drive wipe

Steven Alligood steve at
Thu Oct 23 11:46:46 MDT 2008

Brian Beardall wrote:
> On Thu, 2008-10-23 at 07:52 -0600, Aaron Toponce wrote:
>> On Wed, Oct 22, 2008 at 11:58:15PM -0600, Dr. Scott S. Jones wrote:
>>> What does one use to wipe a drive, what application? I have a few that I
>>> need to clean up...and overwrite, to protect patient data. 
>> dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/hda
>> Want to contest that the above command securely deletes data? See the
>> following link, then get back to me:
> The award money isn't even worth it. The best way would be to have the
> FBI or CIA want the data off the disk. They'll spend what ever it takes
> to invent the technology to get the data off. After all those two
> probably have the best data recovery services this planet has to offer.
> I'm not suggesting to do anything illegal to test their services though.
> Brian Beardall
I agree, the $500 is not worth the effort for these companies, all of 
which will charge at least that for a Norton undelete level of 
recovery.  The drive itself is only designed to read the most powerful 
magnetic impression, not the lower level remains of old data.  A truly 
high end firm, like the CIA or FBI would remove the platter from the 
drive housing and use special equipment to read the differences under 
those zeroes.  The challenge is unrealistic, and in the end they will 
claim they proved themselves right without any reality being involved.

This goes to the basic question, "What is your data worth to someone else?"

if it is your workstation hard drive at home, with your personal email 
and checking account data, all zeroes are more then sufficient, since 
there are easier ways to get that data that low level recovery.  If it 
is corporate secrets worth millions to your company, then a full burn 
with a physical nail through the platter would be very good security.  
If the drive had government secrets, possibly worth billions, then 
incinerate the drives.

Do the effort required to secure the data to the level of it's potential 
value to someone else, whether it is a hard drive, Sally Secretary, or 
any type of security.

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