Data Security & Flash Drive Formatting

Last week I placed some sensitive files on a flash drive for a  brief period 
(two or three hours) before deleting them.  At this point, I'd like to make 
sure that these deleted files CANNOT be recovered, and I know there are tools 
out there that *can* restore deleted files.  I need to make sure that any 
such tools will NOT be able to recover the files in question.

So, I'm wondering if a "low-level" format operation would flip all the 1's 
to 0's (so to speak), such that these files would be certainly unrecoverable. 
 Would formatting do the trick?  And would different file system parameters 
have security advantages over others?  For example, I know that /FS:NTFS 
seems to take a lot longer than, e.g., /FS:FAT32 and I wonder if that's 
because it's doing a more thorough (lower-level?) format.

Any guidance on this will be extremely appreciated.  If formatting is not an 
adequate means to accomplish my objective, then if there is another means 
(some kind of tool or utility) that could be recommended, I'm all ears... or 
rather, eyes.  ;-)

Many thanks.  —Thri
0
Utf
3/21/2010 5:31:01 PM
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"thricipio" <thricipio@discussions.microsoft.com> wrote in message 
news:8796F6C5-E8FB-45BA-A08B-776FE4A897F8@microsoft.com...
> Last week I placed some sensitive files on a flash drive for a  brief 
> period
> (two or three hours) before deleting them.  At this point, I'd like to 
> make
> sure that these deleted files CANNOT be recovered, and I know there are 
> tools
> out there that *can* restore deleted files.  I need to make sure that any
> such tools will NOT be able to recover the files in question.
>
> So, I'm wondering if a "low-level" format operation would flip all the 1's
> to 0's (so to speak), such that these files would be certainly 
> unrecoverable.
> Would formatting do the trick?  And would different file system parameters
> have security advantages over others?  For example, I know that /FS:NTFS
> seems to take a lot longer than, e.g., /FS:FAT32 and I wonder if that's
> because it's doing a more thorough (lower-level?) format.
>
> Any guidance on this will be extremely appreciated.  If formatting is not 
> an
> adequate means to accomplish my objective, then if there is another means
> (some kind of tool or utility) that could be recommended, I'm all ears... 
> or
> rather, eyes.  ;-)
>
> Many thanks.  —Thri

You asked for some kind of tool. Well, there is the hammer, of course, or 
the vice . . . Seriously: If you are concerned about data security then you 
should look at TrueCrypt (http://www.truecrypt.org/downloads.php). It lets 
you set up an extra drive that is based on a single TrueCrypt file on your 
flash disk. Encryption/decryption is automatic once you have entered your 
password. AFAIK it has not been cracked so far. And there is also PGP.
 

0
Pegasus
3/21/2010 7:22:21 PM
What is so sensitive in it?  Child porn?  Terrorists propaganda material?

People are paranoid about data security when the majority of people you are 
likely to come across don't have the knowledge how to recover data from a 
formatted flash drive or formatted media of any kind.  If it is so sensitive 
then the best thing is to destroy the media completely by burning it or 
damaging it by breaking it.  How much a flash drive cost these days?

Finally, you could use killdisk by downloading a free trial from here:

<http://www.killdisk.com/downloadfree.htm>

They also market their award winning products called uneraser and undelete 
so you get the idea what I mean.

hth

"thricipio" <thricipio@discussions.microsoft.com> wrote in message 
news:8796F6C5-E8FB-45BA-A08B-776FE4A897F8@microsoft.com...
> Last week I placed some sensitive files on a flash drive for a  brief 
> period
> (two or three hours) before deleting them.  At this point, I'd like to 
> make
> sure that these deleted files CANNOT be recovered, and I know there are 
> tools
> out there that *can* restore deleted files.  I need to make sure that any
> such tools will NOT be able to recover the files in question.
>
> So, I'm wondering if a "low-level" format operation would flip all the 1's
> to 0's (so to speak), such that these files would be certainly 
> unrecoverable.
> Would formatting do the trick?  And would different file system parameters
> have security advantages over others?  For example, I know that /FS:NTFS
> seems to take a lot longer than, e.g., /FS:FAT32 and I wonder if that's
> because it's doing a more thorough (lower-level?) format.
>
> Any guidance on this will be extremely appreciated.  If formatting is not 
> an
> adequate means to accomplish my objective, then if there is another means
> (some kind of tool or utility) that could be recommended, I'm all ears... 
> or
> rather, eyes.  ;-)
>
> Many thanks.  -Thri 


0
LD55ZRA
3/21/2010 8:11:18 PM
thricipio wrote:

> Last week I placed some sensitive files on a flash drive for a  brief period 
> (two or three hours) before deleting them.  At this point, I'd like to make 
> sure that these deleted files CANNOT be recovered, and I know there are tools 
> out there that *can* restore deleted files.  I need to make sure that any 
> such tools will NOT be able to recover the files in question.

