that could be because the department of defence doesn't have any procedures on declassifying harddrives...
US Dept. Of Defence standard 5220.22-M
Section 5. Software and Data Files........................................................8-5-1
1. Overwriting Media. Overwriting is a software procedure that replaces the data previously stored on magnetic storage media with a predefined set of meaningless data. Overwriting is an acceptable method for clearing. Only approved overwriting software that is compatible with the specific hardware intended for overwriting will be used. Use of such software will be coordinated in advance with the Customer. The success of the overwrite procedure will be verified through random sampling of the overwritten media. The effectiveness of the overwrite procedure may be reduced by several factors: ineffectiveness of the overwrite procedures, equipment failure (e.g., misalignment of read/write heads), or inability to overwrite bad sectors or tracks or information in inter-record gaps. To clear magnetic disks, overwrite all locations three (3) times (first time with a character, second time with its complement, and the third time with a random character). Items which have been cleared must remain at the previous level of classification and remain in a secure, controlled environment.
3. Sanitizing Media. Sanitization removes information from media such that data recovery using any known technique or analysis is prevented. Sanitizing is a two-step process that includes removing data from the media in accordance with Table 3 and removing all classified labels, markings, and activity logs.
National Institute of Standards and Technology Description:
Advising users on computer systems technology
DISPOSITION OF SENSITIVE AUTOMATED INFORMATION
Sanitization means the removal of data from storage media so that, for all practical purposes, the data cannot be retrieved. Some instances in which sanitization must be considered include whenever media is transferred from one organization to another, when equipment is declared surplus, and when organizations dispose of media.
Sanitization: Why Be Concerned?
In the past, reports have surfaced that federal agencies have disposed of surplus information technology (IT) equipment without taking appropriate measures to erase the information stored on the system’s media. This can lead to the disclosure of sensitive information, embarrassment to the agency, costly investigations, and other consequences which could have been avoided.
Employees throw away old diskettes believing that “erasing” the files on the diskette has made the data unretrievable. In reality, however, “erasing” a file simply removes the “pointer” to that file. The pointer tells the computer where the file is physically stored on the disk. Without this pointer, the files will not appear on a directory listing of the diskette's files. This does not mean that the file was removed from the diskette. (Commonly available utility programs can often retrieve information that is presumed “deleted.”) Fortunately, with foresight and appropriate planning, these situations can be avoided.
Techniques for Media Sanitization
Three techniques are commonly used for media sanitization: overwriting, degaussing, and destruction. Overwriting and degaussing are the methods recommended for disposition of sensitive automated information. (Users of classified systems may also have to be concerned with data remanence. This refers to the residual information left behind once media has been in some way erased.) Security officers should be consulted for appropriate guidance.
Overwriting is an effective method of clearing data from magnetic media. As the name implies, overwriting utilizes a program to write (1s, 0s, or a combination of both) onto the location of the media where the file to be sanitized is located. The number of times that media is overwritten depends on the level of sensitivity of the information. Overwriting should not be confused with merely deleting the pointer to a file, as discussed above.
Degaussing is a method to magnetically erase data from magnetic media. Two types of degaussers exist: strong magnets and electric degaussers. Degaussers are tested by the Department of Defense; those which meet their requirements are placed on the Degausser Products List (DPL) of the National Security Agency’s (NSA) Information Systems Security Products and Services Catalogue.
The final method of sanitization is destruction of the media. NCSC-TG-025 provides specifics on this method and its applicability. Shredding diskettes, after removing the outer protective casing, is also an option for unclassified media.
Employee Training and Awareness
Most employees who utilize IT systems also use, and in fact are often the custodians of, magnetic media. It is therefore important for agencies to give the issue of media sanitization appropriate attention in the agency computer security training and awareness program.
Employees should understand the following essential elements:
1. Media containing sensitive information should not be released without appropriate sanitization.
2. File deletion functions (e.g., the DEL command on MS-DOS) usually can be expected to remove only the pointer to a file (i.e., the file is often still recoverable).
3. When data is removed from storage media, every precaution should be taken to remove duplicate versions that may exist on the same or other storage media, back-up files, temporary files, hidden files, or extended memory.
4. Media in surplus equipment should be sanitized.
|This in addition to RedCell's post, being the fact that I work with him...|
First off, you can get Spybot Search and Destroy, probably the only spyware remover that didnt attach anything to my computer, it allows you to edit your startup list, which helped me alot, back when I didnt know how to do it the manual way.... and it also has a file shredder....and it works rather well... its about the same strength as wiping your hard drives 3 times....
Now as far as RedCell's post, I work with him, The Marine Corps has no set SOP for unclassifying hard drives... So we do it our own way most of the time, aka wipe them 8 times.... But sometimes we just leave them classified and use them for that purpose only...