Thursday, November 10, 2005

Deleting Hard Drives

Today the subject of deleting hard drives was raised in the #snort-gui IRC channel. jrk and geek00L mentioned using Darik's Boot and Nuke (DBAN), an open source (GPL) "self-contained boot floppy that securely wipes the hard disks of most computers."

I found DBAN very easy to use. It boasts some impressive features too.

When you boot from the floppy image or CD-ROM .iso you see this screen.

The About screen offers warnings and caveats.

I like the ability to boot using one of the available deletion methods.

I simply hit [enter], which started DBAN in interactive mode. Here you can set parameters for wiping the drive.

In the future I plan to carry a DBAN floppy with me to wipe hard drives prior to installing my own NSM software.


Shirkdog said...

Nothing is better then the gutmann (37 passes)

I have only needed to use it once :-)

Martin said...

Richard, why not just use the security LiveCD of your choice? I've been using the Professional Hackers Linux Attack Kit and the wipe utility. It may take a couple of seconds longer to fire up and run the utility, but it has the added bonus of keeping a huge arsenal of other security tools handy for use whenever you want. Here's a great list of LiveCD distro's:

John Ward said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
John Ward said...


Knoppix and "dd if=/dev/zero bs=1k count=50 of=/dev/<disk device>" from a command line will work just fine since most cases people are just going to wipe for a refresh of a system. Ill have to add this to my toolkit for personal use though since this is the second time Ive seen this tool mentioned. Makes a good tool if your going to, lets say, sell your old HR server on Ebay and it contained the SSN, account numbers, and employee evaluations of everyone in your company.

Aneel said...

DBAN is tiny and relatively fast. I've used it with a little scripting and bootp to wipe whole floors of machines at a time in DoD-compliance required environments.

Richard Bejtlich said...

Martin and John,

I think Aneel wrote the answer I was going to give. If I am in a situation where drives need to be wiped to meet a certain standard, I'm going to use a tool like DBAN that caters to those standards. There's a reason different wiping standards exist, why those standards are not simply overwriting a drive 50 times with zeroes.

Joe said...

DBAN is great. Don't forget there is an ISO image available. I keep the CD with my other CDs.

dave w. said...

Great tool Rich, been using it for the past three years for compliance reasons. It's simple to use and easy to train other's such as warehouse personnel to use for retiring machines.

Anonymous said...

DBAN is available on the UBCD (Ultimate Boot CD) at with many other great tools. Check it out, it's good stuff and all totally legit freeware.