Browse Definitions :
Definition

file shredder

A file shredder, also known as a virtual or digital shredder, is a program designed to render computer-based files unreadable, just as a conventional shredder makes physical documents unreadable.

In most operating systems, when a user deletes a file, it still exists on the hard drive but is made inaccessible through normal means. What’s actually deleted is the operating system’s pointer to the file, so it’s invisible to the user but still exists in storage. The storage space for the file is considered available and that may cause the data to be overwritten, although it is not possible to know that it has been.

It may be possible to recover the original data unless overwriting has taken place hundreds of times. Deleted files can be recovered through readily available freeware programs such as Recuva and Puran File Recovery as well as professional software such as EnCase that data recovery and law enforcement officials use.

File shredders are similar to hard drive overwriters except that they work with individual files, rather than effectively obliterating the entire drive. The programs overwrite the content in a file multiple times with zeroes, ones and random bits to ensure that the data is unrecoverable other than through extraordinary efforts.

If it’s crucial that data is obliterated, the only way to be sure it can’t be accessed is to physically destroy the device. The most effective way to ensure complete data destruction is to pulverize the assembly, in much the same way as a wood chipper disposes of tree limbs and brush. At a minimum, hard drive shredding involves severing every track on every platter in a drive. Hard drive shredding products and services exist for this purpose.

In the enterprise, ensuring that the sensitive information in deleted files cannot be recovered is essential to information security, compliance and data governance.  

This was last updated in September 2015

Continue Reading About file shredder

SearchCompliance
  • OPSEC (operations security)

    OPSEC (operations security) is a security and risk management process and strategy that classifies information, then determines ...

  • smart contract

    A smart contract is a decentralized application that executes business logic in response to events.

  • compliance risk

    Compliance risk is an organization's potential exposure to legal penalties, financial forfeiture and material loss, resulting ...

SearchSecurity
  • biometric verification

    Biometric verification is any means by which a person can be uniquely identified by evaluating one or more distinguishing ...

  • password

    A password is a string of characters used to verify the identity of a user during the authentication process.

  • biometrics

    Biometrics is the measurement and statistical analysis of people's unique physical and behavioral characteristics.

SearchHealthIT
SearchDisasterRecovery
  • What is risk mitigation?

    Risk mitigation is a strategy to prepare for and lessen the effects of threats faced by a business.

  • change control

    Change control is a systematic approach to managing all changes made to a product or system.

  • disaster recovery (DR)

    Disaster recovery (DR) is an organization's ability to respond to and recover from an event that affects business operations.

SearchStorage
  • PCIe SSD (PCIe solid-state drive)

    A PCIe SSD (PCIe solid-state drive) is a high-speed expansion card that attaches a computer to its peripherals.

  • VRAM (video RAM)

    VRAM (video RAM) refers to any type of random access memory (RAM) specifically used to store image data for a computer display.

  • virtual memory

    Virtual memory is a memory management technique where secondary memory can be used as if it were a part of the main memory.

Close