[ISN] Security UPDATE -- Wipe Old Hard Disks Clean Reprise -- April
isn at c4i.org
Thu Apr 21 01:23:21 EDT 2005
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Is Your Office Truly Fax Integrated?
1. In Focus: Wipe Old Hard Disks Clean--Reprise
2. Security News and Features
- Recent Security Vulnerabilities
- SSL VPN Products
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- eEye Releases Free WiFi Scanner
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==== 1. In Focus: Wipe Old Hard Disks Clean--Reprise ====
by Mark Joseph Edwards, News Editor, mark at ntsecurity / net
A year ago, I wrote in this space about tools that you can use to wipe
hard disks clean of all data. In that article, I mentioned four
software-based tools. This week I learned about two more tools and
about another type of product that can help when you need to erase a
The tools I mentioned in the previous article (first URL below) are
Autoclave (no longer supported), LSoft Technologies' Active at KillDisk
(second URL below), Stellar Information Systems' Stellar Wipe Safe Data
Eraser (third URL below), and Heidi Computers' Eraser (fourth URL
Because Autoclave, formerly provided by the University of Washington,
is no longer supported, the university now refers people to the open
source Darik's Boot and Nuke tool (DBAN). DBAN works from a bootable
floppy disk, can erase data in various modes (DoD short, random number
streams) and works with PCs and PowerPC platforms, including Apple
Macintosh. DBAN is also bundled with Heidi Computers' Eraser.
If you have Windows XP, then maybe you know that it ships with a
command-line tool, cipher.exe, designed to manage encryption on entire
volumes as well as directories. One of the features of cipher.exe is
that it can wipe a disk to help prevent data recovery. The tool's /?
switch gives you a list of all the available command-line options. You
can use the last option, /W, to wipe an entire disk or a select
directory. There are, of course, other tools that can do the same job,
which you can probably find using your favorite search engine.
Wiping an entire disk clean (so that you can recycle or dispose of it,
donate it to charity, or return it under warranty) is sometimes quite a
problem, especially if the disk is in a system that can no longer boot.
You can of course try to use some sort of bootable CD-ROM and then run
a software-based tool to wipe the disk. You can also remove the disk
and put it into another system, boot that system, then wipe it clean.
Another method, which I think is very handy, is to use a custom
connector that lets you connect a disk to any system using a USB or
FireWire port. Such connectors are relatively inexpensive and have the
added advantage of letting you connect any ATA disk to a supported
system, including a laptop, which is also a great way to get a bunch of
extra disk space when you need it.
The Dan's Data Web site reviews at least four connectors I think you
might be interested in. One is an external drive box shell from
Sunnytek Information available for ATA and SATA configurations (review
at the first URL below). You can insert just about any regular ATA disk
you can think of inside the shell. Another is ComboDock by WiebeTech,
which is a small external connector box that connects to the back of an
ATA disk (review at the second URL below). Yet another is the USB 2.0
to IDE Cable, available from USBGEEK.COM (review at the third URL
below). And finally, there is the R-Driver II USB to IDE cable (review
at the fourth URL below), which I think is the best choice because it
lets you connect regular ATA drives and the mini-ATA drives that are
typically used in laptops and other portable computing devices.
One thing to keep in mind is that USB 2.0 (up to 480Mbps) is much
faster than USB 1.x (up to 12Mbps). And likewise, FireWire 1394b (up to
800Mbps) is twice as fast as FireWire 1394a (up to 400Mbps). If you
don't have USB 2.0 or FireWire 1394b in your system, you can buy an
inexpensive add-on card to significantly speed up read and write times.
Any of the ATA connectors I mentioned let you add a disk to a system in
just a few seconds. Not only can you use them to wipe data off disk,
but because they offer complete portability, you can also use them with
CD-ROM and DVD drives to create your own portable backup solutions.
If you're interested in these connectors, be sure to read the related
hardware reviews at Dan's Data.
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==== 2. Security News and Features ====
Recent Security Vulnerabilities
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IIS Application Isolation
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files. Learn how to isolate applications in Brett Hill's article on our
eEye Releases Free WiFi Scanner
eEye Digital Security announced the release of its free Retina WiFi
Scanner, which is designed to help detect active wireless devices,
including those that might already be connected to a company's wireless
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==== 4. Security Toolkit ====
Security Matters Blog
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Honeynet Project Challenge: Scan 34
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Security Forum Featured Thread: Pushing Software to Client PCs
A forum participant wants to know how to install software on PCs on
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by Renee Munshi, products at windowsitpro.com
Manage Windows Firewall
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