How to properly erase/scrub/wipe a hard drive?

Discussion in 'privacy technology' started by KrazyKong, Aug 18, 2010.

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  1. hierophant

    hierophant Registered Member

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    BTW, I've verified that burning drives works just fine. There was virtually nothing left, after several hours in a wood fire (plus some CDs and DVDs) in a chiminea.
     
  2. caspian

    caspian Registered Member

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    So creating a truecrypt folder DOES overwrite the space that it occupies. If this is true then you should be able to to create a huge truecrypt folder, close to the size of the hard drive free space, and then just delete it, right?
     
  3. caspian

    caspian Registered Member

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    Okay. Can you encrypt the entire device and then delete the encryption in the same way that you can delete a TrueCrypt folder?
     
  4. caspian

    caspian Registered Member

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    I know that this is so basic that you will probably be rolling your eyes, but if I encrypt a USB stick with TrueCrypt, I will always have to enter a password to decrypt it before that it can be used, correct?
     
  5. dialxdrop

    dialxdrop Registered Member

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    Well is there a difference between Truecrypt's full hard disk encryption VS partitioning every byte of a hard disk leaving 0 space (Ex: 1000 gig partition on 1000 gig HD), and encrypting that entire partition? And then you would just wipe the MBR using MBR wipe software and that would be the same?
     
  6. LockBox

    LockBox Registered Member

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    Caspian, When you asked about deleting you might be thinking of a post I made not too long ago about how some people use this method to securely dispose of a drive (or whatever) and I added that one can also, if they wanted, then delete the partition, and re-create it with a quick format. All this does is make it look like it's never been used versus the random data left by TC. Depending on why you're doing what you're doing in the first place would dictate which "looks better."
     
  7. LockBox

    LockBox Registered Member

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    Just to clarify my own post two posts up...

    I obviously meant after the encryption of the partition.
     
  8. dialxdrop

    dialxdrop Registered Member

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    So basically, the difference is a small amount of space in the beginning (Entire first track) and at the end of a HD. Can any traces of your data on your partition somehow end up in either of these locations? or is the possibility pretty much zilch?

    And if it can contain traces, what is that area at the end of a hard disk called so I can find wiping software to zap it away also...
     
  9. dialxdrop

    dialxdrop Registered Member

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    K great thanks, i'll check it out.
     
  10. chronomatic

    chronomatic Registered Member

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    Wrong. DBAN can write random data too. Thus my point that there is no reason to use encryption to wipe a drive. In either case, you have to write random data to the disk FIRST.
     
  11. LockBox

    LockBox Registered Member

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    Chronomatic is very sharp and is usually right on this stuff, but there's been communication problems or something with this particular topic. I've tried to explain several times (I think it's this thread) about Truecrypt, encrypting with files-in-place, not needing to wipe before encryption like it's two different processes or something.....he really knows his Linux stuff...VERY sharp, but something is getting missed somewhere on this topic.
     
  12. caspian

    caspian Registered Member

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    That is a really cool idea. Thanks
     
  13. dread

    dread Registered Member

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    List of recovery tools

    GetDataBack
    Active@ File Recovery, Active@ Partition Recovery. or any of the Active Data Recovery Software
    Stellar Phoenix
    Recover My Files
    R-Studio
    EASEUS Data Recovery Wizard Professional they have a free version too
    Zero Assumption Recover

    I have tried them all in a desperate attempt to get my files back after I made stupid mistakes formatting and partitioning lol. They all could recover files. As far as recovering only partitions, Active@ Partition Recovery surprised me and was the best. Active@ Partition Recovery was able to completely recover the partition and all files were ok.
     
  14. dread

    dread Registered Member

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    I would like a definite answer if possible on how many passes and what kind of passes does it really take to securely wipe a drive/files. How many passes and what kind of passes does it take to make it so it is impossible or almost impossible to recover any data/files from a hard drive?
     
  15. LockBox

    LockBox Registered Member

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    I'm a big believer that one-pass of random data will do it. If you're not comfortable with that do three wipes (DOD).
     
  16. Setcho

    Setcho Registered Member

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    Hi,
    I could do with some advice, I'm selling a PC and I would like to erase the drive. I've tried DBAN but I can't get it to work, I get the "DBAN finished with non fatal errors message" (apparently this means I need to mess about with BIOS settings and I've tried this and still no luck). I've also tried HDD erase and it appears to hang during the start up screens (I left it for 5 mins) before it gets to the actual erase so I stop it by rebooting, also this program scares me a little as I don't want to lock the drive which I have read can happen sometimes. I've also tried Active kill Disk but this states that it will take 28hrs to wipe the drive which is far too long for 1 pass.
    The drive I'm trying to wipe is a 500GB Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 and I have three questions.

    1) I have SeaTools for windows which has a full erase option, however the info on this states "Full Erase – Fills the entire drive with zeros. It can be used to recover bad sectors and erases all data. This is not a Secure erase." Are they just stating this because they are adhering to the old rule that a drive must be wiped many times to be secure?

    2) I have some linux CDs, If I run "dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sda bs=1M" in order to fill the drive with zeros will I just be doing the same thing as a SeaTools full erase?

    3) What other good and reliable freeware programs are available?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  17. Searching_ _ _

    Searching_ _ _ Registered Member

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    Linux Live CD and hdparm using the secure erase feature.
    http://ata.wiki.kernel.org/index.php/ATA_Secure_Erase
     
  18. dantz

    dantz Registered Member

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    I recommend using SeaTools to check the drive for defects and then fill it with zeros. No, it's not an "ATA Secure Erase", and I think that's all they're saying.
     
  19. Setcho

    Setcho Registered Member

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    Thanks for the info on hdparm but the mention of locked drives on the wiki scared me off as I can't afford something like this to happen, however it's good to know that the option is available.

    I performed a full erase with seatools over the weekend and just finished checking with Recuva and it didn't find anything so it appears to have worked. Thanks for the advice.
     
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