Cellphones, PDA’s, and Flash Drives. – Do I really need to destroy these?

November 30, 2018 at 9:59 am by SEM

We all know that paper, tapes, optical media (CD/DVD/Blu-rays), and hard drives with sensitive information on them need to be safe-guarded. We commonly shred, degauss, and destroy these items because we all realize the damage they could cause if the information were to get into the wrong hands.

Many people don’t realize that old cellphones, PDA’s, and even thumb drives, can also pose a security risk. These items are commonly turned in by departing employees or replaced due to a technology refresh, and they pose a very large threat to your data security.

Do you need to destroy these? ABSOLUTELY.

Here’s why.

Special care needs to be taken because all of these items contain flash memory, which is the same digital memory that is used on thumb or jump drives. Flash memory has become very popular in the small electronics market. Compared to a traditional hard drive, this type of memory is smaller, lighter, has no moving parts, is faster, and can hold much more data.


Solid State Drives (SSDs) also require physical destruction to destroy the data since degaussing has no effect on flash media. Unlike a traditional hard drive, once you put information on flash memory it is there forever and cannot be erased, re-formatted, or degaussed. Even though you can clear the device and it appears to be empty, all the information that was ever put on the device is still there and recovering it is not a very sophisticated process.

Scary, right? The only way to destroy this embedded or hidden information is to physically destroy or shred the device and the flash memory within.

Disintegration is the most effective and secure way to accomplish this task. The disintegrator will shred the devices, minus the batteries, into tiny pieces so you can be sure the information will not be coming back. The National Security Agency has recommended destruction of SSD’s down to a dust-like 2mm particle, if the drives have any classified or top secret information on them.

While it may seem like a good opportunity to make extra money reselling old flash memory items, the truth is it’s safer to just be destroyed. Learn more about some of the products that can help with physical destruction here.