There is no magnetic residualism for memory devices as for magnetic hard
disks.  You can use any utility that will write 1's and 0's to the filespace
originally occupied by the file.  Heidi Eraser will do the job but you don't
have to go to the extreme of the Gutmann 35-pass routine.  Just use the
1-pass pseudorandom routine.  

For hard disks, and if you're only concerned about non-data recovery labs
obtaining access to your device, the pseudorandom routine is sufficient to
protect your data.  If this is a company's hard disk which has policies
regarding super secrecy regarding their data then use the 7-pass DOD or
35-pass Gutmann routines (the more passes means the longer to do the erase).

How to Secure Erase USB Data
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZYvuqBnXNCo

There are some shortcuts to what the author shows here.  For example, you
don't need to define a task to erase the free space of a drive but can
simply right-click on the drive letter in Windows Explorer and select to
Erase Freespace.  There are installable and portable versions of Eraser.
0
VanguardLH
3/21/2010 8:14:00 PM
Thanks for your resonse.  However, I wasn't asking about encrypton software; 
rather how to ensure that erased files are *really* erased, etc.  But, FWIW, 
I've already looked into and installed PGP.  Thanks again for your reply.  
--Thri

"Pegasus [MVP]" wrote:
 
> Seriously: If you are concerned about data security then you 
> should look at TrueCrypt (http://www.truecrypt.org/downloads.php). It > lets you set up an extra drive that is based on a single TrueCrypt
> file on your flash disk.
0
Utf
3/22/2010 12:30:01 AM
The data comprises other people's confidential information.  As such, I feel 
obligated to do everything possible to ensure their privacy, etc.

Killdisk sounds like it might do the trick, but I'd rather not invest any 
time in trial software, when other free software is available.  So, I think 
I'll be trying out heidi eraser; probably version 5.88 (portable).

In any case, thanks for your reply.  --Thri

"LD55ZRA" wrote:

> What is so sensitive in it?  Child porn?  Terrorists propaganda material?
> 
> People are paranoid about data security when the majority of people you are 
> likely to come across don't have the knowledge how to recover data from a 
> formatted flash drive or formatted media of any kind.  If it is so sensitive 
> then the best thing is to destroy the media completely by burning it or 
> damaging it by breaking it.  How much a flash drive cost these days?
> 
> Finally, you could use killdisk by downloading a free trial from here:
> 
> <http://www.killdisk.com/downloadfree.htm>
> 
> They also market their award winning products called uneraser and undelete 
> so you get the idea what I mean.
> 
> hth
> 
> "thricipio" <thricipio@discussions.microsoft.com> wrote in message 
> news:8796F6C5-E8FB-45BA-A08B-776FE4A897F8@microsoft.com...
> > Last week I placed some sensitive files on a flash drive for a  brief 
> > period
> > (two or three hours) before deleting them.  At this point, I'd like to 
> > make
> > sure that these deleted files CANNOT be recovered, and I know there are 
> > tools
> > out there that *can* restore deleted files.  I need to make sure that any
> > such tools will NOT be able to recover the files in question.
> >
> > So, I'm wondering if a "low-level" format operation would flip all the 1's
> > to 0's (so to speak), such that these files would be certainly 
> > unrecoverable.
> > Would formatting do the trick?  And would different file system parameters
> > have security advantages over others?  For example, I know that /FS:NTFS
> > seems to take a lot longer than, e.g., /FS:FAT32 and I wonder if that's
> > because it's doing a more thorough (lower-level?) format.
> >
> > Any guidance on this will be extremely appreciated.  If formatting is not 
> > an
> > adequate means to accomplish my objective, then if there is another means
> > (some kind of tool or utility) that could be recommended, I'm all ears... 
> > or
> > rather, eyes.  ;-)
> >
> > Many thanks.  -Thri 
> 
> 
> .
> 
0
Utf
3/22/2010 12:35:01 AM
Thanks, VLH... Looks like I'll be going with heidi Eraser 5.88 (portable).  
Your help is much appreciated.  Thanks again.  --Thri

"VanguardLH" wrote:

