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Thread: Best way of wiping the HD ?

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    Kai
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    Best way of wiping the HD ?

    I used to just format , but from what I hear its not fullproof and I need something like this to do it .

    If that is the case , I'd be interested in hearing what software everyone uses or recommends ( ideally free ) to achieve this task so the HD is reusable again , and if there's any way to make it " unnoticeable " or recoverable to more learned eyes.

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    aka .:iGi:. Calcutter DannyM's Avatar
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    Re: Best way of wiping the HD ?

    Darik's Boot And Nuke is free, you can get it from here - http://www.dban.org/ - you can run this from a disc.

    Run 3 passes, anything more can start damaging the HDD.

    If you don't wish to use the HDD EVER again then you can remove the platter and smash it up (see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVLFirhg4mc) - this will destroy the HDD! So be warned!

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    Re: Best way of wiping the HD ?

    Quote Originally Posted by DannyM View Post
    Darik's Boot And Nuke is free, you can get it from here - http://www.dban.org/ - you can run this from a disc.

    Run 3 passes, anything more can start damaging the HDD.

    If you don't wish to use the HDD EVER again then you can remove the platter and smash it up (see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVLFirhg4mc) - this will destroy the HDD! So be warned!
    thanks, im returning my lenovo so that basically why , the terrible screen , bad audio just don't make it worthwhile as its starting to affect my eyes,the lack of decent games hardly make it worthwhile either.

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    Laird Of The Glen jimborae's Avatar
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    Re: Best way of wiping the HD ?

    another vote for Dban, very good, simple & free.

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    Re: Best way of wiping the HD ?

    Quote Originally Posted by DannyM View Post
    Run 3 passes, anything more can start damaging the HDD.
    Since when? It's only writing to the disk like any normal program would.
    Quote Originally Posted by Saracen View Post
    And by trying to force me to like small pants, they've alienated me.

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    aka .:iGi:. Calcutter DannyM's Avatar
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    Re: Best way of wiping the HD ?

    I read it somewhere, it maybe dependant on the method used, I'll try find it out at some point, it or I maybe wrong.

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    Re: Best way of wiping the HD ?

    Used DBAN couple of times, I would recommend it. 3 passes or DoD short wipe is sufficient to wipe a hard drive and chosing a method that does more than three wipes will takes longer depending on size of the storage space. I recall using DOD 5220.22-M (7 passes) took more than 8 hours to wipe an old 60 GB IDE 2.5" hard drive but new hard drive should take less than that.

    There was paranoid option on one of the software I can't remember which is about 25 passes if you are really that paranoid.

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    stormrazer razer121's Avatar
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    Re: Best way of wiping the HD ?

    For ease of use would Eraser be a good alternative option?
    Quote Originally Posted by TAKTAK View Post
    It was so small that mine wouldn't fit into it

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    Re: Best way of wiping the HD ?

    You know the dammed-est thing just happened, I just tried plugging in my old external which has a smaller resolution and its improved the horrible glossy contrast a lot, I may keep it after all now , even with it cloning my old monitors display.

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    Re: Best way of wiping the HD ?

    There's a lot of paranoia about this about. For 10 years or more, a "secure erase" command from the drives firmware is perfectly adequate for domestic purposes, or even most business purposes.

    But for confidence reasons, I agree that an overwrite is reassuring. A single pass is almost certainly enough to defeat anything but very sophisticated laboratory attempts at recovery, but again, for reassurance, by all means do 3.

    DBAN is perfectly adequate, and I have used it, Eraser is my normal choice, and again gets the job done.

    If you really want to be sure, NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) published a paper about this in about 2006, recommending the level of method required for US Federal bodies (short of security agencies) to take to ensure compluance with federal law on data security and confidentially. That suggests that, for hard drives, one pass overwrite is fine.

    It also points at published lists of products examined by both the NSA and DSS (Defence Security Services). These are not endorsed by them, as the government doesn't do that, but are on lists of, if you like, devices and software approved for government bodies to use.

