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Old 10-03-2013, 12:18
Musicman103
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If I haven't got fancy software to do this, will it suffice for me to just fill them with some random rubbish, because the previous data will be unrecoverable?
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Old 10-03-2013, 12:26
spanglerokapi
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Format it!
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Old 10-03-2013, 12:29
mac2708
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Evidently(?) this should erase everything
http://www.roadkil.net/program.php/P14/Disk%20Wipe
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Old 10-03-2013, 12:43
robertcrowther
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A format does not erase the data. :P
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Old 10-03-2013, 13:25
Maxatoria
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do "format x: /P:256" at least for win 7 as it will overwrite each sector with zero's 256 times (change 256 to your level of paranoia)

obviously in an administrator command prompt
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Old 10-03-2013, 13:53
flagpole
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A format does not erase the data. :P
Yeah it does.

A quick format only erases the headers. but a full format will erase everything.
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Old 10-03-2013, 16:22
chenks
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Yeah it does.

A quick format only erases the headers. but a full format will erase everything.
data can be easily recovered after such a format.
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Old 10-03-2013, 16:34
Maxatoria
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a quick format just rewrites the file allocation tables and other such goodies like the root directory but doesn't touch the actual data, all it does is just make everything marked as if theres nothing on the drive after checking its formatted properly (hang over from floppy disk days) and i can remember some formatting tools in the olden days slapping the to be formatted allocation tables etc to a safe part of the disk so if you had that OH!!! moment you could quickly just put everything right

but unformatting becomes a lot more complex the longer you leave it as you start to overwrite folders etc leaving you only having to be able to do a brute force check to see if theres anything to recover but the program has to be able to just read a bit stream and work out where files start/stop possibly over many fragments and it aint easy
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Old 10-03-2013, 17:12
alanwarwic
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Your 'random rubbish' trick works fine.

Unlike hard disks you can't spend £20,000 getting a specialist to use super magnets to read any very faint magnetic signal left.
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Old 10-03-2013, 17:30
flagpole
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data can be easily recovered after such a format.
balls
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Old 10-03-2013, 22:48
chenks
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you think?

i've done it many times at work. it's time consuming but possible.

also, so you think a format of the HDD is enough to scupper the police in specific circumstances?
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Old 10-03-2013, 22:51
alanwarwic
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Off the top of my head the full format used to read data and mark anything unreadable as bad.
It never actually erased. Full erase is always another full write.
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Old 10-03-2013, 22:57
Orbitalzone
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Well assuming a 'full format' is what Windows can do, as opposed to 'quick format' then I'd have to agree with Chenks, freely available software can recover much data after a full format.

I've fully formatted drives and then used Recover My Files or Recuva and they've had no problems finding a lot of data that was formatted.

If there's another way to format however I'm happy to be corrected.
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Old 10-03-2013, 23:13
curiousclive
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Could use Ccleaner after full format the over write the free space that is now available to be written to. You can set how many times it overwrites if paranoid.
(go to tools and select wipe disk then select in the drop box which drive to wipe and how many passes. Will take a long time though.)
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Old 10-03-2013, 23:23
flagpole
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You can not recover data after a full pass zero wipe. Nobody can.
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Old 11-03-2013, 00:07
robertcrowther
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You can not recover data after a full pass zero wipe. Nobody can.
I'm sure all the data recovery experts would disagree with you on that one.
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Old 11-03-2013, 00:28
flagpole
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I'm sure all the data recovery experts would disagree with you on that one.
How sure are you?

The whole thing comes from a paper written by Peter Gutmann which has been widely discredited. Nonetheless the rumours still persist.

Does it not strike you as odd that there is not one private company that claims to be able to recover data from a single pass zero wipe?
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Old 11-03-2013, 01:34
d'@ve
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How sure are you?

The whole thing comes from a paper written by Peter Gutmann which has been widely discredited. Nonetheless the rumours still persist.

Does it not strike you as odd that there is not one private company that claims to be able to recover data from a single pass zero wipe?
These people can:

http://static.usenix.org/events/fast...papers/Wei.pdf

Reliably Erasing Data From Flash-Based Solid State Drives

Abstract

Reliably erasing data from storage media (sanitizing the
media) is a critical component of secure data management.
While sanitizing entire disks and individual files is
well-understood for hard drives, flash-based solid state
disks have a very different internal architecture, so it
is unclear whether hard drive techniques will work for
SSDs as well.

We empirically evaluate the effectiveness of hard
drive-oriented techniques and of the SSDs’ built-in sanitization
commands by extracting raw data from the
SSD’s flash chips after applying these techniques and
commands. Our results lead to three conclusions:

First, built-in commands are effective, but manufacturers
sometimes implement them incorrectly. Second,
overwriting the entire visible address space of an SSD
twice is usually, but not always, sufficient to sanitize the
drive.
Third, none of the existing hard drive-oriented
techniques for individual file sanitization are effective on
SSDs.
There's an interesting discussion on Bruce Schneier's blog about the problems of secure data wiping on solid state drives: http://www.schneier.com/blog/archive...g_data_fr.html

It seems that you cannot with certainty wipe individual files at all on an SSD, if you use standard hard drive software. You cannot always trust built-in manufacturer's commands. You must wipe the entire solid state drive bit-by-bit twice to "usually" (so not always!) prevent data recovery. Or just use a hammer.
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Old 11-03-2013, 01:41
gemma-the-husky
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if you are completely paranoid, then get a large text file, and just keep copying this to fill the disk.

surely that works.
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Old 11-03-2013, 03:37
Loobster
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you think?

i've done it many times at work. it's time consuming but possible.

also, so you think a format of the HDD is enough to scupper the police in specific circumstances?
No, you haven't. At least not drives FULL formatted with Windows Vista or later. Such a format writes zeros to the drive.

And it doesn't matter who they are, they aren't recovering any data that's worth anything.
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Old 11-03-2013, 03:39
Loobster
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Off the top of my head the full format used to read data and mark anything unreadable as bad.
It never actually erased. Full erase is always another full write.
Old information, Alan.

Vista or later writes zeros to the drive during a full format.
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Old 11-03-2013, 06:14
robertcrowther
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How sure are you?
I'm very sure, I've seen it been done in legal cases.
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Old 11-03-2013, 09:56
flagpole
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I'm very sure, I've seen it been done in legal cases.
Oh in legal cases. right.

sure you've seen data recovered. but how can you possibly know what technique was used to erase it in the first place?
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Old 11-03-2013, 13:00
robertcrowther
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Oh in legal cases. right.

sure you've seen data recovered. but how can you possibly know what technique was used to erase it in the first place?
All types or erasing data leaves a fingerprint.
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Old 11-03-2013, 13:11
flagpole
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All types or erasing data leaves a fingerprint.
what do you mean a fingerprint? the discussion is beyond the anecdotal and in to the technical.

that a zero'd drive is not identical to another zero'd drive is neither here nor there. it's can data be recovered.
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