Typically when I encounter ransomware/cryptoware on a device I will fully wipe the drive(s) with at least one pass using a utility such as DBAN. I sometimes wonder if I am overestimating the potential of the malware (ex: rebuilding itself)

Is doing an offline full format of a drive just as effective as a full disk wipe would be in completely nuking a compromised device?


Your disk wipe can be a useless/waste of time if no-one tries to recover those previously deleted files from that drive. In which case, a normal deletion of all partitions and formatting is all that's needed


It can be a good safety measure if you know that at a point someone will try to use recovery tools to recover deleted files from the drive.

This is actually about if you want to prevent infected files from being recovered or not.


Adding to the accepted answer, wiping definitely prevents the operation of "unformatting" programs (or the FBI) who can recreate some or all of what was on the disk before formatting.

Wiping takes a lot of time. But I do know of some geek-fanatics who wipe their free space periodically, as a matter of course. Disks are not going to wear out from this any more than they would from defragmenting, but I would not make either one a daily practice.

As for full-disk wiping, I wouldn't bother unless I was selling my computer and just didn't want fragments of my email all over the disk.

Your question mentions ransomware. If my computer were to be hit with Ransomware I would just laugh and do a full-system restore. It would start by recreating the partitions (including formatting) and rewriting my files as they were before the problem hit. I use Acronis TrueImage for this, and have tested restores many times so I have full confidence that it works fine.

Anything else left over from before would still be on the disk, but wouldn't be considered anything but free space after the restore, so it can't hurt anything.

Especially if ransomware has encrypted it. In that case you can consider their encryption the equivalent of wiping with random numbers.

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