Disk and File Erasure
Options for erasing disks and wiping files.
This article applies to: Security Essentials for IT Professionals
The following utilities meet industry best practices for data sanitization on common read/write media including:
- Hard disks
- Floppy disks
- USB drives
How to use DBAN
|Y||N||Y||Y||Floppy or CD bootable x86 system|
|Disk Utility (OSX native)||Y||Y||N||Y||N|
|Wipe/Shred (Linux native)||Y||Y||N||N||Common Linux distributions|
File Erasure Features in Applications
The following features included in application software meet industry best practices for data sanitization in individual files.
|Spider 2008||Secure Erase||Y||N||N|
- For Drives That Will Be Reused: Wiebetech Drive eraser (http://weibetech.com/products/Drive_eRazer.php): Able to rapidly erase PATA/SATA hard drives using either multi-pass overwrite or the ATA-6 secure erase command. This device is for small to medium volume sanitization of operational drives.
- For Drives That Will Not Be Reused: Where drive use is not possible or not desirable, magnetic media should be degaussed or mechanically shredded. The no-fee campus R5 service will pick up your drives and securely dispose of them.
Note about solid state devices: USB thumb drives, compact flash, MMC/SD, and the like are unreliable in the face of disk wiping protocols. Multi-pass wiping is not technically relevant for solid-state devices. More importantly, solid-state storage has a very limited number of read/write cycles and is designed with considerable surplus. This surplus storage is used to relocate data away from failing data segments. Wipe utilities cannot guarantee that all originally allocated blocks have been wiped. Further, they cannot insure new data is properly committed to the device. If disposal is the ultimate goal, physical destruction is strongly recommended.