Shredding data from a hard drive

Discussion in 'privacy general' started by ajcstr, Feb 8, 2005.

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  1. ajcstr

    ajcstr Registered Member

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    Can anyone give me advice on shredding/wiping data from a hard drive. I currently have McAfee Shredder and Norton WipeInfo that came bundled with other utilities but are either of these adequate to do the job. The both have a "govt wipe" feature.

    Also, I have read that one pass of the wipe is not enough. I don't understand this. If I fill the drive with 1's say, how can someone figure out what was there before the 1 o_O I understand that just deleting a file removes the table entry but leaves the physical file, but I can't see the benefit of multiple wipes.

    Thank you in advance.
     
  2. ronjor

    ronjor Global Moderator

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  3. nadirah

    nadirah Registered Member

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    I'm gonna destroy all the data on my former old computer with windows 98. I'm gonna use Eraser to do it. My old computer is useless, time to destroy all the data on it. This computer that I'm using currently is a new one.
     
  4. gud4u

    gud4u Registered Member

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    Some multi-function utilities, such as Ace Utilities, include a 'Wipe Info' button to securely delete free HD space. Ace makes routine maintenance ridiculously easy.

    For wiping an entire disk, the free utility offered by your HD maker will write zeros over the entire HD.

    Neither are suitable for super-secure DOD-level wipes.

    Hope this helps!
     
  5. INTOXSICKATED

    INTOXSICKATED Registered Member

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    i love ace utillities and use it once a week to keep my comp clean. the wipe function included with it does a good job. unless you're giving it to someone else to use, nothing works better than a hammer.
     
  6. Jimbob1989

    Jimbob1989 Registered Member

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    I currently use eraser or the eraser tool in Steganos Anonym Pro when overwritting unused disk space. Can take hours though when using on a large hard drive.

    However, not all of these eraser tools seem to work for example when I originally used NecroFile space was often recoverable afterwards. It is often worth also getting tools for recovering data so you can test how effective the erase was.

    Jimbob
     
  7. TopperID

    TopperID Registered Member

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    According to Peter Gutmann’s paper “Secure Deletion of Data from Magnetic and Solid-State Memory”, overwriting with around seven passes should make information largely irrecoverable by normal means. But to be more secure you would really need at least 35 passes of random information to fully delete. But even here info could be recovered if enough man hours and resources were devoted to it.

    Another problem is you cannot easily overwrite areas which have themselves been overwritten by important system files. Thus if you have incriminating info deleted on your hard drive, a system file could be plonked on top, protecting that area from shredding.

    You must also distinguish between shredding an actual file (easy) and shredding unused disc space (not so easy).

    The only way to be absolutely sure is to physically destroy your hard drive!
     
  8. Jimbob1989

    Jimbob1989 Registered Member

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    The data that has been overwritten with system files can not be recovered as far as I am aware, plus you realise that the larger the number of passes, the longer it will take.

    Jimbob
     
  9. bigbuck

    bigbuck Registered Member

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    For the odd sensitive file on my box I use the secure shredder in Spybot. Can set up to 99 shreds (I assume that's passes?).
     
  10. Jimbob1989

    Jimbob1989 Registered Member

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    Does it take long to complete?

    Jimbob
     
  11. bigbuck

    bigbuck Registered Member

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    Never done 99.....5 is default.....I usually bump it up to 10-12.
     
  12. TopperID

    TopperID Registered Member

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    The whole point is that it can be - you simply take out the Drive and work on it in the lab; using Magnetic force microscopy (MFM) or Magnetic force scanning tunneling microscopy (STM), or some such technique. Please read Gutmann's paper.

    It can take about 20 hours to do seven passes over the 'empty' space on my drive using Eraser.
     
  13. Sweetie(*)(*)

    Sweetie(*)(*) Registered Member

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    Hi, Dban is a free program that runs from DOS off a flopy, it will completly destroy and wipe all info on the disk. LINK

    REST2514 is a free program that I use for disk cleaning, it over-writes all free space and data that is recoverable with 1's and 0's, depending on your hard disk size and system speed it can take upto 12hrs to run completly. LINK
    (this program works very well if you defrag after running the disk wipe, generally once a month ill run rest overnight and defrag using Perfect disk in the morning, there is a noticeable speed increase.)


    Hypothetically its possible to recover any data, though if cleaned/destroyed properly there will only be partial fragments of the file left.

    Any program that deletes or wipes disk space in short periods of time has to be questioned, a full disk clean (at least 3 passes) will take some time, e.g 4+ hrs.


    Using REST2514 i have recovered data that has been shredded/deleted by many security apps, for example Windows washer, Evidence Eliminator, Spybot etc, the secure delete functions on these programs are no good.

    As stated above the only complete way is to destroy the drive and even then the actual Disk inside has to be melted, shattered etc.
     
  14. _ZP_

    _ZP_ Guest

    The smaller the partition, the faster the erasing process.
     
  15. Moleman

    Moleman Guest

    I currently use Mutilate File Wipe - anybody have any raves or concerns re: this program?

    Thanks
     
  16. oandrade

    oandrade Guest

    you guys should all use KILLDISK. it works really good. get it at www.killdisk.com

    I have a problem too. when i try to do a clean installation of Windows xp, it says "this partition is not compatible with Windows xp". Can you guys help me?
     
  17. snowbound

    snowbound Retired Moderator

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    Hi oandrade. :)

    Welcome to Wilders.

    Feel free to start a new thread in the software & services forum with your question. It will get better attention over there. ;)



    snowbound
     
  18. bpm3k

    bpm3k Registered Member

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    I also use Darik's Boot and Nuke (DBAN) when i want to erase an entire harddrive. It allows you to select the number of passes to use as well as a pattern. It can run off a floopy or a cd. And it is free.
     
  19. Socio

    Socio Registered Member

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    I use Webrooot Window Washer it installs a shredder in the recycle bin so instead of just empting the recycle bin you shred it.
     
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