Erase Disk Concepts

Erasing Confidential Data

Modern methods of data encryption are deterring network attackers from extracting sensitive data from stored database files.

Attackers (who want to retrieve confidential data) become more resourceful and look for places where data might be stored temporarily. For example, the Windows DELETE command merely changes the files attributes and location so that the operating system will not look for the file. The situation with NTFS is similar.

One avenue of attack is the recovery of data from residual data on a discarded hard drive. When deleting confidential data from hard drives, removable disks or USB devices, it is important to extract all traces of the data so that recovery is not possible.

Most official guidelines regarding the disposal of confidential magnetic data do not take into account the depth of today's recording densities nor the methods used by the OS when removing data.

Removal of confidential personal information or company trade secrets in the past might have been performed using the FORMAT command or the FDISK command. Using these procedures gives users a sense of confidence that the data has been completely removed.

When using the FORMAT command Windows displays a message like this:

Important: Formatting a disk removes all information from the disk.

The FORMAT utility actually creates new FAT and ROOT tables, leaving all previous data on the disk untouched. Moreover, an image of the replaced FAT and ROOT tables is stored so that the UNFORMAT command can be used to restore them.

FDISK merely cleans the Partition Table (located in the drive's first sector) and does not touch anything else.

Moreover, most of hard disks contain hidden zones (disk areas that cannot be accessed and addressed on a logical access level). KillDisk is able to detect and reset these zones, cleaning up the information inside.

Advanced Data Recovery Systems

Advances in data recovery have been made such that data can be reclaimed in many cases from hard drives that have been wiped and disassembled. Security agencies use advanced applications to find cybercrime related evidence. Also there are established industrial spy agencies using sophisticated channel coding techniques such as PRML (Partial Response Maximum Likelihood), a technique used to reconstruct the data on magnetic disks. Other methods include the use of magnetic force microscopy and recovery of data based on patterns in erase bands.

Although there are very sophisticated data recovery systems available at a high price. Almost all the data can also be easily restored with an off-the-shelf data recovery utility like Active@ File Recovery (, making your erased confidential data quite accessible.

Using KillDisk, our powerful and compact utility, all data on your hard drive or removable device can be destroyed without the possibility of future recovery. After using KillDisk disposal, recycling, selling or donating your storage device can be done with peace of mind.

International Standards in Data Removal

Active@ KillDisk conforms to more than 20 international standards for clearing and sanitizing data (US DoD 5220.22-M, Gutmann and others). You can be sure that sensitive information is destroyed forever once you erase a disk with Active@ KillDisk.

Active@ KillDisk is a professional security application that destroys data permanently on any computer that can be started using a bootable CD/DVD-ROM or USB Flash Disk. Access to the drive's data is made on the physical level via the BIOS (Basic Input-Output System) bypassing the operating system’s logical drive structure organization. Regardless of the operating system, file systems, or type of machine, this utility can destroy all the data on all storage devices. It does not matter which operating systems or file systems are located on the machine.