Questions tagged [deletion]

Secure deletion of data.

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88
votes
7answers
31k views

How can I reliably erase all information on a hard drive?

As storage technologies change over time, using different encodings and remappings to deal with sector errors, the best way to permanently erase/wipe/shred data changes also. Methods for flash drives ...
91
votes
4answers
59k views

Why is writing zeros (or random data) over a hard drive multiple times better than just doing it once?

Lots of different programs, such as Darik's Boot and Nuke, let you write over a hard drive multiple times under the guise of it being more secure than just doing it once. Why?
55
votes
6answers
133k views

Can wiped SSD data be recovered?

I was reading another post on destroying IDE drives, and how you could remove data, wipe it, or just destroy the drive. The removed data would still be there in some state, although not easily ...
66
votes
3answers
31k views

Is it enough to only wipe a flash drive once?

According to the documentation for the "diskscrb" command for wiping conventional hard drives: http://www.forensics-intl.com/diskscrb.html "Conforms to and exceeds the Government Standard set forth ...
8
votes
3answers
4k views

How can files be deleted in a HIPAA-compliant way?

Any material I've come up with for data destruction standards relate to completely wiping (ATA Secure Erase) and physically destroying hard drives, but I haven't been able to find much about standards ...
29
votes
2answers
48k views

What is the difference between ATA Secure Erase and Security Erase? How can I ensure they worked?

I'd like to wipe a stack of drives (spinning and SSD) securely. I'm familiar with the ATA Secure Erase (SE) command via hdparm, but I'm not sure if I should use the Security Erase (SE+) command ...
19
votes
11answers
29k views

I'm leaving my job and want to erase as many personal details etc. as possible; any tips?

Obviously this is very open-ended. But, I'm just paranoid about people going through everything on my laptop after I leave my job. Here are the things I'm planning to do: Completely wipe all browser ...
87
votes
11answers
20k views

Why didn't OSes securely delete files right from the beginning? And why do they still not do this?

After decades of hearing that "delete" does not really make the data impossible to recover, I have to ask WHY the OS was not corrected long ago to do what it should have been doing all along? What is ...
23
votes
3answers
7k views

To what extent does formatting a disk (securely) remove its data?

If the goal is to make data no longer retrievable, how secure is it to format the disk? I assumed formatting the disk overwrites free space (thus making it a safe bet no one's going to be able to ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

How to erase as much as possible an SSD without ATA Secure Erase?

The question is almost completely answered. However, more details are still needed. See Update 2 down here. I've learnt that the ATA Secure Erase is uncorrectly implemented in SSDs (sources are down ...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

Magnet to wipe HDD [duplicate]

This question is for HDD, not SDD. Would a Neodymium magnet like this one be strong enough to wipe the contents of a hard disk drive? How long would such an act take to destroy any data so it's not ...
6
votes
4answers
1k views

What's a good secure file deleter

I've used cipher \w which is built into Windows to overwrite free space but I'm looking for a tool that securely deletes files which have not been deleted yet. It would be a plus (but certainly not ...
7
votes
2answers
4k views

ATA security erase on SSD

Is it possible to recovery data from SSD, that was secure erased (https://ata.wiki.kernel.org/index.php/ATA_Secure_Erase), by IT or professional data recovery company? Does this type of erasing reduce ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

Is data-remanence a concern in RAM?

I know data-remanence is a concern on hard drives, but is it a concern on RAM? For example, once a program completes, is its data still available on RAM, just as data on a hard drive remains after ...
6
votes
8answers
13k views

Overwriting hard drive to securely delete a file?

I am working on a computer that I am not allowed to install new software on. It does not have secure delete software installed. Suppose I have a file (or files) that are sensitive that I'd like to ...
4
votes
1answer
3k views

Does the ATA Trim command irrecoverably delete data on an SSD?

I occasionally see people reference the difficulty of deleting data from an Solid State Disk. Because of the nature of SSDs (wear leveling, etc), simply writing to the same sector of the disk doesn't ...
4
votes
3answers
401 views

Safely remove original file after encryption

My application encrypts a file, and the result is written to a different one. How do I safely remove the original one (C++)? Update. Wow! The problem is more complicated than I thought of it... 1) ...
88
votes
1answer
16k views

Wiping an SSD with Parted Magic seemed too quick

I'm selling a computer with an SSD (it's a Lenovo ThinkPad Carbon X1). I wiped the drive using Parted Magic. I used the ATA method. I'm not sure what that is but it was the only setting available. It ...
21
votes
7answers
38k views

How do I securely erase USB flash drives?

I would like to know if there is a way to securely erase USB flash drives without a chance to recover data from it once it has been erased. I know, that programms like DBAN can be used to securely ...
20
votes
4answers
6k views

Why is writing zeros (or random data) over a hard drive used when writing all ones is more beneficial? [duplicate]

As far as I know, in order to securely delete the hard drive's contents, one should fill it with zeroes or, for added security and harder recoverability, random data first and then all zeroes. In ...
17
votes
2answers
3k views

Secure wiping of EEPROM and flash memory

Older magnetic storage exhibited some data remanence, so a recommendation emerged to wipe data by overwriting it multiple times with varying patterns — the “Gutmann wipe”. More recent hard disk ...
5
votes
2answers
19k views

Does microwaving a hard drive erase it?

