Disk Wiping Utilities: How to Get Rid of Your Data Permanently
On one sunny summer day, Mr. and Mrs. Smith (Those 2 characters are completely fictional and are in no way related to anyone) decided that they'd had enough with their old, sluggish computer and wanted to get a brand new one. After doing a traditional format, Mr. Smith decided to put up the system for sale on ebay and prayed that they would get a good bid for it. 2 days later, a guy named John Doe offered a decent amount for the system, so Mr. Smith immediately sent it to him via an interstate courier. Everyone was happy. Mr. Smith received some good money for his old piece of crap, and Mr. Doe had a new computer to play with. Two months later, while having dinner with his wife, Mr. Smith received a phone call from one of his friends telling him that pictures of him dressed up as a baby and wearing a diaper were being circulated on the web. Our poor friend was furious! He thought that by formatting his drive, he could then prevent anyone from recovering data from it, but guess what? He was wrong! Recovering files from a formatted drive is easy when using the right tools, so you have to take extra steps if you want to to make sure that the information on your disk gets deleted permanently. There are many solutions on the web that can help you do this, and fortunately, a lot of them are free!
Here are 3 of the most popular ones:
All these utilities are self-contained boot floppies that will help you securely erase data from any hard drive using one or more of the following wiping techniques (Via the Wipe Page):
- Quick Erase: Fills hard drive with 0's
- Gutmann: 27 random-order passes using specific data combined with eight passes using random data.Due to changes in the different data encoding schemes now used by modern hard drives, Gutmann no longer recommends 35 passes. A few random passes should suffice.
- American DoD 5220-22.M: A seven-pass wipe using random characters, complements of characters, and random data streams.
- Canadian RCMP TSSIT OPS-II: 8 drive-wiping passes with a random byte in the overwrite sequence changed each time.
- PRNG Stream methods: Overwrites the drive with a stream from a Pseudo Random Number Generator (PRNG)
Here's how to use them:
1- Create the boot disk via the provided setup file and use it to boot your computer
2- Select the disk to wipe
3- Observe the process while laughing maniacly (Optional)
That's all there is to it folks. Happy disk wiping everyone!
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