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Information Security vs Business question here:

IT department asks me for a way to securely remove data from a hard drive because they want to sell old hardware.

I suggest DBAN as a secure wipe tool.

Problem: DBAN will remove every partition / hard drive it comes across including the recovery partition.

Question: is there a way to remove data from the "work" partition in a secure way while keeping the recovery partition?

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  • Alright, so I don't know whether this would work- so don't do it- but... Open question to the room: Would something along the lines of dd if=/dev/urandom of=/dev/sda1 cut it, provided /dev/sda is the primary drive, /dev/sda1 is the primary partition, and /dev/sda2 is the recovery partition? Or is that not how that works? Commented Jan 26, 2016 at 18:25
  • I'm relatively certain that dban can wipe individual partitions. The autonuke feature deletes the whole disk, but I believe you can configure it to only delete the partitions you like. Commented Jan 26, 2016 at 18:44
  • @SteveSether can you name the option specifically, because I am not familiar with this option, as far as I know DBAN does not offer partition wipe Commented Jan 26, 2016 at 22:01
  • @ParthianShot apparently that should be quite secure, see superuser.com/questions/118439/… Commented Jan 26, 2016 at 22:05
  • @user3244085 Well, sure. I'm just not sure whether it would corrupt the partition table or something awful like that. He wants the recovery partition to remain bootable. Commented Jan 27, 2016 at 0:35

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Disks do not always map a logical address to the same physical location, especially SSDs. When a remap has happened, the physical location with data may not even be accessible to user programs like DBAN. Specialised make/model-specific tool will be required and they most often can only do full wipes.

So the only real safe solution is to clone the recovery parition to a new drive and destroy the old one. Of course whether you do this depends on how sensitive/valuable the data is and what kind of potential threats you want to defend against.

A more economical workaround is to clone the recovery parition (and partition table/MBR) to another media, fully wipe the original using the correct tool and clone the partition back.

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