hard drives that use a spinning magnetic platter are still used in PCs. When you delete a file on one of these drives, the file gets marked as deleted, but it is still there until it’s overwritten. Files deleted in this way can be recovered.

Internal solid-state drives:

Solid-state drives are becoming much more common in PCs. They use a feature called TRIM. When you delete a file from a solid-state drive, the drive erases the file’s data from its memory cells. No other action is required.

External Removable Drives:

Although these are usually solid state, they do not usually incorporate the TRIM feature, so files can be recovered from external drives.

Options for Sanitizing Drives:

Steps to take before recycling a drive:

Back up all your data files.

Save any purchased software and their associated serial numbers and license files.

Destroy it:

This is an option if you don’t plan to re-use the drive. It can be accomplished by removing the drive from the PC and drilling clear through the drive casing in three places mid-way between the spindle center and edge of the drive. Alternately, grab a sledge hammer and apply liberally. Another option is to use a reciprocating saw to cut the drive in half.

Overwrite or Wipe the Data:

Although Windows 8 – 10 have data removal features, you can also use free dedicated data wiping tools like those shown below to ensure your data is removed. They will overwrite the contents of any hard disk and support various operating systems.


o Active@ KillDisk: (also supports USB drive wiping)

o Disk Wipe:

Wiping a drive using the operating system:

Windows 10:

Use the built-in method for wiping your PC and restoring it to an ‘as new’ state.

Go to Start > Settings > Update & security > Recovery, click Get started and select “Remove Everything.” Then follow the on-screen instructions to restore Windows 10 to a factory fresh state.

Windows 8:

Use the built-in method for wiping your PC and restoring it to an ‘as new’ state.

Settings > Change PC settings > Update and Recovery> “Remove everything and reinstall Windows.” This option will completely reset your computer and wipe files.

Windows 7:

This version doesn’t have a wiping feature built-in, so use of a data wiping tool is required.

External Drives:

Perform a FULL format of an external drive to wipe away any deleted files. Be sure to uncheck the Quick Format box to perform a full format, as a quick format will not fully erase the deleted file.

Mobile Devices:

When selling or donating your phone or tablet, do the following to ensure sensitive information is not available to the new user:

Remove your SIM card and any micro SD cards (if applicable).

On Android, first be sure the device’s drive is encrypted, then perform a factory reset.

The iPhone has built-in options that securely erase your phone. The IOS data wipe can be found here: Settings > General > Reset > Erase all Content and Settings.