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From: ggilliss at (Gregory Gilliss)
Subject: *nix data wipe tools

Not meaning to start a flame war, rather a discussion of what's considered
"state of the art" for "data hygiene" (cute). I've used srm (available in
the FreeBSD ports collection and elsewhere). I'm not familiar with shred 
and wipe (Linux tools?) so perhaps those more up to date can suggest what
and why these tools (or others) are better or worse?


-- Greg

On or about 2004.12.15 02:59:44 +0000, Thomas C. Greene ( said:

> I've posted the final versions of a few simple, free shell scripts that i've 
> been working on to make data hygiene more convenient on *nix systems. Thanks 
> to list members who helped test them and contributed improvements.
> Download them at  The file is called 
> LinuxWipeTools.tar.gz
> The purpose here is to simplify regular maintenance. These tools are not 
> intended as substitutes for the wipe and shred utilities, which should always 
> be used on sensitive individual files. What i have here are backup tools that 
> will easily and securely wipe large areas of the disk that might contain data 
> traces you've neglected, or failed to eliminate properly.
> The scripts are meant to clean large disk areas safely and conveniently while 
> you work with your system. They are intended for basic, regular maintenance: 
> i.e., to eliminate duplicate data traces in obscure areas of the disk, and 
> the remnants of files that have merely been deleted. There is nothing here 
> that you couldn't do from the command line: the idea is to make it convenient 
> so that you *will* do it. Often.
> The WipeSwap script will automatically detect your swap device, stop it, wipe 
> it securely, and re-create it. This usually takes only 20-30 minutes. The 
> swap partition is a great accumulator of unforseen and/or forgotten data, and 
> should be wiped regularly. This makes it easy and safe.
> The WipeFree scripts will securely wipe un-allocated disk space, where the 
> remnants of deleted files may remain. Again, this merely simplifies the 
> process.
> Please see the README file for caveats and a more detailed explanation.
> Thanks to the courage of numerous volunteers, i can say that the scripts 
> appear to work safely and effectively on a variety of Unix, BSD and Linux 
> systems.
> Many thanks to Conrad Wood and David C. Niemi for improvements they 
> contributed, and to Jim Knopf for an important fix and several excellent 
> suggestions.
> chrz, 

Gregory A. Gilliss, CISSP                              E-mail:
Computer Security                             WWW:
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