Best Eraser: Criteria

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

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  1. Pleonasm

    Pleonasm Registered Member

    Joined:
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    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
    Miscellaneous
    • 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)
    Pricing
    • 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

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2008
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    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

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2005
    Posts:
    9,455
    How many times do I have to run this eraser to be on the safe site and without being paranoid ?
     
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