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I applaud @LieRyan's answer of never putting sensitive information on a hard drive in plaintext in the first place. Writing straight to an encrypted file, or better using full-disk encryption are far more reliable than shredding. In addition, I want to add a few notes about modern hard drives being clever: 1. The idea of overwriting the data 16 times is ...


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The most secure way to do this is to not have the unencrypted file on persistent storage in the first place. Pipe the unencrypted data directly to your encryption program directly from whatever program that generated/downloaded the data. You'll also need to take care that you use the OS API to mark your memory area as non-swappable (e.g. with mlock on ...


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"Shred" the file. Are several way to do that for different operating systems, but the most simple one is to open the file and write random values over the real data, several times, and after that you can delete it. Take a quick look here, is not necessary to create a uniform pattern, but is just an example: http://www.cplusplus.com/forum/beginner/23237/ ...



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