How to erase a hard disk completely?

How to erase a hard disk completely?

Post by Irving Kimur » Mon, 30 Jun 2003 04:39:18



I suppose that I could just reformat a hard disk if I want to erase
its contents, but my understanding is that it may be possible for
someone intent on doing it to still recover at least some of the
data.  There's a lot of highly sensitive data in this disk I want
to dispose of.  Is there a program that will truly wipe a whole
hard disk clean?

Thanks in advance!

        -Irv

 
 
 

How to erase a hard disk completely?

Post by Chris F.A. Johnso » Mon, 30 Jun 2003 05:02:04



> I suppose that I could just reformat a hard disk if I want to erase
> its contents, but my understanding is that it may be possible for
> someone intent on doing it to still recover at least some of the
> data.  There's a lot of highly sensitive data in this disk I want
> to dispose of.  Is there a program that will truly wipe a whole
> hard disk clean?

     How thorough do you want to be?

     For absolute certainty, melt down the drive. ;)

     To do a pretty good job, use "shred -z" to erase all the
     sensitive information, fill up the drive with random data, then
     shred that.

     Or get a magnetic bulk tape eraser. ;)

     Or read through some of the 45,500 hits that Google returns for
     "erase hard drive completely".

--
    Chris F.A. Johnson                        http://cfaj.freeshell.org
    ===================================================================
    My code (if any) in this post is copyright 2003, Chris F.A. Johnson
    and may be copied under the terms of the GNU General Public License

 
 
 

How to erase a hard disk completely?

Post by dav.. » Mon, 30 Jun 2003 05:03:39



> There's a lot of highly sensitive data in this disk I want
> to dispose of.  Is there a program that will truly wipe a whole

If you want to "dispose" of the disk definitively, grab a drill and
drill some hole in it, if you want to resell it, use
dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/whatsthedisk

Davide

 
 
 

How to erase a hard disk completely?

Post by bd » Mon, 30 Jun 2003 05:22:27



> I suppose that I could just reformat a hard disk if I want to erase
> its contents, but my understanding is that it may be possible for
> someone intent on doing it to still recover at least some of the
> data.  There's a lot of highly sensitive data in this disk I want
> to dispose of.  Is there a program that will truly wipe a whole
> hard disk clean?

How about the appropriately named 'wipe'? ;)
http://wipe.sourceforge.net/

--
Freenet distribution not available
"For a moment, nothing happened. Then, after a second or
so, nothing continued to happen. "

 
 
 

How to erase a hard disk completely?

Post by lcoe » Mon, 30 Jun 2003 07:41:05




>> I suppose that I could just reformat a hard disk if I want to erase
>> its contents, but my understanding is that it may be possible for
>> someone intent on doing it to still recover at least some of the
>> data.  There's a lot of highly sensitive data in this disk I want
>> to dispose of.  Is there a program that will truly wipe a whole
>> hard disk clean?
> How about the appropriately named 'wipe'? ;)
> http://wipe.sourceforge.net/

or a standard unix util:  badblocks.  it can wipe a disk any
number of times w/a small script, let it run overnite.    --Loren
Quote:> --
> Freenet distribution not available
> "For a moment, nothing happened. Then, after a second or
> so, nothing continued to happen. "

 
 
 

How to erase a hard disk completely?

Post by Floyd Davidso » Mon, 30 Jun 2003 08:19:30





>>> I suppose that I could just reformat a hard disk if I want to erase
>>> its contents, but my understanding is that it may be possible for
>>> someone intent on doing it to still recover at least some of the
>>> data.  There's a lot of highly sensitive data in this disk I want
>>> to dispose of.  Is there a program that will truly wipe a whole
>>> hard disk clean?

>> How about the appropriately named 'wipe'? ;)
>> http://wipe.sourceforge.net/

>or a standard unix util:  badblocks.  it can wipe a disk any
>number of times w/a small script, let it run overnite.    --Loren

Don't look for software solutions to eradicate data on a disk.

There are two sure fire methods.  One is to dent it
sufficiently, and the other is to melt it sufficiently.  A
twenty pound hammer will work for the first, and a cutting torch
is useful to implement the second.

Anything else is risking having front page headlines about what
ever it is you have on the disk.

--
Floyd L. Davidson           <http://web.newsguy.com/floyd_davidson>

 
 
 

How to erase a hard disk completely?

Post by Dave Uhrin » Mon, 30 Jun 2003 09:12:48



> Don't look for software solutions to eradicate data on a disk.

> There are two sure fire methods.  One is to dent it
> sufficiently, and the other is to melt it sufficiently.  A
> twenty pound hammer will work for the first, and a cutting torch
> is useful to implement the second.

> Anything else is risking having front page headlines about what
> ever it is you have on the disk.

Removal of the platters and grinding the oxide surfaces off works well,
too.

Shooting the drives with a 7.62mm minigun is also effective.

 
 
 

How to erase a hard disk completely?

Post by Jean-David Beye » Mon, 30 Jun 2003 11:55:05



> I suppose that I could just reformat a hard disk if I want to erase
> its contents, but my understanding is that it may be possible for
> someone intent on doing it to still recover at least some of the
> data.  There's a lot of highly sensitive data in this disk I want
> to dispose of.  Is there a program that will truly wipe a whole
> hard disk clean?

Who are you afraid of? And just how sensitive is the stuff? Are you
going to junk the drive or try to sell it?

Because if the National Security Agency or the Central Intelligence
Agency or the Defense Intelligence Agency or other three-letter agencies
are after you, they probably already have what they need, so just sell
your drive on e-bay.

