OT: Can Reformatting A Hard Drive To ext3 Destroy All the Data On It?

Markus Kesaromous remotestar at live.com
Wed Jun 10 03:05:26 UTC 2009

Would using a powerful magnet also work?? :)

> From: ehemdal at townisp.com
> To: fedora-list at redhat.com
> Date: Tue, 9 Jun 2009 22:58:05 -0400
> Subject: Re: OT: Can Reformatting A Hard Drive To ext3 Destroy All the Data On It?
> > Robert L Cochran wrote:
> >> I have a hard drive that I need to destroy the data on. What is the most
> >> dependable way to do this? Can reformatting the drive as ext3 or ext4 or
> >> some other filesystem effectively destroy the existing data?
> >>
> >> Is there free software that can write zeroes or some form of nonsense to
> >> every storage location?
> >
> >
> > Overwriting the disc, even several times, is not enough to guarantee
> > that the data _cannot_ be recovered. If you truly need to make the
> > data unrecoverable, then a hammer is all that's needed. To be truly
> > sure, open the case (also requires a screwdriver or nutdriver),
> > and shatter each disc separately. They are usually ceramic these
> > days, I think. Anyway, physical destruction is the only real guarantee.
> >
> > Mike
> Much depends on how "destroyed" your data needs to be. You can certainly
> write zeros to a drive
> dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/hda #or whatever device is your drive
> does the trick. But if you have any special partitions for diagnostics, a
> "recovery image", or you just have some space on the drive that can't be
> reached then this won't really destroy everything. Some drives have
> reserved areas that aren't accessible through normal OS means.
> There are programs like Darik's Boot and Nuke (dban.org) that claim to
> destroy data by various means. I don't know if they can clean
> manufacturer's reserved areas on the drive.
> If you have very sensitive data, then as Mike posted, shatter the drive.
> Break it so that no piece of the disk is larger than one disk sector,
> otherwise a piece might have a cleanly recoverable chunk of data on it.
> This link might help:
> http://www.stanford.edu/group/security/securecomputing/data_destruction_guidelines.html
> I know that there are a number of commercial services that offer to destroy
> disks, recycle what can be recovered, and provide you evidence of "observed
> destruction", although I don't have much experience with them.
> Erik
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