Apr 25, 2007

Don't forget to wipe...

...You're hard drive that is.

You may have heard that when you delete a file on your computer, that the file isn't really gone. That is true, it isn't gone. The actual file is still sitting there waiting for someone with the right utilities (See my post about the Ultimate Boot CD) to find it and recover it. For some of you, this is a good thing. How many times have you right clicked a file trying to rename it or create a shortcut to it and accidentally hit delete?

For the rest of the people out there, with more sensitive information, or just plain files they shouldn't have, doing a simple delete just isn't secure enough. Even emptying the recycle bin every once in a while won't do the trick.

So what are you supposed to do when you really want to make sure that the data is gone and not recoverable? I mean, can't the FBI, The CIA and the NSA get it anyway?

Good question, that is actually still up for debate. I mean, they really aren't going to tell you what they can and can't do right? That just wouldn't be good "G-Man" business, and I also think it violates the first rule of spy club. "You do not talk about spy club!"

Anyway, back on topic... I also mentioned in my post about the Ultimate Boot CD (Seriously, it is a really awesome utility), that there is software on it that will wipe your entire drive. That is great and all, but what if you still want to use your computer, and don't want to have to re-install windows and all of your applications all over one illegal MP3?

No problem! Enter ERASER! Eraser is an Open Source, SECURE wiping utility, which has a number of methods to wipe that include the Gutmann method, and others recommended by none other that the US Department of Defense. You can also create your own method, using pseudo random data, or your personal combination of ones and zero's.

Eraser also gives you the option to right click on your recycle bin to securely erase the content there. The coolest thing though in my humble opinion, is that there are items that you have deleted before you found out about this handy dandy tool, and they are still floating around on your hard drive. Eraser lets you wipe the free space on your hard drive to clean that stuff up too.

I use this thing all the time, and have it installed on all of my workstations. If you are worried about your data getting into the wrong hands, then you need to install Eraser today.

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