Securely wipe out data from a hard drive

Securely wipe out data from a hard drive

It is important to understand that deleting a file from a hard drive does not delete the data but only its reference on the disk. To make sure that the data associated with a file cannot be recovered, one needs to write random data in place of the old file.

This is the same with hard drives. Moreover, formating a hard drive does not mean that the data that used to be on the disk cannot be recovered.

To make sure that the data is not recoverable, we will use a tool called shred. This will write random bits 3 times over all the blocks available. To do so, you will need to get a Linux Live CD (I have downloaded a version of Ubuntu). Then:

sudo su //become root on Ubuntu Live CD

You then have to find the partition you want to format with:

fdisl -l

You then have to type:

shred -vfz -n 10 [partition]
  • -v: show progress
  • -f: change permissions to allow writing if necessary
  • -z: add a final overwrite with zeros to hide shredding

I have taken most of the information from howtoforge.com.


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