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What does "Secure Erase" really do?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
I'm RMA'ing my SSD cause of firmware issues and I need to wipe my drive clean as it has company files and other sensitive data on it (resumes, contracts, etc...)

Will using OCZ's "Secure erase" make the data unrecoverable (which I want) or is it just a regular old "format" that doesn't fully secure the drive?

What does this program do?

2ldhx0o.jpg
Edited by i7monkey - 5/20/11 at 4:55pm
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post #2 of 16
SSD's are different than normal hard drives. that will make it completely unrecoverable.
post #3 of 16
It just wipes the drive of all data. Basically like a full format.
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post #4 of 16
And with SSD's, a format is all you need. You can't recover deleted data off of nand that has been overwritten, which a format does (with 0's to indicate free space).
post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 
Then how come they say you can't truly securely wipe SSDs according to this study?:

http://www.usenix.org/events/fast11/tech/full_papers/Wei.pdf
Quote:
Reliably Erasing Data From Flash-Based Solid State Drives

Michael Wei, Laura M. Grupp, Frederick E. Spada†, Steven Swanson
Department of Computer Science and Engineering, University of California, San Diego
†Center for Magnetic Recording and Research, University of California, San Diego

Abstract

Reliably erasing data from storage media (sanitizing the
media) is a critical component of secure data management.
While sanitizing entire disks and individual files is
well-understood for hard drives, flash-based solid state
disks have a very different internal architecture, so it
is unclear whether hard drive techniques will work for
SSDs as well.
We empirically evaluate the effectiveness of hard
drive-oriented techniques and of the SSDs’ built-in sanitization
commands by extracting raw data from the
SSD’s flash chips after applying these techniques and
commands. Our results lead to three conclusions:
First, built-in commands are effective, but manufacturers
sometimes implement them incorrectly. Second,
overwriting the entire visible address space of an SSD
twice is usually, but not always, sufficient to sanitize the
drive. Third, none of the existing hard drive-oriented
techniques for individual file sanitization are effective on
SSDs.
This third conclusion leads us to develop flash translation
layer extensions that exploit the details of flash
memory’s behavior to efficiently support file sanitization.
Overall, we find that reliable SSD sanitization requires
built-in, verifiable sanitize operations.


Help would be appreciated guys.
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post #6 of 16
This link says different: http://www.geek.com/articles/gadgets/ssds-make-data-unrecoverable-by-law-enforcement-2011035/

Erase it and let it run for a while. The garbage collection will make the data almost completely unrecoverable.

Think of it like ram. Can you recover data off that once it's been wiped?

Quote from same article:
For sanitizing
entire disks, built-in sanitize commands are effective
when implemented correctly

Edited by gregory121295 - 5/20/11 at 5:31pm
post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gregory121295;13579118 
This link says different: http://www.geek.com/articles/gadgets/ssds-make-data-unrecoverable-by-law-enforcement-2011035/

Erase it and let it run for a while. The garbage collection will make the data almost completely unrecoverable.

Think of it like ram. Can you recover data off that once it's been wiped?

Quote from same article:
For sanitizing
entire disks, built-in sanitize commands are effective
when implemented correctly

I see, so how would I sanitize it properly? Would using the OCZ toolbox (the pic I posted in my first post) work if I booted off my old drive (Vista) and did through Windows?

Is OCZ toolbox considered a "built-in sanitizing command"?
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post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 
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post #9 of 16
Just secure erase, don't be paranoid I doubt the trash can will try to recover your data.
Or should I say recycling machine.
    
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post #10 of 16
Yes, the built in "OCZ Toolbox" is considered a built in sanitizing command. According to the article, if you let it run for a few hours to trash collect and trim after the erase, even the FBI would have a hard time getting your files.
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