How secure are disk erase programs ?

Discussion in 'Computer Security' started by Fred Mau, Sep 19, 2004.

  1. Fred Mau

    Fred Mau Guest

    How secure are the drive manufacturer's disk erase programs, such as
    Maxtor's MAXBLAST or IBM/Hitachi's DFT program ?

    Yeah I know, places like the FBI or NSA's forensics labs with unlimited
    budget and time could probably recover ANYTHING if they wanted to - But
    short of places like that, are these programs "good enough" for the average
    user ? I'm thinking of donating and/or selling some disks that are still
    perfectly usable but have had things like Quicken files on them, I want to
    make any personal data unrecoverable without physically destroying the
    drives.

    - FM -
     
    Fred Mau, Sep 19, 2004
    #1
    1. Advertising

  2. Fred Mau

    Karlsen Guest

    "Fred Mau" <> wrote in
    news:ysa3d.68981$MQ5.38379@attbi_s52:

    > How secure are the drive manufacturer's disk erase programs, such as
    > Maxtor's MAXBLAST or IBM/Hitachi's DFT program ?
    >
    > Yeah I know, places like the FBI or NSA's forensics labs with
    > unlimited budget and time could probably recover ANYTHING if they
    > wanted to - But short of places like that, are these programs "good
    > enough" for the average user ? I'm thinking of donating and/or selling
    > some disks that are still perfectly usable but have had things like
    > Quicken files on them, I want to make any personal data unrecoverable
    > without physically destroying the drives.
    >
    > - FM -
    >
    >
    >


    Try this....

    Active KillDisk Professional.

    Active@ KILLDISK has several methods for data destruction that conform
    to
    US Department of Defense clearing and sanitizing standard DoD 5220.22-M,
    German VSITR, Russian GOST p50739-95.

    More sophisticated methods like Gutmann's or User Defined methods are
    available as well. You can be sure that once you wipe a disk with
    Active@ KILLDISK, sensitive information is destroyed forever.
    Active@ KILLDISK is a quality security application that destroys data
    permanently
    from any computer that can be started using a DOS floppy disk. Access to
    the
    drive's data is made on the physical level via the Basic Input-Output
    Subsystem (BIOS), bypassing the operating systems logical drive
    structure
    organization. Regardless of the operating system, file systems or type
    of
    machine, this utility can destroy all data on all storage devices. Thus
    it
    does not matter operating systems and file systems located on the
    machine,
    it can be DOS, Windows 95/98/ME, Windows NT/2000/XP, Linux, Unix for PC.


    Erase methods

    Erase method allows to define security level or cleaning standard for
    the
    following erase operation.

    It is one of:
    - One pass zeros: 1 pass, quick, low security
    - One pass random: 1 pass, quick, low security
    - US DoD 5220.22-M: 3 passes, slow, high security
    - German VSITR: 7 passes, slow, high security
    - Russian GOST p50739-95: 5 passes, slow, high security
    - Gutmann: 35 passes, very slow, highest security
    - User Defined: You can specify number of passes (random)
    1 to 99


    --
    Karlsen.
     
