Does Eraser do "deep wiping"?

Discussion in 'privacy technology' started by TheMozart, Feb 14, 2010.

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  1. TheMozart

    TheMozart Former Poster

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    I hear a lot about people saying that they can find files "deep" in the hard drive.

    What exactly does that mean? And will Eraser "deeply" wipe my free space?
     
  2. Meriadoc

    Meriadoc Registered Member

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    Yes it will wipe free space but doesn't cover all the bases such as r-wipe & clean.
     
  3. TheMozart

    TheMozart Former Poster

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    What does r-wipe & clean do that is essential to a secure wipe that Eraser doesn't do?
     
  4. Pleonasm

    Pleonasm Registered Member

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    Personally, I have no idea what is meant by the phrase “deep wiping.” Could it be just marketing hype?

    Whichever wiping tool you choose to use, I recommend that you personally conduct a series of quick tests to verify that it does the job you expect. Fortunately, with a utility such as WinHex, it’s easy to check that the contents of a set of disk clusters for a file have been overwritten, that a file name in $MFT has been destroyed, or that all of the free space on a volume has been wiped.
     
  5. Meriadoc

    Meriadoc Registered Member

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    I'm talking about other little pointers of use, rw&c feature set is thorough.

    I cross over into computer forensics, WinHex is a fine tool (I have the X-Ways Forensics license) btw you can also wipe with WinHex, zero fill or random bytes.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2010
  6. caspian

    caspian Registered Member

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    Have you put R Wipe to the test? I don't know how to use Winhex or I would. But I have used R Wipe for about 3 years now.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2010
  7. caspian

    caspian Registered Member

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    Here is a screenshot. http://i45.tinypic.com/2roguw7.jpg If you notice the scroll bar you can see that I am unable to get all of the options in the screenshot, but it will give you an idea. You just click a category and then tell it to wipe. And then of course you can wipe your free space. It also has a right click icon for file wiping. If you click on the screenshot it should enlarge to full size.
     
  8. Carver

    Carver Registered Member

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    I have East-tec Eraser 2006 it covers all the bases (including MFT) like R-Wipe and clean.
     
  9. Nebulus

    Nebulus Registered Member

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    Nothing. Eraser does all that it's meant to do, and that is to erase free disk space and to erase the files you want. R-wipe does some other things too, but choosing between them is a matter of what you want to achieve.
     
  10. TheMozart

    TheMozart Former Poster

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    I can't try it. It keeps saying I have 0 days to try it. Not sure why because I have never tried R Wipe before as far as I recall.

    So there are only Eraser and R Wipe?

    BTW, has anyone wiped a partition using R wipe and then used Winhex etc to see if anything is still left behind?
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2010
  11. jp10558

    jp10558 Registered Member

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    It seems to me that r-wipe is basically like C-Cleaner in that it will clear out cookies and most recently used lists from programs, but instead of just deleting, it will wipe them.

    If you run C-Cleaner or Comodo System Cleaner or other free temp space delete and cookie cleaner etc tool, and then run Eraser wipe free space, you can save your $30 at the cost of a little time.

    More interesting is recent posts I've seen (though of course I don't recall where exactly, I think google would help if I had the time) is that most multi-wipe tools (that is, multiple pass tools) are not actually doing better than a 2 pass IF you can get the 2 pass write to hit each side of the band the write head travels. Supposedly a built in Linux utility can do this and is available on boot CDs, but that only is useful as a competitor to DBAN full disk wipes.

    The best question is of course who you're trying to stop getting a file back from your disk? If it's your average computer user, emptying the recycle bin is enough. If it's your average power user, one overwrite pass with zero's will do it.
     
  12. CloneRanger

    CloneRanger Registered Member

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    @caspian and anybody esle who'd like it.

    Sounds like you could use FastStone Capture from FastStone Soft which i use for times such as that, and all my other screenies as in this one.

    fsc.png

    Capture Scrolling Window is what you would have chosen for your screenie.

    Can't fault it, and it's free. :D

    http://www.portablefreeware.com/?id=775
     
  13. Pleonasm

    Pleonasm Registered Member

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    Yes, I did this today by (1) wiping the free space of a USB flash drive (16GB formatted NTFS) with zeros using R-Wipe&Clean; (2) immediately opening the drive using WinHex to inspect the free space (requires a “specialist” license); and then (3) searching the free space using WinHex for any non-zero byte.

