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Is Writing Over A Hard Drive 7 Times Enough?

Is Writing Over A Hard Drive 7 Times Enough?

Postby mnemonicj » Mon Jun 01, 2009 12:26 am

Has anyone seen the news lately about used hard drives with confidential data on them?

The Register: Missile data, medical records found on discarded hard disks

I was wondering if using a hard drive eraser program is enough. I am trying out a program that erases files by writing over them 7 times. I hope it is enough for almost any person that would get a hold of my hard drive after I have discarded them.

I have discarded two hard drives before and one of them worries me. The hard drive crashed, but I could still read most of the data on the drive. I was required by Dell to send it to them because they replaced it under warranty. I am willing to bet they tested the drive, confirmed it was bad, and tossed it in the trash. The other drive I am not so worried about because when it failed, it was part of a RAID 0, so it only contains half of the data in small stripes.

Right now, I have three hard drives that I am not using, 20GB, 40GB, and an 80GB. Since they have been boxed up for awhile, I am going to erase them now so that way I don't accidentally throw them away with confidential data on them.
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Re: Is Writing Over A Hard Drive 7 Times Enough?

Postby Grav!ty » Mon Jun 01, 2009 1:01 am

I think zeroing the drives is probably better or is that effectively what you are doing? You should be able to find software to do that from the drive manufacturer's site.
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Re: Is Writing Over A Hard Drive 7 Times Enough?

Postby imnuts » Mon Jun 01, 2009 1:19 am

DBAN is what I think the US government uses, and from the homepage, Canada as well, and it looks like the DoD for the US uses up to 7 passes to completely wipe out data, possibly less. If you really want to scrub a drive and have some time to kill, I'd recommend it as it works.
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Re: Is Writing Over A Hard Drive 7 Times Enough?

Postby mnemonicj » Mon Jun 01, 2009 1:27 am

I had a chance to research it a little more and the program I am using uses the Department of Defense's method where pseudorandom data is written over the data on the hard drive 7 times. Once, or even three times, may be enough, but if it is good enough for the DoD, it works for me.

This is what I would really like: Hard drive shredder

I have some old SCSI drives that I used on my server, a couple 9.1GB, a couple 18.6GB, and one of the 18.6GB is a full-sized 3.5" hard drive (about 2" thick!). There are some places that you can send the hard drive to have them shredded. I will consider it for my SCSI drives because I don't want to have to take apart my server just to erase my old SCSI drives.
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