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Do companies forensically wipe their systems before disposal

Computer forensics discussion. Please ensure that your post is not better suited to one of the forums below (if it is, please post it there instead!)
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Do companies forensically wipe their systems before disposal

Post Posted: Oct 06, 19 20:40

Hello everyone,

I would like to know if private and government organisations in your country forensically wipe Laptops/Desktops when the machines are up for renewal.

I am aware that most organisations simply instruct the IT Unit to format the drives before the systems are either sold back to the original owner at scrap value or auctioned out to a third party.

Also, what popular forensic data wiping tools would you recommend, aside from Eraser Blancco? I would prefer officially licensed software that could generate a Certificate of Erasure.  

Senior Member

Re: Do companies forensically wipe their systems before disp

Post Posted: Oct 07, 19 07:50

Why should a forensic data wiper be "popular"?

*Any* tool capable of issuing a SATA Secure Erase command will do (but also a very plain dd would, only it will be slower), and even a "normal" format under Windows post-XP (without the /q or "Quick Format") would do.

As always the chosen method needs to be checked and validated on the specific device.

The (AFAIK hypothetical) "Certificate of Erasure"[1] is only a piece of paper (or a bunch of bytes if it is electronic) and it has of course no real value in the real world, unless it is backed by a suitable insurance (or similar) guarantee of sorts, which would cost 10x or 100x the cost of the device (i.e. destroying it physically).


[1] though probably that would make a bureaucrat very, very happy.
- In theory there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice there is. - 

Senior Member

Re: Do companies forensically wipe their systems before disposal

Post Posted: Oct 07, 19 12:56

Erasing files on the old drive is only step one. Step two is the pyhsical destruction of the drive and then the old laptop is sold. Whoever buys the used hardware has to buy brand new drives, too, before theses devices can be sold to a 3rd party. This is what most of the companies do.

Back to the initial question: DBAN (https://dban.org), Eraser (https://eraser.heidi.ie) and of course dd can be used to erase old files.

regards, Robin
All opinions are mine and are not necessarily the opinions of my employer. 

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