It is fairly well known that it is possible to recover files that have been deleted, but there are few operating systems that include a secure deletion option as standard. There are numerous tools that can be used to scour a hard drive for deleted files, and it usually take very little to restore them to their former glory. But this would not be the case if file were not only deleted, but the space that they occupied on the hard drive was overwritten with other data. This is something that BCWipe offers in a cross-platform tool.
Rather than having to battle with a complex program interface, making use of this app is a simple matter of right clicking on a file and select the wipe option. You can then choose how data should be overwritten and how many times, and select options such as also wiping file slack. Windows and Mac users can use a scheduler to automatically delete and wipe certain types of files and when it comes to protecting privacy, the app can be configured to wipe out details of web activity and file access histories.
As your hard drive will undoubtedly be packed with files that have already been deleted prior to the installation of BCWipe – and could probably be recovered – there is an option to wipe free space to ensure that this is secure as well. You can also place the program in Transparent Wiping mode in which it will automatically wipe temporary files when they are no longer needed and securely delete the files you remove in the usual way.
As an added bonus for users of Windows, it is possible to encrypt the swap file. This area of temporary memory does represent a potential security hole that could be exploited to gain access to data, so it’s good to see this being plugged. You can choose from a number of different levels of encryption right up to 448-bit Blowfish encryption. But whether you are using OS X, Windows or Linux, there are plenty of options here to help keep your data safe.