    Karlsen, Sep 19, 2004
    #2
    1. Advertising

  3. DoD 5220.22-M was superceded in 2001 in the latest NISPOM.

    Dave




    "Karlsen" <> wrote in message news:Xns95696C90944A7xxcom@130.133.1.4...
    | "Fred Mau" <> wrote in
    | news:ysa3d.68981$MQ5.38379@attbi_s52:
    |
    | > How secure are the drive manufacturer's disk erase programs, such as
    | > Maxtor's MAXBLAST or IBM/Hitachi's DFT program ?
    | >
    | > Yeah I know, places like the FBI or NSA's forensics labs with
    | > unlimited budget and time could probably recover ANYTHING if they
    | > wanted to - But short of places like that, are these programs "good
    | > enough" for the average user ? I'm thinking of donating and/or selling
    | > some disks that are still perfectly usable but have had things like
    | > Quicken files on them, I want to make any personal data unrecoverable
    | > without physically destroying the drives.
    | >
    | > - FM -
    | >
    | >
    | >
    |
    | Try this....
    |
    | Active KillDisk Professional.
    |
    | Active@ KILLDISK has several methods for data destruction that conform
    | to
    | US Department of Defense clearing and sanitizing standard DoD 5220.22-M,
    | German VSITR, Russian GOST p50739-95.
    |
    | More sophisticated methods like Gutmann's or User Defined methods are
    | available as well. You can be sure that once you wipe a disk with
    | Active@ KILLDISK, sensitive information is destroyed forever.
    | Active@ KILLDISK is a quality security application that destroys data
    | permanently
    | from any computer that can be started using a DOS floppy disk. Access to
    | the
    | drive's data is made on the physical level via the Basic Input-Output
    | Subsystem (BIOS), bypassing the operating systems logical drive
    | structure
    | organization. Regardless of the operating system, file systems or type
    | of
    | machine, this utility can destroy all data on all storage devices. Thus
    | it
    | does not matter operating systems and file systems located on the
    | machine,
    | it can be DOS, Windows 95/98/ME, Windows NT/2000/XP, Linux, Unix for PC.
    |
    |
    | Erase methods
    |
    | Erase method allows to define security level or cleaning standard for
    | the
    | following erase operation.
    |
    | It is one of:
    | - One pass zeros: 1 pass, quick, low security
    | - One pass random: 1 pass, quick, low security
    | - US DoD 5220.22-M: 3 passes, slow, high security
    | - German VSITR: 7 passes, slow, high security
    | - Russian GOST p50739-95: 5 passes, slow, high security
    | - Gutmann: 35 passes, very slow, highest security
    | - User Defined: You can specify number of passes (random)
    | 1 to 99
    |
    |
    | --
    | Karlsen.
    |
     
    David H. Lipman, Sep 19, 2004
    #3
  4. Fred Mau

    Vanguardx Guest

    "Karlsen" <>
    wrote in news:Xns95696C90944A7xxcom@130.133.1.4:
    > "Fred Mau" <> wrote in
    > news:ysa3d.68981$MQ5.38379@attbi_s52:
    >
    >> How secure are the drive manufacturer's disk erase programs, such as
    >> Maxtor's MAXBLAST or IBM/Hitachi's DFT program ?
    >>
    >> Yeah I know, places like the FBI or NSA's forensics labs with
    >> unlimited budget and time could probably recover ANYTHING if they
    >> wanted to - But short of places like that, are these programs "good
    >> enough" for the average user ? I'm thinking of donating and/or
    >> selling some disks that are still perfectly usable but have had
    >> things like Quicken files on them, I want to make any personal data
    >> unrecoverable without physically destroying the drives.
    >>
    >> - FM -
    >>
    >>
    >>

    >
    > Try this....
    >
    > Active KillDisk Professional.
    >
    > Active@ KILLDISK has several methods for data destruction that conform
    > to
    > US Department of Defense clearing and sanitizing standard DoD
    > 5220.22-M, German VSITR, Russian GOST p50739-95.
    >
    > More sophisticated methods like Gutmann's or User Defined methods are
    > available as well. You can be sure that once you wipe a disk with
    > Active@ KILLDISK, sensitive information is destroyed forever.
    > Active@ KILLDISK is a quality security application that destroys data
    > permanently
    > from any computer that can be started using a DOS floppy disk. Access
    > to the
    > drive's data is made on the physical level via the Basic Input-Output
    > Subsystem (BIOS), bypassing the operating systems logical drive
    > structure
    > organization. Regardless of the operating system, file systems or type
    > of
    > machine, this utility can destroy all data on all storage devices.
    > Thus it
    > does not matter operating systems and file systems located on the
    > machine,
    > it can be DOS, Windows 95/98/ME, Windows NT/2000/XP, Linux, Unix for
    > PC.
    >
    >
    > Erase methods
    >
    > Erase method allows to define security level or cleaning standard for
    > the
    > following erase operation.
    >
    > It is one of:
    > - One pass zeros: 1 pass, quick, low security
    > - One pass random: 1 pass, quick, low security
    > - US DoD 5220.22-M: 3 passes, slow, high security
    > - German VSITR: 7 passes, slow, high security
    > - Russian GOST p50739-95: 5 passes, slow, high security
    > - Gutmann: 35 passes, very slow, highest security
    > - User Defined: You can specify number of passes (random)
    > 1 to 99


