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Thread: For my security, how can I ensure hard drive I used is NOT undelete-able?

  1. #1
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    For my security, how can I ensure hard drive I used is NOT undelete-able?

    Someone lent me a 1 TB external USB hard drive for me to temporarily place my personal files. I plan on deleting all my personal files, of course. But how can make sure that my personal files cannot be recovered or undeleted?
    Last edited by palawanbeach; January 18th, 2014 at 05:56 AM.

  2. #2
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    Re: For my security, how can I ensure hard drive I used is NOT undelete-able?

    The app you want is called shred. It is included by default in any typical Ubuntu install. Read its man page for usage. Be very very careful with it as defining the wrong drive is guaranteed to result in disaster. A properly shredded drive is absolutely unrecoverable, even by forensic tools (that's the point).
    Newb: How far must I jump to clear the ledge halfway down?
    Guru: It's bad to jump off cliffs. Let's look at better options.
    Newb: Stop harping about "best practices" and just tell me.


  3. #3
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    Re: For my security, how can I ensure hard drive I used is NOT undelete-able?

    DuckHook,

    Thank you for your reply.

    Question 1: Could I run shred off of my internal hard drive?

    Q2: If so, would my internal hard drive be safe from any potential accidental shredding?

  4. #4
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    Re: For my security, how can I ensure hard drive I used is NOT undelete-able?

    1.yes, shred is a command line app that can be run within your current session, and
    2. no, nothing is safe from it just because it is being run from your internal HDD. In general, Linux assumes that users know what they are doing and will allow you to shred any file you want including, say, your kernel file.

    Also note that shred will not be effective with a journaled file system if you are shredding individual files. You should therefore make sure your external USB is formatted using ext2, or, if you want ext4, that it be mounted for the purposes of shredding with the data=ordered or data=writeback modes. See man page for details. Also this link.
    Newb: How far must I jump to clear the ledge halfway down?
    Guru: It's bad to jump off cliffs. Let's look at better options.
    Newb: Stop harping about "best practices" and just tell me.


  5. #5
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    Re: For my security, how can I ensure hard drive I used is NOT undelete-able?

    DuckHook,
    Thank you for your response.

    I installed Shredder, a GUI for shred, to make it harder for me to make mistakes.

  6. #6
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    Re: For my security, how can I ensure hard drive I used is NOT undelete-able?

    Quote Originally Posted by palawanbeach View Post
    ... Shredder, a GUI for shred
    Wasn't aware this existed, but if you feel more comfortable with GUI, by all means.

    Please mark thread "solved" using thread tools at head of page.

    Good luck and Happy Ubuntuing!
    Newb: How far must I jump to clear the ledge halfway down?
    Guru: It's bad to jump off cliffs. Let's look at better options.
    Newb: Stop harping about "best practices" and just tell me.


  7. #7
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    Re: For my security, how can I ensure hard drive I used is NOT undelete-able?

    Quote Originally Posted by palawanbeach View Post
    Someone lent me a 1 TB external USB hard drive for me to temporarily place my personal files. I plan on deleting all my personal files, of course. But how can make sure that my personal files cannot be recovered or undeleted?
    The external drive is only for data storage, not for a Ubuntu installation?

    Personally, I would use encryption for this. For example, create a Truecrypt volume on the external drive, and only place your personal files within that volume. Use a strong passphrase for the volume.

    If for some reason you are unable to delete the Truecrypt volume when returning the drive, your personal data will still be protected.

  8. #8
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    Re: For my security, how can I ensure hard drive I used is NOT undelete-able?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave_L View Post
    The external drive is only for data storage, not for a Ubuntu installation?

    Personally, I would use encryption for this. For example, create a Truecrypt volume on the external drive, and only place your personal files within that volume. Use a strong passphrase for the volume.

    If for some reason you are unable to delete the Truecrypt volume when returning the drive, your personal data will still be protected.
    +1

  9. #9
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    Re: For my security, how can I ensure hard drive I used is NOT undelete-able?

    Dave_L & Sandyd,
    Yes, I used the exetrnal USB hard drive for data storage only.

    Next time, I'll try using a Truecrypt volume. But now, it's too late to do that, because I already stored files on the external USB hard drive without truecrypt.

  10. #10
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    How could Shredder get the job done in 1 second?

    DuckHook,
    So I ran Shredder, I selected the external USB hard drive folder. I put a check mark for both Zero-ing and for Remove. I then clicked the Shred button. But it was done in less than one second. I was expecting the shredding to take many hours!
    ==========
    Target File: /media/external1
    Iterations: 5, Zero-ing: True, Remove: True.
    Here we go! Pray that it doesn't take anything bad out!
    Shredding: /media/external1
    Done with all the shredding!
    You may proceed to exit or shred more stuff again.
    ==========
    What am I doing wrong?

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