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Questions tagged [deletion]

Secure deletion of data.

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25 votes
5 answers
14k 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 ...
0 votes
0 answers
38 views

Is it possible to completely delete information from a smartphone? [duplicate]

Information deleted from a smartphone can be restored using special software and equipment, even if the phone was previously reset to factory settings. As a rule, security forces have this type. Is ...
1 vote
2 answers
301 views

Data remanence - DDR2

I read "Data Remanence in Semiconductor Devices" by Peter Gutmann, in which it is stated that it is possible to reconstruct the content of an erased SRAM based on changes of properties of ...
3 votes
2 answers
2k views

Parted Magic Secure Erase Verification Level

I've been experimenting with the latest Parted Magic Secure Erase to wipe HDDs and SSDs. After the Secure Erase completes, I noticed in the logs that the verification level is 10%. Excerpt from the ...
0 votes
1 answer
104 views

Factory reset of OpenWrt router, are my sensitive config files really not recoverable after command "firstboot"?

I would like to give away an old OpenWrt router. I have done the following. firstboot -y && reboot /dev/ubi0_1 is mounted as /overlay, only erasing files Connection to 192.168.55.12 closed by ...
4 votes
1 answer
1k views

Howto restore factory default state of an USB pen drive?

The proper way to secure erase a SSD is to issue the SECURITY ERASE UNIT command. Then the SSD controller should send a BLOCK ERASE command to all physical blocks. One caveat: the SSD has to be ...
1 vote
1 answer
157 views

Reliably destroy all information on magnetic disk through digital medium

In a scenario where a person wants to give away their device (magnetic disk included), leaving the disk usable for the receiver, how might that person go about destroying ALL data (except firmware) on ...
0 votes
0 answers
22 views

How to wipe SSD [duplicate]

I would like to know how to wipe a SSD securely to remove virus malware and all data on it in a way that it could be reusable and can be used again.
3 votes
2 answers
285 views

I plan on giving away old computers : to protect my personal data, is it enough to remove the hard drives?

I have a desktop from ~2009 and a laptop from 2014 (Samsung NP700Z7C) that I'd like to give away so people can reuse parts if they wish to. However, I don't want to take any risks regarding personal ...
3 votes
2 answers
5k views

ATA Secure Erase is too fast

I have two SSDs in my laptop. one is SATA 500GB and the other is M.2 SATA 250 GB. I used the following steps for both to securly erase them so that I can sell the laptop: unfreeze the drives: sudo ...
11 votes
1 answer
4k views

Should a secure ATA erase be performed on a non-SSD drive?

When running the command hdparm -I /dev/sda the following output is generated. ATA device, with non-removable media Model Number: WDC WD10JPVX-75JC3T0 Serial ...
1 vote
2 answers
2k views

What is encryption key reset and why it is safer than zero-write?

I am about to return my ThinkPad laptop to my (former) employer. I found a very nice solution to erase / protect my private data -- ThinkWipe application in ThinkPad's BIOS. I made use of it right ...
1 vote
0 answers
111 views

Can an email trace be maliciously removed by an admin on a default Outlook setup?

I'm doing some research into email servers and how they work. There is a function in Outlook 365 where an admin can perform several traces on emails for the past 90 days. For example, an 'enhanced ...
0 votes
1 answer
143 views

Is the information from SD card still recoverable if I use full format (uncheck quick format) in Windows?

I need to wipe SD card so that information from it is not recoverable. If I perform full format in Windows by unchecking the "Quick Format" check box and format SD card that way is the ...
0 votes
0 answers
123 views

Will a buyer be able to restore my personal data from my iPhone? [duplicate]

I want to sell my iPhone but it has lots of personal data on it. Apple suggests to Erase All Content and Settings before selling an iPhone. Is this enough to reliably delete all data or will it be ...
47 votes
3 answers
87k 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 ...
3 votes
3 answers
14k views

How secure is Secure Erase option in BIOS?

I have been exploring data security lately and came across HDD data recovery. I now know that a format simply deletes the "pointers" to files and directories and that data is still there. The only way ...
1 vote
0 answers
188 views

Is filling the internal storage of an Android device using `dd` sufficient for data removal?

I have a rooted phone I'm willing to sell, but I had Personally Identifiable Information (PII) on it and I am questioning whether filling the internal storage with null bytes using dd would be ...
8 votes
1 answer
2k views

Cases where DBAN has won

Are there any real life cases where software such as DBAN (to securely erase disks) has beaten government/law enforcement agencies? I found this online which lists each time encryption has beaten ...
33 votes
7 answers
60k 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 ...
1 vote
2 answers
5k views

Does certutil -delkey actually delete the certificate and private key?

I am trying to delete a certificate and it's private key using certutil -csp "Microsoft Enhanced Cryptographic Provider v1.0" -delkey "the key container". This gave me a command ...
13 votes
4 answers
5k views

How can data from VirtualBox leak to the host and how to avoid it?

I used a virtual machine (Windows host/Linux mint guest) to store some very sensitive and private data (it shouldn't be uncovered by state-level actors). Today I decided to check how much deleted ...
4 votes
2 answers
29k views

How to securely erase the free space on an SSD in windows 10?

I would like to wipe ALL free space on my SSD which Windows 10 is installed on, so that no previously deleted file can be recovered. How can I achieve this?
1 vote
2 answers
8k views

Signal — Can message previews of the messages you send be disabled in the chats’ list of your addressee?