    As any good conspiracy theorist will assume, it MAY be that the NSA, GCHQ, Mossad, DGSE, Chinese People's Army intelligence, etc, may be able to recover stuff, but your PC World techie or spotty teenage geek in his bedroom won't stand a chance.

    So if you're worried about the NSA, etc, run DBAN, then run it again, then disassemble the drive, crush the firmware chip, smash to disk platters(s) to bits with a hammer, melt the remnants with an oxyacetalyne torch, separate them into loads of separate portions, and bury each portion on a different continent, sealed in amber and surrounded by garlic and witch-hazel, dipped in holy water, and make sure to drop a few portions into the deepest trench on the Pacific Ocean. And arrange for some to be fired into space, and then flown into the centre of the Sun. That ought to slow the NSA down a bit.

    I'm pretty paranoid about personal data. No mail, with a name or address on, for instance, EVER gets just thrown out. Any paper with any personal info on gets cross-shredded into tiny chunks, as do old data CDs, etc. I don't even use debit or credit cards if I can help it, and pay for groceries with cash.

    But even I think DBAN or Eraser is perfectly adequate for securely erasing hard drives.

    But if in doubt, do what the NSA. and NIST suggest for extremely sensitive data .... careful physical destruction. It all depends on what the data is, how worried you are about it, and what damage it could do if it got out. It's a cost v risk thing.

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    Re: Best way of wiping the HD ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Saracen View Post
    There's a lot of paranoia about this about. For 10 years or more, a "secure erase" command from the drives firmware is perfectly adequate for domestic purposes, or even most business purposes.

    But for confidence reasons, I agree that an overwrite is reassuring. A single pass is almost certainly enough to defeat anything but very sophisticated laboratory attempts at recovery, but again, for reassurance, by all means do 3.

    DBAN is perfectly adequate, and I have used it, Eraser is my normal choice, and again gets the job done.

    If you really want to be sure, NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) published a paper about this in about 2006, recommending the level of method required for US Federal bodies (short of security agencies) to take to ensure compluance with federal law on data security and confidentially. That suggests that, for hard drives, one pass overwrite is fine.

    It also points at published lists of products examined by both the NSA and DSS (Defence Security Services). These are not endorsed by them, as the government doesn't do that, but are on lists of, if you like, devices and software approved for government bodies to use.

    As any good conspiracy theorist will assume, it MAY be that the NSA, GCHQ, Mossad, DGSE, Chinese People's Army intelligence, etc, may be able to recover stuff, but your PC World techie or spotty teenage geek in his bedroom won't stand a chance.

    So if you're worried about the NSA, etc, run DBAN, then run it again, then disassemble the drive, crush the firmware chip, smash to disk platters(s) to bits with a hammer, melt the remnants with an oxyacetalyne torch, separate them into loads of separate portions, and bury each portion on a different continent, sealed in amber and surrounded by garlic and witch-hazel, dipped in holy water, and make sure to drop a few portions into the deepest trench on the Pacific Ocean. And arrange for some to be fired into space, and then flown into the centre of the Sun. That ought to slow the NSA down a bit.

    I'm pretty paranoid about personal data. No mail, with a name or address on, for instance, EVER gets just thrown out. Any paper with any personal info on gets cross-shredded into tiny chunks, as do old data CDs, etc. I don't even use debit or credit cards if I can help it, and pay for groceries with cash.

    But even I think DBAN or Eraser is perfectly adequate for securely erasing hard drives.

    But if in doubt, do what the NSA. and NIST suggest for extremely sensitive data .... careful physical destruction. It all depends on what the data is, how worried you are about it, and what damage it could do if it got out. It's a cost v risk thing.
    Im the same with cards , or was , last time I went out .. it doesnt help when you have an odd or rare name either that people could trace using garbage services like 192.com ( no thanks to local councils sharing info ) , in fact I'm thinking of changing mine.

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    root Member DanceswithUnix's Avatar
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    Re: Best way of wiping the HD ?

    Yeah, single overwrite is fine.

    Overwriting lots of times will not damage the hard drive, though if the hard disk has some iffy sectors you are more likely to uncover them as you are basically doing a test of the entire surface.