    Some of the erasing methods listed by Karlsen are not available in the
    free version, like Gutmann. Eraser (http://www.heidi.ie/eraser/)
    includes Gutmann, and is free. Eraser does not include the German and
    Russion methods listed for Killdisk. The one-pass write zeroes/ones can
    be easily defined in Eraser as a user-defined method (but I haven't of
    anyone bothering with those methods). Both Killdisk and Eraser can run
    from a DOS bootable floppy.

    Killdisk appears more oriented towards wiping a disk whereas Eraser is
    oriented toward files due to its integration into Windows (erase Recycle
    Bin rather than just empty it, integration into Explorer, scheduling,
    works on networked drives, erase just the unused space in a partition),
    but it can wipe partitions and disks, too.

    Both Killdisk and Eraser look like they will do what the OP wants. The
    OP might also be interested in the Ultimate Bootable CD
    (http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/). It has lots of utilities that are
    handy and the CD is bootable (so the BIOS has to support booting from
    the CD drive). It includes the freebie version of Killdisk and also the
    Darik Boot and Nuke (which is what Eraser uses).

    --
    _________________________________________________________________
    ******** Post replies to newsgroup - Share with others ********
    Email: lh_811newsATyahooDOTcom and append "=NEWS=" to Subject.
    _________________________________________________________________
     
    Vanguardx, Sep 19, 2004
    #4
  5. Fred Mau

    Eric Guest

    There are some evidence eraser software, such as cyberscrub, can complete
    erase and wipe all the confidence data.
    http://www.xstudio.ca/pcsupport/security/privacyprotection.html

    Use any data recovery progrm to see if your deleted file is still there.
    http://www.xstudio.ca/pcsupport/system/datarecovery.html



    "Karlsen" <> wrote in message
    news:Xns95696C90944A7xxcom@130.133.1.4...
    > "Fred Mau" <> wrote in
    > news:ysa3d.68981$MQ5.38379@attbi_s52:
    >
    > > How secure are the drive manufacturer's disk erase programs, such as
    > > Maxtor's MAXBLAST or IBM/Hitachi's DFT program ?
    > >
    > > Yeah I know, places like the FBI or NSA's forensics labs with
    > > unlimited budget and time could probably recover ANYTHING if they
    > > wanted to - But short of places like that, are these programs "good
    > > enough" for the average user ? I'm thinking of donating and/or selling
    > > some disks that are still perfectly usable but have had things like
    > > Quicken files on them, I want to make any personal data unrecoverable
    > > without physically destroying the drives.
    > >
    > > - FM -
    > >
    > >
    > >

    >
    > Try this....
    >
    > Active KillDisk Professional.
    >
    > Active@ KILLDISK has several methods for data destruction that conform
    > to
    > US Department of Defense clearing and sanitizing standard DoD 5220.22-M,
    > German VSITR, Russian GOST p50739-95.
    >
    > More sophisticated methods like Gutmann's or User Defined methods are
    > available as well. You can be sure that once you wipe a disk with
    > Active@ KILLDISK, sensitive information is destroyed forever.
    > Active@ KILLDISK is a quality security application that destroys data
    > permanently
    > from any computer that can be started using a DOS floppy disk. Access to
    > the
    > drive's data is made on the physical level via the Basic Input-Output
    > Subsystem (BIOS), bypassing the operating systems logical drive
    > structure
    > organization. Regardless of the operating system, file systems or type
    > of
    > machine, this utility can destroy all data on all storage devices. Thus
    > it
    > does not matter operating systems and file systems located on the
    > machine,
    > it can be DOS, Windows 95/98/ME, Windows NT/2000/XP, Linux, Unix for PC.
    >
    >
    > Erase methods
    >
    > Erase method allows to define security level or cleaning standard for
    > the
    > following erase operation.
    >
    > It is one of:
    > - One pass zeros: 1 pass, quick, low security
    > - One pass random: 1 pass, quick, low security
    > - US DoD 5220.22-M: 3 passes, slow, high security
    > - German VSITR: 7 passes, slow, high security
    > - Russian GOST p50739-95: 5 passes, slow, high security
    > - Gutmann: 35 passes, very slow, highest security
    > - User Defined: You can specify number of passes (random)
    > 1 to 99
    >
    >
    > --
    > Karlsen.
    >
     