    At the very beginning of the free space, there are 1 to 20 sectors (512 byte segments) of non-zero data. While I can’t be absolutely certain, it appears that the operating system (Windows Vista Business) writes data to this area after the completion of free space wipe operation, since the initial bytes begin with “INDX” and a large proportion of the following bytes represent the symbols “$” or “~”. If I use the Safely Remove Hardware function to remove then reattach the same USB drive, only the first sector of the free space then contains quasi-random bytes and the entire remainder of the free space contains zeros.

    Thus, it appears to me that R-Wipe&Clean is properly wiping the free space.
     
  14. Pleonasm

    Pleonasm Registered Member

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    Very odd. Did you download the R-Wipe&Clean trial version from the R-Tools Technology website (see here)? I have found their technical support to the prompt and helpful so, if necessary, please send R-Tools Technology a note asking for assistance.
     
  15. TheMozart

    TheMozart Former Poster

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    Comodo System Cleaner worth using?
     
  16. TheMozart

    TheMozart Former Poster

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    Yes, dl that one and it says 0 days to trial.

    NO idea why.. as far as I recall I have never used this program.. But maybe I did... but that would have been years ago... interesting.. they must write some code somewhere in the registry or hdd that will remain on my PC forever?
     
  17. Warlockz

    Warlockz Registered Member

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    CCleaner has secure delete, just go to, Options, Settings, and select Secure File Deletion (Slower), then select from the 4 wiping algorithms available.

    CCleaner is alright for basic needs, as with R-wipe & clean, ecT. but they still don't cover everything in the registry "ecT.", you can use your little wiping tools and wipe your free space all day long, but your still going to be leaving behind traces of your activities!
     
  18. Pleonasm

    Pleonasm Registered Member

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    Probably true. The key consideration, however, is which “traces” may potentially constitute a breach of privacy. Each user views this issue differently. For example, I choose not to wipe the MFU (Most Frequently Used) registry items, because I find it very useful to have an application display the list of “recently used” files.
     
  19. Carver

    Carver Registered Member

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    A further example would be something like keeping the browsers list of websites you looked at the day before in case you can't remember which website had the news article had the link to the news article that you found interesting or the email conversation you are having about support for a piece of hardware for your computer or the email you don't want you boss to see that criticizes him and was sent to your bosses boss. Some traces are helpful and erased when no longer useful.
     
  20. caspian

    caspian Registered Member

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    Thanks! I have been wanting something like this.
     
  21. ha14

    ha14 Registered Member

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    Its difficult to find if the deep erasing is a complete one, my personal experience is that one software alone is not able to do deep erasing completely since another third party soft finds some other staff to erase it. This is strange but this is what i notice.
     
  22. caspian

    caspian Registered Member

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    If you are really concerned about personal stuff being recovered from your computer, here is a suggestion. See what you think. Figure out whatever system that you think will completely wipe everything. Reformat, reinstall your OS. Install all of the programs that you like.

    Then install Returnil. In preferences, select "wipe all disk changes at restart" and also select "enable when I start windows". So there is a little dat file that gets wiped on restart, leaving nothing behind......absolutely nothing.....and the system is always enabled providing complete protection to a completely clean system. The only time to disable Returnil is to catch up with some updates.

    You can us Sandboxie over top of Returnil to protect any particular web browsing (or chat) session from escaping the Sandbox. Then delete the sandbox after you close the browser. That way if there was a trojan or keylogger or something, it will be gone. It would be gone anyway when you restart Returnil, but this would prevent the need to restart.

    And really sensitive documents that you create or download, like from your banking website, can be put into a truecrypt folder and transfer to an external hard drive. Or you could use AxCrypt to encrypt individual files and then move them. Or if you download some adult material, you could create a large truecrypt folder on your external HD of many gigabytes and transfer downaloads into the truecrypt folder. Just think if your neighbor or your neighbor's kid needs to use your computer at some point. It may be best to leave certain things inaccessible.

    From what I understand, if you download something into a truecrypt folder, the hard drive never sees the material in it's unencrypted form. And Returnil leaves no records whatsoever....of anything. And obviously if you transfer an encrypted file to an external source, the external HD will never see it in it's unencrypted form. So you will never have to be concerned with wiping anything again. And as far as I know, you will never have to worry about malware either.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2010
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