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Best Method(s) used to Sanitize (Wipe; Data Destruct) a USB Flash Drive


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#1 Tumbo

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Posted 13 July 2013 - 09:07 PM

I'd simply like to know what is/are the best method(s) used to sanitize/wipe/data destruct a USB Flash Drive?



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#2 slgrieb

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Posted 14 July 2013 - 12:31 AM

I've always found a sledge hammer to be effective for erasing data on hard drives, pendrives and SSDs. Some people really like utilities such as DBAN, but given enough incentive and appropriate software, a lot of information can still be recovered from a drive after DBAN. You have to ask yourself if the value of your data exceeds the cost of your flash drive, If the answer is "yes" destroy the drive and replace it.


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#3 Tumbo

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Posted 14 July 2013 - 12:40 AM

Destroying the drive isn't really the best option. 

 

How about if I delete all files from the drive, then fill the drive up with useless files, then delete these files, then do this again several times over, and then use a utility for a final wipe?

 

Regarding DBAN and flash drives, I'm not sure it is the best option: http://www.pcworld.com/article/254509/free_tools_to_wipe_your_drives_securely.html

 

"For erasing a traditional magnetic hard-disk drive, try Darik's Boot and Nuke (DBAN), a boot disk block-erasure utility that safely wipes data by overwriting every sector of the drive with random data several times before erasing everything. Because DBAN is designed to wipe magnetic hard disks, however, it often fails to fully erase flash memory, such as in a USB flash drive or an SSD. DBAN also may not work properly if your computer contains a hybrid hard-disk drive/SSD."


Edited by Tumbo, 14 July 2013 - 12:47 AM.


#4 slgrieb

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Posted 14 July 2013 - 01:14 AM

Destroying the drive isn't really the best option. 

 

How about if I delete all files from the drive, then fill the drive up with useless files, then delete these files, then do this again several times over, and then use a utility for a final wipe?

 

Regarding DBAN and flash drives, I'm not sure it is the best option: http://www.pcworld.com/article/254509/free_tools_to_wipe_your_drives_securely.html

 

"For erasing a traditional magnetic hard-disk drive, try Darik's Boot and Nuke (DBAN), a boot disk block-erasure utility that safely wipes data by overwriting every sector of the drive with random data several times before erasing everything. Because DBAN is designed to wipe magnetic hard disks, however, it often fails to fully erase flash memory, such as in a USB flash drive or an SSD. DBAN also may not work properly if your computer contains a hybrid hard-disk drive/SSD."

OK, if you don't consider destroying the drive a viable option, and you don't trust DBAN, I don't really have any other suggestions. Stick around, and I'm sure somebody else will step up to the plate. I regret not being more helpful. Perhaps you could just follow PC World's suggestions for securely erasing your drive.


Edited by slgrieb, 14 July 2013 - 01:19 AM.

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#5 Tumbo

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Posted 15 July 2013 - 01:18 AM

Does anyone else have any useful suggestions?



#6 Platypus

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Posted 15 July 2013 - 02:29 AM

Considering the conflicting information available from what we would expect to be reliable sources, I think you have to weigh realistically the possibility of someone obtaining the drive and expending considerable effort and cost to analyze it forensically, against the cost of the drive if it is destroyed, or its continued usefulness if you use a process like you have suggested on the basis it will probably then be unfeasible to recover anything.

 

If you are required to certify some legal degree of sanitizing, that requirement should specify its own accepted sanitizing process.


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#7 Tumbo

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Posted 16 July 2013 - 11:31 PM

Thanks for your help -

 

So what you are saying is that if I fill up the drive with useless files, then delete the files, and do this repeatedly, and then sanitize the drive, it will probably then be unfeasible for someone to recover anything but worst case scenario the usless files?



#8 Platypus

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 03:33 AM

That's how it seems to me.


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#9 Tumbo

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 06:08 PM

Ok. 

 

Do you have any recommendations for a good USB flash drive sanitizing application?



#10 boopme

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 08:47 PM

You may like this approach.

 

Sanitizing Media (The Linux Method)

 

 


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#11 Tumbo

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 08:51 PM

Thank you for the link.  Unfortunately for me, I am entirely unfamiliar with Linux...



#12 TsVk!

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 09:22 PM

I would use Linux also... It is far more effective that Windows.

 

Failing that you could use

 

http://eraser.heidi.ie/



#13 slgrieb

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 10:48 PM

Ok. 

 

Do you have any recommendations for a good USB flash drive sanitizing application?

Bubba,PCWorld suggested Roadkill's Disk Wipe specifically for flash drives. Anyway, what I'm apparently expressing very inarticulately, is that anyone finding your lost pendrive is unlikely to expend a bunch of effort in data recovery from random hardware. I think you overstate the cause for concern. All the same, flash drives are cheap, and if I really wanted to be certain about my data, I would smash the sucker in a second; thus saving myself a lot of pointless time and effort. Sorry, I just don't see why destroying the drive isn't an option. Surely you haven't done something like use a Government issue drive to store naughty pictures :devil:


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#14 dc3

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 10:31 AM

You could simply reformat the drive.

 

How to Format a Flash Drive: 8 Steps (with Pictures) - wikiHow


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#15 TsVk!

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 04:18 PM

You could simply reformat the drive.

 

How to Format a Flash Drive: 8 Steps (with Pictures) - wikiHow

This doesn't really sanitize though. Not the same.






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