    Eric, Sep 20, 2004
    #5
  6. Fred Mau

    Anonymous Guest

    "Eric" <> wrote in news:deF3d.22924$RTE1.18080
    @news01.bloor.is.net.cable.rogers.com:

    > There are some evidence eraser software, such as cyberscrub, can complete
    > erase and wipe all the confidence data.
    > http://www.xstudio.ca/pcsupport/security/privacyprotection.html
    >
    > Use any data recovery progrm to see if your deleted file is still there.
    > http://www.xstudio.ca/pcsupport/system/datarecovery.html
    >
    >


    CyberScrub is way too buggy. It crashes whenever you right click on files
    to erase them, and when it wipes the slack space it BSOD's!

    --
    The email address used is fake. Any replies will not be read!
    If you want to reply, reply to the newsgroup instead.

    This message and any attachments have been scanned for viruses by NOD32 and
    Sophos Anti-Virus so is unlikely to contain malicious or self-replicating
    code.

    Visit my computer security website!
    http://storm.prohosting.com/compsecu
    and
    http://privacy-protection.no-ip.com
     
    Anonymous, Sep 22, 2004
    #6
  7. "Fred Mau" <> wrote in
    news:ysa3d.68981$MQ5.38379@attbi_s52:

    > How secure are the drive manufacturer's disk erase programs, such as
    > Maxtor's MAXBLAST or IBM/Hitachi's DFT program ?
    >
    > Yeah I know, places like the FBI or NSA's forensics labs with
    > unlimited budget and time could probably recover ANYTHING if they
    > wanted to - But short of places like that, are these programs "good
    > enough" for the average user ? I'm thinking of donating and/or selling
    > some disks that are still perfectly usable but have had things like
    > Quicken files on them, I want to make any personal data unrecoverable
    > without physically destroying the drives.
    >
    > - FM -




    If you are using WinXP Pro. you can also use cipher /w:directory. Cipher
    use three passes to delete data.

    SV
     
    Stig Vidar Hovland, Sep 22, 2004
    #7
  8. Fred Mau

    TheGoGuy Guest

    What is everyone opinion on McAfee's Schredder? also set on 21 swipes ?

    Stig Vidar Hovland wrote:

    > "Fred Mau" <> wrote in
    > news:ysa3d.68981$MQ5.38379@attbi_s52:
    >
    >
    >>How secure are the drive manufacturer's disk erase programs, such as
    >>Maxtor's MAXBLAST or IBM/Hitachi's DFT program ?
    >>
    >>Yeah I know, places like the FBI or NSA's forensics labs with
    >>unlimited budget and time could probably recover ANYTHING if they
    >>wanted to - But short of places like that, are these programs "good
    >>enough" for the average user ? I'm thinking of donating and/or selling
    >>some disks that are still perfectly usable but have had things like
    >>Quicken files on them, I want to make any personal data unrecoverable
    >>without physically destroying the drives.
    >>
    >> - FM -

    >
    >
    >
    >
    > If you are using WinXP Pro. you can also use cipher /w:directory. Cipher
    > use three passes to delete data.
    >
    > SV
     
    TheGoGuy, Oct 4, 2004
    #8
  9. Fred Mau

    Moe Trin Guest

    In article <UYc8d.66774$He1.29208@attbi_s01>, TheGoGuy wrote:
    >What is everyone opinion on McAfee's Schredder? also set on 21 swipes ?


    What is your threat model? Who are you trying to prevent from seeing
    the files? Are you worried about Mommy finding those pr0n downloads,
    or do you have the secret formula for WhoCares-Cola? Is it the account
    numbers and passwords for the bank in the Bahamas where you've stashed
    your proceeds from selling nuclear secrets to Bolivia?