    For very secure erasure I always recommend thermite, but no-one has let me erase their disk like that yet

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    Re: Best way of wiping the HD ?

    Quote Originally Posted by DanceswithUnix View Post
    Yeah, single overwrite is fine.

    Overwriting lots of times will not damage the hard drive, though if the hard disk has some iffy sectors you are more likely to uncover them as you are basically doing a test of the entire surface.

    For very secure erasure I always recommend thermite, but no-one has let me erase their disk like that yet
    Not even one they want Ko'd ?

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    Re: Best way of wiping the HD ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kai View Post
    Im the same with cards , or was , last time I went out .. it doesnt help when you have an odd or rare name either that people could trace using garbage services like 192.com ( no thanks to local councils sharing info ) , in fact I'm thinking of changing mine.
    Dunno if you know, but one source of leakage of personal info from the council is that, by law, there is broad access to the electoral roll. You can limit (but not entirely stop) commercial access by opting to restrict access to the 'edited' version, which will still allow some types of access (including voting) but certainly should stop you being included on the bits that companies ) like 192.com, IIRC) can buy.

    The downside? If friend, or long lost relatives, that have lost or never had cobtact with you try to find you, this will make it harder.

    Also, of course, any info 192.com already have from previous sccess to electoral rolls won't be removed by this. It'll just stop it being updated. And you can also ask 192.com to remove your data from their database.

    It would be nice if there was an option somewhere to request ALL unsolicited marketing cease, and one that had enforceability. And sharp teeth. But there isn't. So even if 192 take your data off, you've got to find those services one by one, and ask for removal.

    A far better aporoach, if you care enough to bother (and I do), is to take as feasible steps to stop it getting on in the first place.

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    Re: Best way of wiping the HD ?

    As others have said, it really depends on how paranoid you are and/or who you're trying to make the data inaccessible to. Formatting doesn't make any special effort to actually destroy any data; writing the new filesystem structure may end up overwriting the old one and make access to the data itself inconvenient. Putting the drive back into use and adding new files may end up overwriting parts of the old data, or potentially all of it.

    Overwriting once with zeros is enough to make recovery via the drive controller itself essentially impossible; simply put, drives are designed to store information - if you write a zero, it will read back a zero, unless there's an error which cannot be corrected i.e. a fair few bits in a given block have to be 'wrong' to prevent recovery.

    However, wiping software generally cannot access any 'bad' blocks, which could potentially still contain valid data. The ATA secure erase command, as Saracen suggested, instructs the drive to perform its own low-level overwrite, including blocks the software can't see.

    I agree with Saracen, there's a lot of paranoia in this area. A lot of people insist on using the 35-pass Gutmann method, which even the creator himself has essentially called pointless - it was intended as a catch-all method for older drives if you didn't know what sort of encoding it used. If you knew the specifics, you need only use the few passes intended for them. He said something along the lines of a pass or two with random data is about as good as you can do for software overwrites nowadays (the quote should be easy enough to search for if you're interested).

    However, even a simple zeroing pass puts any hope of recovery way past that of anything but what extremely well-funded groups/governments may theoretically be able to achieve. Any hope of recovery comes from the assumption that the write heads may have been aligned slightly differently on the erase pass than a write pass, allowing a few domains to remain 'intact'. Of course, the drive itself will see an overall polarity, not individual domains, so that's why normal recovery methods would be useless. Theoretically, one could use a magnetic force microscope to measure such variances, but with the sort of tolerances used in modern drives, I don't imagine there would be much to go on, and you're counting on at least a few thousand/million of these bits to reveal something useful among trillions of them on the drive, assuming you knew where to start looking.

    While not necessarily impossible, I wouldn't worry about it unless you've really, *really* annoyed a big government or something, enough for them to risk proving the existence of such capabilities. A few random passes should throw more noise into the works, making the job far harder. Or you could just completely melt the drive.

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    root Member DanceswithUnix's Avatar
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    Re: Best way of wiping the HD ?

    If the drive is new enough, changing the encryption key should make overwriting data pointless.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hardwar...k_Sanitization

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