People and organizations dispose of their computers including the Hard drives when no more needed or considering that they are obsolete. The media such as hard drives, USB etc when disposed of may contain confidential information vital to you or your organization. Deleting files or formatting the drive may not help you in permanently deleting information from you drives. For this purpose, you need to perform secure deleting of your files or drive.There are other mechanisms for secure disposal of media such as degaussing, pulverising, shredding etc…
Various compliance requirements are emphasizing the importance of the use of data wipe software for secure disposal of hard drives and USBs. Data security mandates such as ISO 27001, ISO 15408, PCI DSS, HIPAA, SOX and European Union Directives require secure data removal. When you delete a file in your hard drive, only the references are getting deleted not the file. This leads to the need of deleting these files permanently. The best way to do that is by overwriting the file which will result in making the data unrecoverable.
It is often discussed as to how many times you need to overwrite to wipe the data completely. With the modern hard disks, one overwriting is good enough to clear up the data. However, many others have difference of opinion such as 3 passes or 7 passes are required to clear it up.
Here is a list of disk wiping software you may use. Some of them are DOD-compliant
DBAN is a self-contained boot disk that automatically and completely deletes the contents of any hard disk that it can detect. It is a means of ensuring due diligence in computer recycling, a way of preventing identity theft if you want to sell a computer, and a solution to totally clean a Microsoft Windows installation of viruses and spyware. DBAN prevents or thoroughly hinders all known techniques of hard disk forensic analysis.
It does not provide support for secure wiping of files and folders nor it has support for RAID installations
DBAN is Free software and is released under GNU General Public License.
Eraser is an advanced security tool for Windows which allows you to completely remove sensitive data from your hard drive by overwriting it several times with carefully selected patterns. Eraser is currently supported under Windows XP (with Service Pack 3), Windows Server 2003 (with Service Pack 2), Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2.
Eraser is Free software and its source code is released under GNU General Public License.
HDDerase is a data erasure utility from Center for Magnetic Recording Research of University of California. The last update of this utility dates to 2008; however, it is still usable. This tools helps you clean the hard disk completely. No capability for the secure deletion of individual files
KillDisk is hard drive and partition eraser utility. It helps you to destroy all data on hard disks, USB drives and floppy disks completely, excluding any possibility of future recovery of deleted files and folders
It has both free and paid (from $39.95) versions, where paid versions provides compliance with various regulatory requirements.
Jetico offers two different commercial products. First product, BCWipe, which can be used for securely erasing files and folders. It allows you to permanently erase selected files remotely, wipe free space, wipe selected files and folders, wipe temporary files, wipe system-specific data and more. The other product is BCWipe Total WipeOut, which helps you to erase entire hard drives for disposal or decommission.
CyberCide is another software with the data erasure capabilities. It is a commercial software with license costs starts at $29.95
Data erasure softwares are key for the success of any disposla of media strategies. Using the right tools, you will be able to ensure the right compliance required by the regulations.
What are the tools you would be using for secure data wipe?