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Erasing Data From Hard Drives

By wschober ·
What do you feel is the minimum "due diligence" required to assure sensitive data is erased from workstation hard drives that will be returned to a leasing company?

P.S. Vendor has responsibility, per contract, to erase hard drives.

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by Oz_Media In reply to Erasing Data From Hard Dr ...

I would first delete all files using a secure file wipe. Then copy loads of irrelevant information, AVI's. MP3's etc to refill the HD. At this point I would reformat the drive several times and that should be sufficient to stop any inadverse recapturing of data.

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by timwalsh In reply to Erasing Data From Hard Dr ...

It is admirable that the vendor has taken on this responsibility. However, by definition, this means the vendor has access to any potential sensitive data on the drives.

Merely deleting the data only wipes out the directory listings for the files. Even performing a format only destroys the previous boot record.

In general, data can be potentially recovered unless the data location is overwritten by something else.

As a minimum, use a secure wipe utility that meets DOD 5220.22-M specs. This spec require that: all addressable location be overwritten by an ASCII character (can be user defined), then overwritten by the characters complement, then overwritten by a random character, then verify the contents of all addressable locations. This is a total of 3 overwrites in addition to the verification. This standard is used by the Department of Defense for sanitizing magnetic media with classified information.

There are numerous software utilities on the market that will meet these requirements (some are freeware, some cost money). Some include even more stringent wipe algorithms (up to 35 wipe passes). Obviously, the greater number of passes, the slower the procedure. Run a search on Google using the keywords "DOD wipe" or "DOD 5220.22".

Hope this helps.

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How Sensitive?

by TheChas In reply to Erasing Data From Hard Dr ...

This subject has been the subject of numerous discussions in this forum.

It depends on how sensitive the data is, and how valuable the data would be to a third party.

If the data is such that someone might be willing to spend thousands of dollars to recover it, your best option is physical destruction of the drives.

Otherwise, any of the DOD rated cleansing utilities will do the job.


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Secure Deletion

by appredator In reply to Erasing Data From Hard Dr ...

DoD standard is 7 wipes. But, using a low level wiping utility would be sufficient. Once you have turned the bits 0 to 1 or vice versa, the data has been modified. Autoclave is a pretty good deletion tool. Has worked for me.

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by wschober In reply to Erasing Data From Hard Dr ...

Thanks everyone. I appreciate your input.

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