[v5, v6] Are you 100% certain my data is gone forever?

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[v5, v6] Are you 100% certain my data is gone forever?

Postby Overwriter » Sun Nov 16, 2008 6:53 pm

It would be irresponsible of any secure deletion software developer to 100% guarantee that absolutely nothing could be recovered from a drive. There are just too many things that could go wrong. Faulty write heads, bad sectors, power cuts, user bad practice, backup software, temp files, malicious code, wear levelling etc.

There are also drastically different threat models to consider, ranging from your sister using free software based recovery programs to Governments sending your drive to multi-million dollar forensic laboratories for a full microscopic analysis.

If you are paranoid and you believe your threat model warrants it then physical destruction of the disk platters is your only option. By all means overwrite them first will Eraser or DBAN but physically destroy them immediately afterwards.

However taking everything into account and assuming no hardware failure or user error occurs Eraser is probably your best bet for secure deletion. Eraser will prevent all software based programs from recovering anything. The density on modern hard drives means that even with a single random pass forensic microscopic analysis is unlikely to work and if it did it would certainly be frustrated to a point where it would become prohibitively expensive and time consuming.

Another thing to consider especially if you are very security conscious is that Eraser is open source software. This means Eraser’s source code can be inspected by the end user to ensure there are no errors, or even any deliberate malicious code that might be incorporated to prevent certain areas of a drive or files from being overwritten. In other words the end user knows exactly what they are getting when installing and using Eraser, as apposed to closed source commercial software.

In conclusion Eraser is about as good as it gets in secure data overwriting.
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