Securely Delete Files From Your Mac

Computer and data security should be a concern for every attorney. Your wireless network should be secured. Your computer(s) should have passwords that will prevent unwelcome individuals from accessing your computer.

Another important step is making sure that you delete any extraneous files from your computer. If you use a Mac, there are a few ways to securely delete files.

What files should be deleted?

Sometimes when you download files from the internet, your computer will create a temporary folder containing all your downloads. Even if you rename those files and put them into appropriate client files, your computer still has a folder full of unnamed documents. Those files need to go.

Same thing if you scan documents, your computer might be essentially creating two copies. If you are reading this, double-check your downloads folder and see what is in there. You may need to delete a large batch of files that should not be there.

In addition, if you have been tech-savvy for over ten years, you might have digital client files that can now be deleted.

Securely erase documents

Throwing the files in the trash and emptying the trash will not do it. That data still exists on your computer until it is overwritten by something else. If you choose “secure empty trash” the files will undergo digital graffiti—making them impossible to read. If you do not securely delete the files, a person accessing your computer may still be able to read those deleted files.

Another option is downloading Black Hole, a free application. Black Hole will let you securely empty your trash and do it much faster than “secure empty trash.” While this may seem trivial, making it easier and faster to delete unwanted files can make the difference between good housekeeping and no housekeeping.

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