If the threat is just embarassing stuff and you hesitate to let amateurs
get it, dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdx (if that is the drive in question)
should be enough.

In between, take the drive apart, remove the disk platters and work them
over with a finishing sander on both sides. Then toss the platters (and
the drive, too, since getting new platters and getting them in there
right, and not having a serious head crash from all the contamination
your are going to get in there will be more trouble than buying a new
drive).

--
   .~.  Jean-David Beyer           Registered Linux User 85642.
   /V\                             Registered Machine    73926.
  /( )\ Shrewsbury, New Jersey     http://counter.li.org
  ^^-^^ 10:45pm up 11 days, 1:19, 2 users, load average: 2.29, 2.19, 2.07

 
 
 

How to erase a hard disk completely?

Post by mjt » Mon, 30 Jun 2003 12:33:28



> data.  There's a lot of highly sensitive data in this disk I want
> to dispose of.  Is there a program that will truly wipe a whole
> hard disk clean?

... depends on the future use of the drive. if tossing it, then
get out a sledge hammer and relieve some stress :)  otherwise,
"dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/blahblah, where blahblah equals the
drive device

--
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 Michael J. Tobler: motorcyclist, surfer,  #    Black holes result
 skydiver, and author: "Inside Linux",     #   when God divides the  
 "C++ HowTo", "C++ Unleashed"              #     universe by zero

 
 
 

How to erase a hard disk completely?

Post by Grant Edward » Mon, 30 Jun 2003 13:02:28



> I suppose that I could just reformat a hard disk if I want to erase
> its contents, but my understanding is that it may be possible for
> someone intent on doing it to still recover at least some of the
> data.  There's a lot of highly sensitive data in this disk I want
> to dispose of.  Is there a program that will truly wipe a whole
> hard disk clean?

thermite.sourceforge.net

--
Grant Edwards                   grante             Yow!  ONE LIFE TO LIVE for
                                  at               ALL MY CHILDREN in ANOTHER
                               visi.com            WORLD all THE DAYS OF
                                                   OUR LIVES.

 
 
 

How to erase a hard disk completely?

Post by Grant Edward » Mon, 30 Jun 2003 13:28:32



>> Is there a program that will truly wipe a whole hard disk
>> clean?

> thermite.sourceforge.net

That was supposed to be a joke.

Then I find out there really _is_ a thermite.sourceforge.net.

--
Grant Edwards                   grante             Yow!  Here I am at the flea
                                  at               market but nobody is buying
                               visi.com            my urine sample bottles...

 
 
 

How to erase a hard disk completely?

Post by Steve Ro » Mon, 30 Jun 2003 14:32:46


do a search for "boot and nuke"

Steve


> I suppose that I could just reformat a hard disk if I want to erase
> its contents, but my understanding is that it may be possible for
> someone intent on doing it to still recover at least some of the
> data.  There's a lot of highly sensitive data in this disk I want
> to dispose of.  Is there a program that will truly wipe a whole
> hard disk clean?

> Thanks in advance!

>    -Irv

 
 
 

How to erase a hard disk completely?

Post by dave Stanto » Mon, 30 Jun 2003 20:37:54



>> thermite.sourceforge.net

> That was supposed to be a joke.

> Then I find out there really _is_ a thermite.sourceforge.net.

mmmmmm...... Sounds interesting, must have a look.

Dave
--
And you were born knowing all about ms windows....??

 
 
 

How to erase a hard disk completely?

Post by Bill Unr » Tue, 01 Jul 2003 03:35:47


]I suppose that I could just reformat a hard disk if I want to erase
]its contents, but my understanding is that it may be possible for
]someone intent on doing it to still recover at least some of the
]data.  There's a lot of highly sensitive data in this disk I want
]to dispose of.  Is there a program that will truly wipe a whole
]hard disk clean?

]Thanks in advance!

Depends on what you want. If you are satisfied with just actually
erasing the data (reformating leaves all the data there for anyone to
pick up), then reformat the disk as one large partition, and then open a
file on that partition and fill up the whole disk with whatever data you
like. This will overwrite the data on the disk. However, this may not be
enough if your attacker is really determined (eg willing to take apart
the disk and scan the disk platters to try to get off the data). There
exist cryptographic wipes which rewrite to the disk multiple times with
different bit patterns to make it harder to do that kind of work.
On the other hand, if your attacker is willing to go to that kind of
expense, then your best bet is probably physical destruction. Wipe the
disk, and then heat the platters up beyond the neal point for the
material (red hot will certainly do it).

Ie, what level of attack are you willing to guard against.
Note that all those backups you make over the years are just as
dangerous, and a lot lot easier to steal (if the hard disk went missing,
you would probably notice, if a backup tape did, you probably would not)

 
 
 

How to erase a hard disk completely?

Post by Bill Unr » Tue, 01 Jul 2003 03:38:12



]     Or get a magnetic bulk tape eraser. ;)

Terrible idea. It will leave the data almost completely untouched--
maybe unreadable by the standard disk heads, but readable by anoyone
really determined.

 
 
 

1. completely stumbled--hard disk not detected

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go here: http://www.redhat.com/download/howto_download.html#bootimage,
search using the text string, "Choosing a Boot Disk Image File"; it
explains how to download and create the floppies you will require

--
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 Michael J. Tobler: motorcyclist, surfer,  #    Black holes result
 skydiver, and author: "Inside Linux",     #   when God divides the  
 "C++ HowTo", "C++ Unleashed"              #     universe by zero

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