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Secure Hard Disk Disk Erase
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Old 01-05-2012, 11:07   #1
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Secure Hard Disk Disk Erase

I have a number of old work PCs (Pentium 4 so yes really old) and server that before they can be recycled, dumped, etc, for data protection I need to ensure the hard drives cannot be read. Short of taking a sledgehammer to the drives, I'm looking at eraser software. I have no budget so it needs to be open source.

I'm currently trying Darik's Boot and Nuke, which was only a few MB in size and easy to download and burn onto a disk. But for even only an 80GB drive, it's going to take around 2 hours to do it's standard single round 3 passes of whatever it's doing.

So, the questions:

Is this the "best" programme, or are there others I could try?

Am I being paranoid, given that some of these PCs and especially the server held accounting and customer data that is subject to DPA? Is the use of this type of software adequate, over the top, or insufficient?
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Old 01-05-2012, 11:09   #2
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Re: Secure Hard Disk Disk Erase

Take the hard discs apart and wipe a strong magnet over the drive platters, and throw them out. Then recycle the PCs.
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Old 01-05-2012, 11:31   #3
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Re: Secure Hard Disk Disk Erase

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Originally Posted by GavChap View Post
Take the hard discs apart and wipe a strong magnet over the drive platters, and throw them out. Then recycle the PCs.
Quicker just to take a sledgehammer to them surely?
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Old 01-05-2012, 11:51   #4
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Re: Secure Hard Disk Disk Erase

Yes, but a sledgehammer doesn't erase the data, and may not do more than dent the platters unless they're glass platters.
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Old 01-05-2012, 11:59   #5
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Re: Secure Hard Disk Disk Erase

do you realise how strong the magnet needs to be to do that??

you could zero the drive there are loads of programs that do it but it takes ages and a forensic could still retrieve data

If its really critical strip the drives and smash the platters
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Old 01-05-2012, 12:03   #6
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Re: Secure Hard Disk Disk Erase

You'd need a really strong magnet yes, something like off a large subwoofer. You might in fact be better off getting someone like Shred-IT to come take them away and pulverise them, it depends how much you want that data destroyed. But you said you have no budget.
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Old 01-05-2012, 12:08   #7
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Re: Secure Hard Disk Disk Erase

you are kidding me right? we are talking industrial electro magnetic fields.

---------- Post added at 12:08 ---------- Previous post was at 12:04 ----------

http://www.pcworld.com/article/11657..._pc_myths.html

have a little read of this and its not the techguys pcworld its something else

DBAN will zero the drive fine only someone loaded or a computer forensic examiner will retrieve anything after. Remember it takes ages
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Old 01-05-2012, 12:13   #8
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Re: Secure Hard Disk Disk Erase

I stand corrected. Just destroy them with extreme prejudice.
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Old 01-05-2012, 12:13   #9
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Re: Secure Hard Disk Disk Erase

Quote:
Originally Posted by tizmeinnit View Post
you are kidding me right? we are talking industrial electro magnetic fields.

---------- Post added at 12:08 ---------- Previous post was at 12:04 ----------

http://www.pcworld.com/article/11657..._pc_myths.html

have a little read of this and its not the techguys pcworld its something else

DBAN will zero the drive fine only someone loaded or a computer forensic examiner will retrieve anything after. Remember it takes ages
I agree best to do it properly and not use a magnet, use the right software or if you have to take it apart and destroy the platters.
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Old 01-05-2012, 12:22   #10
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Re: Secure Hard Disk Disk Erase

An iron magnet won't do sod all as the poles won't fully change the data to a point it can;t be easily recovered..

Now a strong AC magnet will do the trick and that's what's used by the larger companies that need their data removed before disposal.. You could just take out the platters and microwave them though you also need a cup of water inside the MW and you will get some sparks
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Old 01-05-2012, 12:30   #11
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Re: Secure Hard Disk Disk Erase

Not sure that the office health and safety policies will go for that one
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Old 01-05-2012, 12:49   #12
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Re: Secure Hard Disk Disk Erase

The safest option is to remove and destroy the drives. Then dispose of the PCs without drives.
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Old 01-05-2012, 12:51   #13
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Re: Secure Hard Disk Disk Erase

I have the same problem and was thinking of just smashing them up with an sds drill, club hammer or something but I think I'll take the opportunity to see what's inside and then use the platters as target practice for my trusty Theoben SLR98.
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Old 01-05-2012, 13:28   #14
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Re: Secure Hard Disk Disk Erase

DBAN is, to be honest, what I consider to be an industry standard. It's fast, reliable, simple, and flexible.

The speed bottleneck is usually the drive itself, so no other software is going to do the same thing faster. Note also, that you don't *need* to do 3 passes if you don't want to, a single pass is obviously 3 times faster - DBAN is fully configurable so you can do as many passes as you want.

In my opinion 1 single pass is perfectly sufficient. The cost of hardware and expertise required to recover data even from a single pass is immense, and beyond that of even most professional data recovery companies. Multiple passes (i.e. 3-7) are pretty much overkill barring top secret government data (there is a reason for the DoD approved 3/7 pass routines - they are officially sanctioned for top-secret government data) - but what's a few hours of leaving a computer in a rack somewhere and ignoring it?

So to cut it short - 3 passes (the default with DBAN) - perfectly adequate. Any more is over the top, less may be adequate in practice, but may not be legally.
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Old 01-05-2012, 14:09   #15
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Re: Secure Hard Disk Disk Erase

good job they released the info about Guttman being way to much though isnt it :-) 35 passes of a 2TB drive now that would take a lifetime
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