Your computer’s software may be protected, but your information can still be at risk if your computer is stolen or lost. You could also be at risk if you give away old computers without completely wiping the old system’s internal storage.
Encryption products can protect your information, making the data useless if it leaves your control. Recent versions of Windows, Macintosh, and others provide encryption options free, with your computer. You just have to enable them.
If you give away old computers, make sure you thoroughly wipe the storage before you do so. Formatting or deleting your old information is not enough. Better yet, remove the old hard drive and keep it.
To learn more about computer disposal and how computers store personal information, visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website Onguardonline.