    >>>Yeah I know, places like the FBI or NSA's forensics labs with
    >>>unlimited budget and time could probably recover ANYTHING if they
    >>>wanted to - But short of places like that, are these programs "good
    >>>enough" for the average user ?


    Doesn't require an unlimited budget, but it is expensive. If that is not
    your worry, then using an application that overwrites the _disk_ several
    times is usually enough. Trying to overwrite a single _file_ is more
    difficult because of disk caching - you might overwrite the cache 10 or
    100 times, but only the last write makes it to the disk. For that, you'd
    need to overwrite the file, then do something else that fills/empties the
    cache, with OTHER files, and repeat that until you are happy that the
    file is overwritten. Don't forget to overwrite unused space that could
    have held a O/S swap file that occurs in normal operation.

    If you are worried about something like the FBI or NSA's forensics labs,
    then you need to physically destroy the platters. NOTHING ELSE WILL DO.
    Spending five minutes on google would have supplied you with enough
    reading material on this subject to keep you occupied for the next ten
    years.

    Old guy
     
    Moe Trin, Oct 6, 2004
    #9
  10. Fred Mau

    TheGoGuy Guest

    Hehe, not quite, more the threat level of normal paranoia.
    But yes, you make a good point.

    Moe Trin wrote:
    > In article <UYc8d.66774$He1.29208@attbi_s01>, TheGoGuy wrote:
    >
    >>What is everyone opinion on McAfee's Schredder? also set on 21 swipes ?

    >
    >
    > What is your threat model? Who are you trying to prevent from seeing
    > the files? Are you worried about Mommy finding those pr0n downloads,
    > or do you have the secret formula for WhoCares-Cola? Is it the account
    > numbers and passwords for the bank in the Bahamas where you've stashed
    > your proceeds from selling nuclear secrets to Bolivia?
    >
    >
    >>>>Yeah I know, places like the FBI or NSA's forensics labs with
    >>>>unlimited budget and time could probably recover ANYTHING if they
    >>>>wanted to - But short of places like that, are these programs "good
    >>>>enough" for the average user ?

    >
    >
    > Doesn't require an unlimited budget, but it is expensive. If that is not
    > your worry, then using an application that overwrites the _disk_ several
    > times is usually enough. Trying to overwrite a single _file_ is more
    > difficult because of disk caching - you might overwrite the cache 10 or
    > 100 times, but only the last write makes it to the disk. For that, you'd
    > need to overwrite the file, then do something else that fills/empties the
    > cache, with OTHER files, and repeat that until you are happy that the
    > file is overwritten. Don't forget to overwrite unused space that could
    > have held a O/S swap file that occurs in normal operation.
    >
    > If you are worried about something like the FBI or NSA's forensics labs,
    > then you need to physically destroy the platters. NOTHING ELSE WILL DO.
    > Spending five minutes on google would have supplied you with enough
    > reading material on this subject to keep you occupied for the next ten
    > years.
    >
    > Old guy
     
    TheGoGuy, Oct 8, 2004
    #10
  11. Fred Mau

    Moe Trin Guest

    In article <Vhv9d.211667$D%.75609@attbi_s51>, TheGoGuy wrote:
    >Hehe, not quite, more the threat level of normal paranoia.
    >But yes, you make a good point.


    If all you are worried about is some person who will be using some
    software - such as a disk editor - to find stuff on the hard drive,
    virtually any application that overwrites "deleted" files. and the
    "unused" space at the end of each file is probably enough. Whether
    the disk space is actually overwritten once, or a hundred times
    makes little difference. To "get around" that kind of wiping,
    someone is going to have to gain physical access to the hard drive
    and modify the electronics. A data recovery service like Ontrack
    should be able to do this for a significant fee. See www.ontrack.com/

    If that doesn't recover the data, then it's clean room time, vid a
    much more difficult (read expen$ive) job. A disk recovery service
    _MIGHT_ be able to do this - but now we''re getting into forensics.
    See http://www.cs.auckland.ac.nz/~pgut001/pubs/secure_del.html which
    is the classic paper on this problem.

