M9 1a8 8 0 1 0 0 16A8 8 0 0 0 9 1zm. How can I securely erase create encrypted loopback filesystems on Linux hard drive?
I’m planning on selling a USB external hard drive that currently contains an old Ubuntu installation with stored passwords and banking information. How can I securely erase the drive before selling it? Also, have a look at this EFF page for a comprehensive explanation covering multiple OS’s. Should I ask this as a new question or is it covered here?
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If you’ve a secure passphrase, the world is not lost when you lose your drive. However, it’s recommended to clear the keyslots as described in 5. Go ahead and ask about erasing encrypted disks. Securely erasing a storage device There’s a command-line utility called shred, which overwrites data in a file or a whole device with random bits, making it nearly impossible to recover. First of all, you need to identify the name of the device.
You can use sudo fdisk -l to list all connected storage devices, and find your external hard drive there. Make sure it is the correct device, picking the wrong device will wipe it. Unmount all currently mounted partitions on that device, if any. You can add the option -nN to only do this N times, to save time on large capacity devices.
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You can also set all bits to zero after the last iteration by adding the option -z, I prefer to do this. Choose your device in the upper-right corner list. Create partition table to create a partition table on the device. Then add a single partition that uses all of the unallocated space on the device, choosing fat32 as the file system. Beware that some parts of your disk will not be erased – use the drive firmware “SECURE ERASE” command, such as via hdparm, to properly clean off a disk. Best practice here: disconnect all of your hard drives, plug in the external drive and then do the above off of a live CD to prevent even the possibility of fragging anything that matters.
Note that this answer has been deprecated by the SECURE ERASE method of requesting the drive to erase itself. This should take care of all possible data, and won’t unnecessarily tax your system. You can perform a secure erase, where the drive erases itself, using the hdparm utility. This method tries to erase the entire drive, including bad sectors. What is SECURE ERASE, and how does one use it?
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It’s appreciated if you make a separate answer if you have a better one. The comment about using ATA Secure Erase command is misleading. Fiksdal I don’t know, it’s been five years since I wrote this answer and I don’t remember my motivations for phrasing it that way. That said, I think I meant it along the lines of “practically impossible today but plausably possible in the future with enough technological improvement”.
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Make sure you use the right device path and not just copy this line! This will overwrite the whole disk with zeros and is considerably faster than generating gigabytes of random data. PS: Before you Bruce Schneier fanboys downvote me: I want proof that it’s possible to recover data from a non-ancient rotational hard drive that has been overwritten with zeros. Don’t even think about commenting otherwise! Not saying this is the strongest “proof” but the Gutmann method exists for a reason. As far as I know, modern hard drives are still theoretically susceptible to having their data recovered if it’s been overwritten by zeros.
Cerin My understanding is that there has never been any proof that these paranoid data recovery fantasies are even possible. This discusses various secure deletion options, along with physical destruction and wiping so you can decide which option may be your best bet. Overwriting multiple times was potentially useful. New hard drives: no technology currently exists that can read after even one overwrite. Solid state hard drives: wear levelling means you cannot overwrite securely. Instead you either encrypt the entire volume and dispose of the key to wipe, or you destroy the device.
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I generally use a destructive read-write test using badblocks -w. Note that if the report indicates a problem, I’d no longer sell the disk as it is likely to fail soon. That’ll fill the entire drive with almost completely random data. Then you can set all bits back to 0 with dd.
Actually, dd should be able to randomize all of the information. You said that you have stored banking information on your harddisk. How ever it will take a very long time based on your harddisk size. Random uses random bits and zero uses 0 bits. Urandom is a semi-random version of random. Would it not be sufficient to replace all bits with 1 and then with 0? Once your done, do whatever you want with it.
I think that this method is more effective since you can control what is done to your drive and have immediate results. Why use one over the other, wipe vs shred? You may use it to erase your hard drive. Same option explained in this answer using the command-line tool hdparm. DBAN can be booted from a floppy disk, CD, DVD, or USB flash drive and it is based on Linux.
DBAN can be configured to automatically wipe every hard disk that it sees on a system, making it very useful for unattended data destruction scenarios. DBAN exists for Intel x86 and PowerPC systems. DBAN, like other methods of data erasure, is suitable for use prior to computer recycling for personal or commercial situations, such as donating or selling a computer. In the case of malware infection, DBAN can be used before returning a disk to production. One more advantage of shred over dd in this scenario: I have a faulty disk that I need to return to the vendor for an exchange. DBAN is an open source Boot CD to wipe the hard disk.
Be certain you’ve got the right drive! So if you don’t do anything with your computer to generate new randomness, the operation will take forever. You probably would need to prefix the command with sudo. Also, dd tends to complete sooner when a block size larger than the default is used. Those recommending to use shred are giving bad advice. As is resierfs and Reiser4 as well as many MANY other common Linux filesystems. On the filesystem level, not a raw data level.
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It WILL take a while, but unlike shred it will completely and IRREVERSIBLY wipe a hard disk from MBR to final sector. Also, BIG WARNING on dd, make sure you are using it on the correct device or you’ll at least PARTIALLY wipe the wrong disk. This could be disastrous if you accidentally use dd on a system drive, which will not only make it unbootable, but may irreversibly corrupt any given partition on the drive. This has given it the nickname “disk destroyer.
Shred is NOT a reliable tool for securely wiping a drive. If you’re selling or giving your computer away the CORRECT way to empty the drive is to zero or randomize it with dd and never, ever use shred, as filesystem journals will effectively restore shredded files with no effort at all. You don’t point shred at a file. You point it at the entire device. Yaro’s warnings would be sort-of valid in that case. Shred will do what you want in part of time.
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0 to hide wipe and is not necessary to wipe data. Other tools at this moment can be older and by less people develop. Shred is in core application of Linux. It is possible to use bleachbit but as I tried it took long time. If the dd cmd is not working, you can use the redirection method to wipe out the data.
Not the answer you’re looking for? Browse other questions tagged filesystem or ask your own question. How to completely erase hard drive? How can I completely erase files? How to remove all files and ubuntu? How can I permanently erase data on INTERNAL HDD? Is there any way to format my hard drive so that data cannot be restored?
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