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General Chat Thread, Safest way to securely dispose of hard drives? in General; Originally Posted by CESIL The UBCD includes HDDErase that uses the drive's built in secure erase commands...takes way less time ...
  1. #31
    Pyroman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CESIL View Post
    The UBCD includes
    HDDErase that uses the drive's built in secure erase commands...takes way less time than dban and is
    said to be
    much more secure...
    I found that it only works on certain drives though, the vivard 0.4 tool in HDD diagnosis on the UBCD works well though

  2. #32


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    Quote Originally Posted by CESIL View Post
    HDDErase that uses the drive's built in secure erase commands...
    This is what we use too. In theory it should do a much better job at erasing the drive than DBAN can, and as you say is much faster too.

    Another alternative is the 'Erase Disk' feature of Parted Magic (which also uses the drives internal secure erase command). Unlike HDDErase, Parted Magic never has any issues detecting the hard drive when AHCI is enabled in the BIOS.

  3. Thanks to Arthur from:

    CESIL (27th April 2012)

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    I could use my Imagemasster, that formats to US DoD standards (or something), but I get more out of whacking a nail through them.

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    I use Active Killdisk Erase hard drive by Active@ KillDisk. Low Level Format. The free version only does a single pass but I really think the risk of anyone bothering to try and extract data from them is pretty slim, assuming it is possible? I don't like the idea of wrecking 80GB drives, as I'm sure they can be put to good use somewhere. I did take a sledgehammer to a couple of SCSI ones from a server, which was quite satisfying.

  6. #35

    CESIL's Avatar
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    I was at our neighbouring school recently ( I earn some extra cash from them ) and met a guy who said he had a disk wiping boot CD that only takes seconds to clear the data. He claimed that it was a 'corporate' standard package that they use where he works was guaranteed to wipe all data...

    ...so I took a copy back to our school and tried it on a spare drive...as he said it booted and announced the disk was wiped in about 30 seconds!...

    ...but, a few minutes work with UBCD and a recovery tool and I had restored all the data...so the school don't use that method any more!

    [edit] Oh and BTW I too am much too much of a tightwad to destroy working HDs of any decent size...at the very least I put them in a cheap enclosure and use them as USB drives...
    Last edited by CESIL; 27th April 2012 at 11:11 AM.

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    Information Commissioner's report on unscrubbed hard drives

    Just for information, heard about this on the radio this week. The Information Commissioner is concerned about the trade in old hard drives, and how careless folks are about their data on said old drives. There is also a link to their guide to removing data.

    People becoming a soft touch for fraudsters

    Erasing Your Hard Drive and Deleting Your Data - ICO
    Last edited by Andie; 27th April 2012 at 12:48 PM.

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    One thing the ICO do not mention is that from Windows Vista onwards, a full format will overwrite your HDD with zeros.

    Quote Originally Posted by Microsoft
    The format command behavior has changed in Windows Vista. By default in Windows Vista, the format command writes zeros to the whole disk when a full format is performed. In Windows XP and in earlier versions of the Windows operating system, the format command does not write zeros to the whole disk when a full format is performed. (Source)
    Quote Originally Posted by ICO
    A reformat is not sufficient to securely delete data because the data can be easily recovered using freely available software.

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    Also worth reading...

    Overwriting Hard Drive Data: The Great Wiping Controversy (PDF)

    The purpose of this paper was a categorical settlement to the controversy surrounding the misconceptions involving the belief that data can be recovered following a wipe procedure. This study has demonstrated that correctly wiped data cannot reasonably be retrieved even if it is of a small size or found only over small parts of the hard drive. Not even with the use of a MFM or other known methods. The belief that a tool can be developed to retrieve gigabytes or terabytes of information from a wiped drive is in error.

    Although there is a good chance of recovery for any individual bit from a drive, the chances of recovery of any amount of data from a drive using an electron microscope are negligible. Even speculating on the possible recovery of an old drive, there is no likelihood that any data would be recoverable from the drive. The forensic recovery of data using electron microscopy is infeasible. This was true both on old drives and has become more difficult over time. Further, there is a need for the data to have been written and then wiped on a raw unused drive for there to be any hope of any level of recovery even at the bit level, which does not reflect real situations. It is unlikely that a recovered drive will have not been used for a period of time and the interaction of defragmentation, file copies and general use that overwrites data areas negates any chance of data recovery. The fallacy that data can be forensically recovered using an electron microscope or related means needs to be put to rest.

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    laserblazer (29th April 2012)

  11. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur View Post
    I read this and other papers like it when I was looking at erasing disks...it was one of those papers that led me to using HDDerase...

    I had already wondered for some time whether recovery of wiped data was as easy as Hollywood makes it seem...

    ...mind you maybe it is as easy as Hollywood portrays it, to access every CCTV camera and phone line and I am wrong

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    Zero the drive and then destroy it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CESIL View Post
    I had already wondered for some time whether recovery of wiped data was as easy as Hollywood makes it seem
    Hollywood makes everything look easy! Cracking AES-256 encryption can be done in a few minutes on a standard PC and they can make badly pixelated images crystal clear again.

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    it takes too long to re-write data multiple times on a large disk using software methods if you have a lot of disks to do.
    hammers and nails are just dangerous.
    fast and safest method is a pillar drill with eye protection and a dust mask.
    If anyone is going to the lengths of using any type of electron microscope to recover data after that they are welcome to it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mehmet View Post
    Zero the drive and then destroy it.
    Why destroy a drive that may have a good home in Africa or a low cost caddy? As Arthur said in his post, the chances of anyone extracting meaningful data from a wiped drive is negligible. Let's look at two scenarios:

    1. Someone finds a drive in a wastebin, sticks it their computer and unearths a letter from the HT to Mrs Smith telling her that little Johnny is a PITA. The Mail on Sunday gets hold of it and it's a big story and the HT is in a spot of bother.

    2. A drive is wiped and sent to a registered disposal company. It finds it way under an elecron microspcope and, defying the laws of physics, the letter to Mrs Smith is extracted. The Mail on Sunday gets hold of the story and in an interview Mrs Smith admits that everyone who knows Johnny is already aware that he is a little ****. The school took what they considered to be the right procedures and cannot be held responsible.

    I reckon the risk of getting a broken drill or a shard of pcb in your eye is a lot greater.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Abe View Post
    We either PXE boot into DBAN
    How do you manage this? We use the CD booting for dban (great software btw) but would be handy to PXE as well!

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    Quote Originally Posted by dgsmith View Post
    How do you manage this? We use the CD booting for dban (great software btw) but would be handy to PXE as well!
    its a linux distro, you can pxe boot any linux: DBAN with PXE boot

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