    There are several ways to _AVOID_ the problem. The first. and cheapest
    way is to simply not put "sensitive" data on the computer in the first
    place.

    If you must put the data onto the computer (doesn't matter if it's on
    the hard disk, or a floppy), know that the data MAY have been written
    to a disk swap file. Consult the documentation of your operating system
    (not everyone uses windoze) and the applications. Some have ways of
    disabling swap (also known as "virtual memory"). If you can't control
    this, or are unable to determine this is a problem, assume that this
    data has been stashed to disk, and act accordingly.

    If you can disable swap, and must use the computer, use a disk
    encryption program, AND KEEP THE PASSWORD/KEYS ELSEWHERE. It's a
    total waste of time/effort if you encrypt the file/disk/whatever,
    and tell the computer to remember your password and automatically
    decrypt the data when needed. You might think this is insane, but
    the world is full of fools who do this. If you use a strong (which
    means something that has been "peer reviewed" - ruling out anything
    that comes from Microsoft), you are going to make it much more
    difficult for the competitors who steal your laptop that has the
    secret formula for FooBar Cola. But remember this .sig:

    The two most common things in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity.
    -- Harlan Ellison

    Old guy
     
    Moe Trin, Oct 8, 2004
    #11
  12. Fred Mau

    Guest

    On Tue, 05 Oct 2004 19:13:10 -0500,
    (Moe Trin) wrote:


    >...
    >If you are worried about something like the FBI or NSA's forensics labs,
    >then you need to physically destroy the platters. NOTHING ELSE WILL DO.
    >Spending five minutes on google would have supplied you with enough
    >reading material on this subject to keep you occupied for the next ten
    >years.
    >
    > Old guy



    If you're worried about FBI or NSA, you should change your way of
    living.

    PS what did the OJ Simpson trial teach us about the FBI labs ?

    It doesn't matter what's on your hard drive ;)
     
    , Oct 9, 2004
    #12
  13. Fred Mau

    Moe Trin Guest

    In article <>,
    wrote:
    >If you're worried about FBI or NSA, you should change your way of
    >living.


    or your country of residence - frequently.

    >PS what did the OJ Simpson trial teach us about the FBI labs ?


    Nothing. The only thing the Simpson trial showed was that a good
    (though expensive) legal team can beat an incompetent prosecution
    team and slip-shod police work. That's been well known for over a
    hundred years.

    >It doesn't matter what's on your hard drive ;)


    If you are gaining the attention of FBI labs, would _you_ like
    to try to beat the odds? Or would you prefer to own the dice?

    Old guy
     
    Moe Trin, Oct 9, 2004
    #13
  14. I thought the OJ Simpson trial proved the QC feedback loop works. The live feed of video
    cause feedback to the trial and altered the trial's outcome. I believe in a well informed
    citizenry however not everything needs to be known/seen in real-time. The trial should have
    been video taped and upon the conclusion of the trial the public could view the tapes.

    Dave



    "Moe Trin" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    | In article <>,
    | wrote:
    | >If you're worried about FBI or NSA, you should change your way of
    | >living.
    |
    | or your country of residence - frequently.
    |
    | >PS what did the OJ Simpson trial teach us about the FBI labs ?
    |
    | Nothing. The only thing the Simpson trial showed was that a good
    | (though expensive) legal team can beat an incompetent prosecution
    | team and slip-shod police work. That's been well known for over a
    | hundred years.
    |
    | >It doesn't matter what's on your hard drive ;)
    |
    | If you are gaining the attention of FBI labs, would _you_ like
    | to try to beat the odds? Or would you prefer to own the dice?
    |
    | Old guy
     
    David H. Lipman, Oct 9, 2004
    #14
  15. Fred Mau

    Al Smith Guest

    > If you're worried about FBI or NSA, you should change your way of
    > living.
    >
    > PS what did the OJ Simpson trial teach us about the FBI labs ?
    >
    > It doesn't matter what's on your hard drive ;)


    The O. J. Simpson trial taught us that no matter how plain the
    facts are, and how impossible it is to deny them, nothing can
    penetrate a combination of prejudice and stupidity.
     
    Al Smith, Oct 9, 2004
    #15
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