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Interesting Discovery Involving Rented Servers

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Great post.. scary stuff.

The only way I found that I was able to actually wipe the drive while it was in use was the "shred" command

--- ---shred -f -z -v -u /dev/sda

Replace "/dev/sda" with what ever block device you wish to wipe.

Please note: This command will take a VERY VERY long time.

Carol Haynes:
Ouch ....

Perhaps someone can give some tips on what to use on windows servers to properly wipe data.
-Gothi[c] (April 29, 2009, 09:13 AM)
--- End quote ---

If you have physical access to the machine and you want to be really secure, the best bet is to first completely wipe the drives with a utility like DBAN and then reinstall your OS. Since that's not usually doable with a rented server, the next  best bet is to run a  utility to overwrite the free space on your disks.

I'd suggest installing Eraser ( ) on your server. It's what we use. The latest stable release (ver5.86a)  is compatible with Server 2k3 and 2k8  - and it's free under GPL!

Set it to overwrite the drive's freespace using a single pseudorandom pass. That would leave your files intact while nuking any traces left behind from previous usage.

It's a time consuming process with a slow machine or a large hard drive, but it works quite well. Defragging and consolidating the freespace on the target drive before overwriting can help speed things up a bit. Fortunately, you'll really only need to do it once on a rented server.

There's a nice illustrated step-by-step on using Eraser at this link:


Windows XP includes a command that will do what you want, (also available to Win2000):

Administrators can use Cipher.exe to encrypt and decrypt data on drives that use the NTFS file system and to view the encryption status of files and folders from a command prompt. An updated version of the Cipher tool has been released for Windows 2000, and is included with Windows XP. The updated version adds another security option. This new option is the ability to overwrite data that you have deleted so that it cannot be recovered and accessed.
--- End quote ---

eg.  cipher /w:C:\  should wipe all unused space on the C: drive.

Otherwise there's always DBAN.


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