Data sanitization is the process of deliberately, permanently, irreversibly removing or destroying the data stored on a memory device. These memory devices include, but are not limited to, the following: computer hard drives, magnetic disks, flash memory devices, CDs and DVDs, PDAs (e.g., Palm Pilots, Pocket PCs, and Smart phones), Zip disks, and USB storage devices (e.g., flash drives, iPods, and portable hard drives). A device that has been sanitized has no usable residual data remaining and even advanced forensic tools should never be able to recover erased data.
All memory devices containing protected data must undergo data sanitization before relocating, reassigning, donating, or disposing of the device. Following are the currently recommended data sanitization tools.
Note The Web sites below are furnished with the intention of providing data sanitization resources only. Any links leading to external Web sites and resources are provided as a convenience and for informational purposes only. These external sites do not constitute an endorsement or any association with the University. Cal State L.A. bears no responsibility for the accuracy, legality, or content of the external site.
Utility for Windows, Unix/Linux, and Mac Systems
- Darik's Boot & Nuke (DBAN)
Utilities for Internal and External Hard Drives
- Wiebe Tech Drive eRazer™ - This hardware solution completely erases all data from a hard drive quickly and easily by writing zeros over every bit of the drive. After it is done, there is nothing left to recover. http://www.wiebetech.com/products/Drive_eRazer.php
- Wipe MASSter - The Wipe MASSter unit erases data from and sanitizes hard drives at speeds exceeding 3GB/min for 9 drives simultaneously. Formatting is optional.
- Logicube OmniWipe™ - The OmniWipe™ sanitizes multiple IDE, EIDE, UDMA, and SATA drives simultaneously at up to 2.3GB/min. This 3-target system handles different makes, models, and sizes, providing wipes up to Department of Defense Specifications (seven pass wipe).
- Toshiba Mag EraSURE® - This device erases media by passing it through a large magnetic field. Once exposed to the permanent magnet in the device, data becomes unrecoverable. In addition to purging recorded information on the unit, including servo and calibration data, the degausser also destroys the read/write heads.
Utilities for Flash Drives and Flash Memory Sticks
The following hardware tool is recommended to securely sanitize flash drives.
- CD ROM Inc - The CRI-1024D is a destruction device, designed for secure destruction of electronic information on USB Flash Drives. http://www.cdrominc.com/index.php?page=shop.browse&category_id=278&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=53
The following software tool is recommended to securely sanitize flash drives.
- Eraser is a free software tool available in both install and portable versions. It can be downloaded at the following sites:
- Install version: http://www.heidi.ie/node/6
- Portable version: http://portableapps.com/apps/utilities/eraser_portable
Utility for External Hard Drives and Magnetic Disks
- Secure Erase - The Secure Erase software can be downloaded from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) at:
This Web page will be updated as new data sanitization tools become available.