At work, we use the very nice and easy to use DBAN tool to wipe Harddisks before give them out of our reach. This ensures our Users Data are save from restoring by bad people.

However, with the recent growing of Hard-disk sizes up to 1TB this became somewhat hard to do.

Usually we use the DoD-short algorithm, since it provides fair cost/revenue ratio. A 40GB Hard-disk can be wiped in about 8-10h without trouble. Usually i start it near end of day and when i come back next Morning, its done wiping.

Now, Today i have to wipe a Hard-disk from a User concerned about security (A User concerned about security? Actually a very good thing.) So i thought i wont use the DoD-Short but the standard DoD algorithm. Guess how long it takes to wipe those 80GB…. 50 hours.

TGiF, so i can go home and it will be done when i come back next week.

This made me think about 2 things:

  1. I think the DoD standard should be used always. If the US Government doesn’t trust DoD-short algorithm fully, why should we trust it? So if possible always use the standard. But that actually means 2-3 times the time we need now.
  2. This was a 80GB Hard-disk. Today’s HDs are up to 1TB.

Conclusion: Soon Administrators will face the Problem of securely erase much bigger Hard-disks than today. In addition, i don’t think it will be harder to restore Data from Hard-disks than it is now (more likely it will be easier due to improvements in technology). If such a wiping takes more than 1 week, it becomes troubling work with it. In the end I can only see one useful solution: shredding Hard-disk into pieces. Sure this isn’t good for the environment.

The problemis, that we get bigger HDs and better technology, making security growing more painful. A great debacle. I think we will soon see more of those “mistakenly sold HD with Data on it on ebay”-News.

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