Best Eraser: Criteria

Discussion in 'privacy technology' started by Pleonasm, May 19, 2008.

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  1. Pleonasm

    Pleonasm Registered Member

    Apr 9, 2007
    The objective of this thread is to identify the set of features and functions that define a “best-in-class” erase utility. If such an inventory can be developed, then it may be used as a checklist for individuals seeking to compare one erase utility against another.

    To start the discussion, the following erase utility characteristics are worthwhile to consider, in my opinion.

    Erase Methods
    • Contains a selection of industry standard erase method algorithms (e.g., Department of Defense 5220.22)
    • Allows the user to create customized erase methods (e.g., by modifying the number of overwrite passes)
    Erase Capabilities
    • Erases “file slack” (also known as “cluster tips”) during the process of erasing a file
    • Erases “file slack” (also known as “cluster tips”) of existing files without deleting or damaging those files
    • Employs a cryptographically secure random number generator (e.g., the ISAAC algorithm)
    • Destroys the name of a file in the Master File Table after erasing the file’s contents (on an NTFS volume)
    • Erases the free (unused) space on a hard disk drive
    • Erases the names of previously deleted files (on NTFS and FAT volumes)
    • Automatically schedules files that are “locked” by Windows to be erased at system startup
    Erase Options
    • Provides pre-defined options to erase Internet traces (e.g., cookies, history, temporary files)
    • Allows the user to specify which Internet cookies are to be retained (i.e., skipped during an erase)
    • Provides pre-defined options to erase traces generated by Windows (e.g., the Recycle Bin, paging file, recently used files list, find/search history, etc.)
    • Provides pre-defined options to erase traces generated by commonly used applications (e.g., Microsoft Office), whether those traces are manifested in files or registry keys
    • Allows the user to create a customized option (“plugin” or “sensitive area”) for erasing information, by selecting folders, files, and/or registry keys to be erased
    • Ease of installation
    • Ease of use (e.g., quality of user interface)
    • Generates a log file, to allow erase operations to be reviewed
    • Provides command-line parameters, to allow the erase utility to be used in a batch file or VBScript program (or invoked through the Windows Task Scheduler)
    • Integrates with Windows Explorer (i.e., right-click context menu)
    • Supports “drag & drop” of files into the application interface for erasing
    • Includes an integrated disk hex editor, to allow the user to view a file’s contents before and after an erase operation
    • Includes an integrated task scheduler/manager, to allow erase options to run automatically at selected intervals
    • Allows a user to erases a hard disk partition/drive completely, using a boot diskette/CD
    • Allows the user to define “hotkeys” to invoke and run an erase function
    • Allows the user to password protect access to the configuration settings of the erase utility
    • Allows the user to “preview” the selection of folders/files about to be erased
    Documentation and Support
    • Clarity and completeness of help available from within the erase utility
    • Clarity and completeness of the user manual
    • Company provides email support in a timely and accurate manner
    • Company provides “live chat” support
    • Company provides telephone support
    • Company provides a community forum, to allow users of the erase utility to talk to one another
    Supported Configurations
    • Compatible with Windows XP
    • Compatible with Windows Vista
    • Compatible with a selection of Internet browsers (e.g., Internet Explorer, Firefox)
    • Compatible with a selection of email clients (e.g., Outlook)
    • Competitive cost
    • Upgrade/update policy for obtaining new releases of the erase utility
    Please recommend additions/edits to this list, so that all in the forum community may benefit.
  2. Fontaine

    Fontaine Registered Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    How about compatible with linux? I'm running Ubuntu 8.04 and trying to find a solid program to wipe data.
  3. ErikAlbert

    ErikAlbert Registered Member

    Jun 16, 2005
    How many times do I have to run this eraser to be on the safe site and without being paranoid ?
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