Kind of a silly question, but I'm genuinely curious: (in part because I recently saw several questions that refer to "nuking" a hard drive...) what would a microwave DO to an HDD? Would it erase data ...
2
votes
1answer
6k views

What method of secure erase is sufficient for MacBook Pro SSD Drives? [duplicate]

I would like to securely erase the hard drive of a SSD in a MacBook Pro. The Disk Utility does not give me the option to wipe this drive even when I boot into the System Partition. (it is greyed out)...
1
vote
2answers
7k views

What is the difference between wiping vs deleting? [duplicate]

I was reading about the Mask malware on Kaspersky. And they mentioned this: “Several reasons make us believe this could be a nation-state sponsored campaign. First of all, we observed a very high ...
2
votes
2answers
2k views

Deleted files and their traces

Lets say we delete various files , from hard disk A, with shift - delete , windows 8 . Then we copy new files to the same hard disk A. Then those new files we just copied there to hard disk A, we ...
8
votes
2answers
662 views

Are there any filesystems that have secure deletion as a feature?

There's many 3rd party tools people have designed to perform secure deletion, but I don't know of any filesystems where secure deletion is built in. In fact, secure deletion has to work around ...
12
votes
2answers
1k views

Ensure data doesn't linger after being deleted

I'm trying to make a service that keeps as little data on its users as possible. To that end, I want to make sure that someone using forensic tools won't gain any more information than I would by ...
13
votes
3answers
3k views

Why are drives overwritten three times when being disposed of? [duplicate]

I am looking at the secure disposal of old flash drives, and one of the standards I have come across says that they should be overwritten three times. Why is one time not enough? I assume doing the ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

Securely decommissioning a dedicated server

One of my dedicated hosting CentOS servers hit 12 years. I received an end-of-life notice on it, and I started receiving SMART errors as well. I guess it's time to let it go. But before I do, I'd like ...
1
vote
4answers
4k views

How to secure delete inside a virtual machine?

Here is a tricky one: Can you securely delete a file from a VM? I'm sure the answer is dependent on a million different variables, and I'm sure the answer is something like "not really" but I want ...
21
votes
1answer
2k views

I forgot to shred a file before deleting it (on Windows). How do I shred that part of file system now where the file was located?

My company has a policy that files have to be shredded after they've been read. They provide with a tool shred.exe that I run on the file and it overwrites it with garbage in the file system before ...
6
votes
1answer
497 views

Method for securely removing files from a solid state drive

I've thought of a method for securely erasing single files on a solid state drive. This method will work only if the drive is encrypted, and it will work even if someone cracks the encryption key for ...
4
votes
1answer
570 views

What can be recovered? Securely deleted files

I’ve recently got into a little trouble and need advice. It seems I may have inadvertently downloaded a illegal file from a p2p network (along with 100’s of other legal files). I was certainly not ...
3
votes
1answer
909 views

Tools for Verifying Secure Deletion [closed]

It is recommended to verify the zeroing-out was done properly when you try to secure delete a HDD. From this post, some drives with firmware bugs prevent secure erase from working properly. What are ...
2
votes
4answers
5k views

Writing file shredder

I want to write a simple file shredder in c++, i.e. a program that deletes a file so that it is not recoverable. Would the following be a secure and correct way to do that? (1) Open the file with ...
2
votes
2answers
2k views

Can a full SSD or HDD recover deleted data?

I've always been curious. It may be a stupid question but what if you deleted a file then filled up the SSD or HDD. Could your deleted data be recovered or is it physically impossible? I know Windows ...
0
votes
2answers
227 views

Is there a portable memory device with an offline erase technique? (such as an erase switch?)

I know about the USB devices that have a write protection switch that disables writing on the device side, are there devices that have a similar hardware switch that permanently erases the devices ...
6
votes
3answers
281 views

Disk Erasing Security - Odd Number of Writes

As one can find in the Disk Utility/Erase/Security Options section, there are two options for erasing disks securely - zero out 7 times or zero out 35 times. Where these numbers come from?
6
votes
8answers
569 views

A computing environment that saves no data

I want to use a laptop which doesn’t save any data, history, passwords anywhere in it. All state information should be destroyed once it is turned off or rebooted, without removing my ability to use ...
4
votes
5answers
5k views

Is running an erase tool after an OS install sufficient to ensure no data from the old install is recoverable?

How secure do you consider this process? A drive has data from a previous OS installation. A new OS installation is made on the drive, and Heidi Eraser is run on free space. What are the chances of ...
3
votes
2answers
416 views

Secure file deletion vs wiping free space

Say I only wanted to delete specific files and want to feel confident they can't be recovered. Is it better to use a specific program (such as Eraser) for wiping only the files, or is it better to ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

How secure is the windows Cipher command?

So in windows CMD, there is the Cipher.exe Command Line tool. Supposedly it will allow you to fully overwrite empty disk space with 0x00 and 0xFF. (with the /w parameter) There is some further ...
2
votes
5answers
6k views

Prove that you deleted the file

Is it possible to prove a date that you Deleted a file through the recycle bin? I delete a folder of pictures 2 months ago and somebody is asking to prove that I did it.