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#1 sallyb

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Posted 03 May 2005 - 06:47 AM

I keep a lot of my firm's formulas and client lists on my office computer. Had several breakins. I have cd backups hidden at home.

However, I recently discharged several employees and am concerned that someone could take my computer off with them.

I saw a movie recently that showed some sort of magnetic coils hidden on either side of doorway so that when person left with the computer all data on the hard drive was wiped clean. Is there such a product in reality. How effective is it" What is it called and where to buy it. Thanks for info. Sally

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#2 Leurgy

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Posted 03 May 2005 - 07:37 AM

Hi sallyb and welcome to BC

That sounds like something invented in Hollywood to me.

There are many computer security firms out there that could help you. With hi-speed access you could work off a remote server so all your data is stored offsite. If someone stole your computer they would get very little.

I know some people who work in the field. Without knowing where you are located its hard to recommend someone.

Take a look at this website for IronMountain.com. They are one of the leaders in the field and will no doubt have a solution for you.

Edited by Leurgy, 03 May 2005 - 07:40 AM.

When the only tool you own is a hammer, every problem begins to resemble a nail. Abraham Maslo

**** We use our powers for good, not evil ****

 Trying to remove your data from the web is like trying to remove pee from a swimming pool


#3 Herk

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Posted 03 May 2005 - 08:43 AM

In addition to Leurgy's suggestions, you could also lock down your computers with security devices. I particularly like the case-type because they look harder to get around than a cable. Anti-Theft

#4 Leurgy

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Posted 03 May 2005 - 08:58 AM

Herk has a good point with those devices.

Another idea would be a removable hard drive that you could carry with you. But it could be lost or damaged so an offsite backup would be essential.

When the only tool you own is a hammer, every problem begins to resemble a nail. Abraham Maslo

**** We use our powers for good, not evil ****

 Trying to remove your data from the web is like trying to remove pee from a swimming pool


#5 sallyb

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Posted 03 May 2005 - 04:00 PM

While on similar subject, is there a site that offers an absolute wipe out of selective data on computer....one that even a forinsic tech could not retrieve?

Also, back to detruction of data by magnetic field. Are you saying that if I took a strong magnet and attached it midway on my computer, that that would not absolutely destroy all data on drive...beyond recovery?

#6 Leurgy

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Posted 03 May 2005 - 04:54 PM

While on similar subject, is there a site that offers an absolute wipe out of selective data on computer....one that even a forinsic tech could not retrieve?


There are a multitude of programs that say they can do that but can they? If I write something to my disc, then defrag, then securely remove that file I wrote, there will most likely be remnants of that file on my disk where it was written before the defrag.

SpyBot has a secure shredder as one of its tools. It deletes a file by overwriting it a number of times. But I wouldn't bet it can't be recovered. It depends on who is doing the recovering I suppose. For other programs, go to ZdNet, Tucows or Download.com and search the Utilities section.

Also, back to detruction of data by magnetic field. Are you saying that if I took a strong magnet and attached it midway on my computer, that that would not absolutely destroy all data on drive...beyond recovery?


Don't recall saying that.

Data overwritten once or twice may be recovered by subtracting what is expected to be read from a storage location from what is actually read. Data which is overwritten an arbitrarily large number of times can still be recovered provided that the new data isn't written to the same location as the original data (for magnetic media), or that the recovery attempt is carried out fairly soon after the new data was written (for RAM). For this reason it is effectively impossible to sanitise storage locations by simple overwriting them, no matter how many overwrite passes are made or what data patterns are written. However by using the relatively simple methods presented in this paper the task of an attacker can be made significantly more difficult, if not prohibitively expensive.


An older article, but probably still valid can be found at Secure Deletion of Data from Magnetic and Solid-State Memory.

The only way to be sure of complete destruction of data would be to turn the drive and ram to dust.

When the only tool you own is a hammer, every problem begins to resemble a nail. Abraham Maslo

**** We use our powers for good, not evil ****

 Trying to remove your data from the web is like trying to remove pee from a swimming pool


#7 Herk

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Posted 03 May 2005 - 08:23 PM

I agree - the best way to get rid of your data permanently is to run the drive through a shredder and burn it, and even then I'm not sure somebody wouldn't be able to get something off of it. I recently formatted and re-installed Win98 twice on a computer and it was still able to pop up ghost icons of a program that was no longer there. (Win RAR)

#8 sallyb

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Posted 03 May 2005 - 11:56 PM

Thanks for all the discussion. I am beginning to think that only by changing out my hard drive will I be sure data that I might wish to eliminate on computer is kaput.

My computer repairman said that running the master recovery cd for this computer several times might do the trick...but he was not absolutely certain. Any thoughts on that approach?

Strange, on the one hand many are interested in not losing data, but there are times when you want to absolutely zap some stuff.

#9 sallyb

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Posted 04 May 2005 - 12:02 AM

By the way, it might be that in the future big brother(government) will use our computers to keep track of what we are doing. I read that microsoft has already spent millions to provide Canada with a means of snooping into the privacy of those using the internet. Scary stuff.

#10 Leurgy

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Posted 04 May 2005 - 05:01 AM

My computer repairman said that running the master recovery cd for this computer several times might do the trick...but he was not absolutely certain. Any thoughts on that approach?


Out of all the ideas discussed in this thread that is the most unlikely to do anything to remove your data. The first time you run the CD you will do a simple format and probably overwrite a portion of the hard drive. Subsequent runs will simply affect the areas overwritten the first time.

As far as governments monitoring computer usage, that has been going on for years. Many governments use "sniffer" programs that monitor email traffic looking for keywords that might indicate terrorist activity, for example.

Concerning your comment about MS and Canada, at the request of a Canadian police department (actually, it was an email written by a frustrated Toronto Police Sargeant to Bill gates that got the ball rolling) MS has written a program that helps identify children that are shown in child pornography and tracks that pornography as it is traded. So far, a couple of children have been found. One was identified by a crest on a school blazer and found in Ohio.

I've used programs like Active@ Kill Disk - Hard Drive Eraser. They perform a low level format that conforms to "US Department of Defense clearing and sanitizing standard DoD 5220.22-M" which is good enough for me. A 40GB hard drive takes about 24 hours to cleanly wipe.

When the only tool you own is a hammer, every problem begins to resemble a nail. Abraham Maslo

**** We use our powers for good, not evil ****

 Trying to remove your data from the web is like trying to remove pee from a swimming pool


#11 Herk

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Posted 04 May 2005 - 09:42 AM

Here's another program to erase data:

Drive Wipe

#12 sallyb

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Posted 05 May 2005 - 05:57 AM

Thanks for all the advise guys.....I really didn't want to have to buy another hard drive as the solution. Sally

#13 jgweed

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Posted 05 May 2005 - 01:04 PM

Unless you are faced with a very determined individual with a lot of computer expertise, and are dealing with nationally-sensitive materials, you are taking reasonable precautions.
Using an application to over-write sensitive files should be as effective a measure as you need, in addition to the steps you are taking now for secure off-site storage. Another good application is Eraser:

http://www.tolvanen.com/eraser/

Regards,
John
Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one should be silent.




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