Premise Signal is armed with measures to instil a sense of privacy in users by preventing undisclosed screenshotting and screencasting message threads, and by enabling the sender to set their text, ...
0 votes
1 answer
1k views

Can a deleted file on an SSD with trim enabled be recovered? [duplicate]

I'm just wondering from a security stand point if a deleted file on an SSD with trim enabled can be recovered? I've did some research and it would seem it is impossible unless for some reason trim ...
15 votes
2 answers
8k views

Erased encrypted HDD, then secure erased 10% of it before selling it - is it safe?

I have a 4TB mechanical hard drive that was encrypted before I ever wrote any file on it. I used a 25 character password with symbols. Before I sold it, I unmounted the disk while it was still ...
0 votes
2 answers
136 views

How can you securely destroy data permanently and completely? [duplicate]

I have some extremely sensitive data on a computer, hard drive, and on a private server. I do not care about cost or method, as I have a lot of funds (though not unlimited) and I do not want to go ...
1 vote
2 answers
214 views

What ways other than password and authorized SSH key are there to log in to a Linux system?

When deleting a user on a Linux system, if you lock their password and kill all their processes, a logged in user disconnects and can't log in with his password anymore. But if they still have an ...
-1 votes
1 answer
141 views

How to wipe out data on a USB drive that is faulty, so that data can't be recovered?

I have several faulty USB drives and I like to return these to the vendor to get my money back - but without the vendor being able to access any data which might be still on the drives Problem is, the ...
1 vote
1 answer
264 views

Can SD cards on mobile phones and tablets truly be erased?

When performing a factory reset on Android devices, it is my understanding that the pointers to the data located in the SD card are simply erased while the data itself remains intact, waiting for ...
0 votes
1 answer
777 views

How to prevent the recovery of deleted files without a full format of external HDD?

How can I securely delete selected files so they can’t be recovered, but without the full format of the external HDD? Is this even possible? I’m using Mac OS.
-1 votes
1 answer
269 views

Can ransomware impact SSD drives?

I was watching this DefCon talking about Solid State Drives (SSDs) destroying forensic and data recovery jobs. It was interesting to note, that the speaker did acknowledge that it is unknown how long ...
2 votes
1 answer
2k views

ThinkShield secure wipe - SSD does it forbid data recovering?

I have to give my computer back to my boss. I want to delete all the data from my SSD. I found "ThinkShield secure wipe" which is implemented in the BIOS apparently. It gives me two options: ...
1 vote
3 answers
1k views

Can encrypted and deleted files be recovered?

If you’ve watched the news, you know that Secret Service text messages were deleted. Now they’re trying to recover them. If those text messages were encrypted before deletion, and the key was also ...
1 vote
0 answers
37 views

Full disk encryption and data recovery capabilities [duplicate]

So I had linux mint with fde, had sensitive files on it, shut down my pc, and reinstalled a new linux mint OS with fde. What are the chances of data recovery from the first OS?
0 votes
1 answer
237 views

Preventing data remanence at filesystem / OS level

We all know that deleting a file from your computer does not really erase it, but only marks as free the memory where the file was written, so that, until such memory is not overwritten, the file can ...
1 vote
0 answers
29 views

Safest way to wipe sensitive information off company phone before giving it away [duplicate]

We have a lot of devices in my company that we use to test and after some years some of them become unsupported. We are thinking about selling some of the ones that are not used any more but worry ...
0 votes
3 answers
722 views

How file deletion works?

If deleting files just removes the references then why not just delete the actual files instead of just removing the references? Just removing the references leaves the file intact until it is ...
2 votes
2 answers
415 views

Fetching GPG private key from Linux server to decrypt files on a Win 10 computer in production

I have a need to fetch automatically the GPG private key from a Linux server to decrypt files on a Windows 10 computer in production. There are a few challenges here: How to assure SCP from the ...
106 votes
4 answers
77k 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?
90 votes
1 answer
20k 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 ...
2 votes
2 answers
3k 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 ...
1 vote
2 answers
152 views

If we open a file using a program, but then later securely delete that file, is it possible for that file to be recovered via that program?

Or I open a video using vlc media player, and later delete it securely. Does vlc "retain" some of the parts of that video even after deletion?
2 votes
2 answers
453 views

Are deleted offline calendar events in Android actually deleted?

When an Android app deletes a calendar event in a local (offline / non-synced) calendar, does Android's Calendar Storage (com.android.providers.calendar) actually delete the event or does it just flag ...
0 votes
2 answers
358 views

How do I delete files securely? [duplicate]

I'm trying to make an app that can encrypt files and decrypt them on demand(for educational purposes) I need a way to: delete the file from where it was before delete the file each time the app ...
0 votes
4 answers
531 views

How to make an undeletable, hidden file, which persists after formatting an SD card?

My SD card was stolen some weeks ago. I can't know which SD card is mine, because the thief formatted it. As such, I bought a new one. In order to prevent such situations in the future, I thought of ...
1 vote
1 answer
185 views

Log4shell - Should affected servers be "nuked from the orbit"?

Considering how log4shell seems trivial to exploit and the important control level it gives to an attacker, should we wipe everything affected and start over? For example, we find out that a publicly ...
29 votes
5 answers
5k views

Does the destruction of sensitive information limit the choice of hard drives to non-flash based devices?

Working with a non-profit organization,it's common to reuse hard drives that have previously stored highly sensitive information such as medical and financial records. This is primarily driven by cost-...
0 votes
2 answers
874 views

What happens to apps, files, objects in a VM if it gets deleted

Usually, when a file is deleted on your computer, it is simply unlinked. The file data is still stored on your disk, there's just nothing pointing to that spot in the memory, and the OS interprets ...
0 votes
0 answers
251 views

Encrypting file = Overwriting file?

When thinking of encrypting a file (also how I implemented it in a program of mine), I think of getting the data of a file, encrypting it, and writing it back into the file (overwriting the file). But ...

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