> :
> [snip]
> :
> You can use any utility that will write 1's and 0's to the filespace
> originally occupied by the file.  Heidi Eraser will do the job
> :
> [snip]
> :
0
Utf
3/22/2010 12:40:01 AM
On Mar 22, 12:40=A0am, thricipio <thrici...@discussions.microsoft.com>
wrote:
> Thanks, VLH... Looks like I'll be going with heidi Eraser 5.88 (portable)=
.. =A0
> Your help is much appreciated. =A0Thanks again. =A0--Thri
>
> "VanguardLH" wrote:
> > :
> > [snip]
> > :
> > You can use any utility that will write 1's and 0's to the filespace
> > originally occupied by the file. =A0Heidi Eraser will do the job
> > :
> > [snip]
> > :

You need to also note that the lifespan of most flash drives / media
is "limited."  The more times you write to these drives / medias, the
shorter the life of the drive.
0
smlunatick
3/22/2010 1:23:29 PM
On Mar 21, 1:31=A0pm, thricipio <thrici...@discussions.microsoft.com>
wrote:
> Last week I placed some sensitive files on a flash drive for a =A0brief p=
eriod
> (two or three hours) before deleting them. =A0At this point, I'd like to =
make
> sure that these deleted files CANNOT be recovered, and I know there are t=
ools
> out there that *can* restore deleted files. =A0I need to make sure that a=
ny
> such tools will NOT be able to recover the files in question.
>
> So, I'm wondering if a "low-level" format operation would flip all the 1'=
s
> to 0's (so to speak), such that these files would be certainly unrecovera=
ble.
> =A0Would formatting do the trick? =A0And would different file system para=
meters
> have security advantages over others? =A0For example, I know that /FS:NTF=
S
> seems to take a lot longer than, e.g., /FS:FAT32 and I wonder if that's
> because it's doing a more thorough (lower-level?) format.
>
> Any guidance on this will be extremely appreciated. =A0If formatting is n=
ot an
> adequate means to accomplish my objective, then if there is another means
> (some kind of tool or utility) that could be recommended, I'm all ears...=
 or
> rather, eyes. =A0;-)
>
> Many thanks. =A0=97Thri

If there is some software that is supposed to keep the info from being
recovered, there is now or will soon be software that can get figure
out how to get past it.

Do you want to use something the "sounds like it might do the trick?"

Just like is used to be okay to remove, then it was okay to put in
recycle bin, then it was okay to empty recycle bin, then it was okay
to overwrite, then it was okay to encrypt, then it was okay to format,
then you needed to low level format, then write all zeros, then write
all ones, then alternate, then random, then you could burn it or break
it, then none of this is good enough anymore as people got smarter and
the need to read became more important, now it is an industry.

There are people that get paid to figure out and write books and teach
classes just on how to recovery your unrecoverable data deleted with
methods that might do the trick.  That is all these people do.  They
are creative and laugh at things that might do the trick.

Whatever method you choose, chances are somebody is smarter than you
or your method and will know how to piece all or part of it back
together.  They know now or they will figure it out if they need to.

Smash your USB device in little pieces, incinerate and melt them in a
blast furnace, add various other elements and compounds, let it
solidify, smash it again and dissolve the pieces in aqua regia and and
dump the solution in the ocean over the starboard side of a cruise
ship a little one day and the port side the next a little at a time
each day on your next month long cruise.  That will work for now.
0
Jose
3/22/2010 4:24:01 PM
thricipio wrote:
> Last week I placed some sensitive files on a flash drive for a  brief
> period (two or three hours) before deleting them.  At this point, I'd
> like to make sure that these deleted files CANNOT be recovered, and I
> know there are tools out there that *can* restore deleted files.  I
> need to make sure that any such tools will NOT be able to recover the
> files in question.
>
> So, I'm wondering if a "low-level" format operation would flip all
> the 1's to 0's (so to speak), such that these files would be
> certainly unrecoverable. Would formatting do the trick?  And would
> different file system parameters have security advantages over
> others?  For example, I know that /FS:NTFS seems to take a lot longer
> than, e.g., /FS:FAT32 and I wonder if that's because it's doing a
> more thorough (lower-level?) format.
>
> Any guidance on this will be extremely appreciated.  If formatting is
> not an adequate means to accomplish my objective, then if there is
> another means (some kind of tool or utility) that could be
> recommended, I'm all ears... or rather, eyes.  ;-)
>
> Many thanks.  -Thri

Formatting will not erase the data on the drive. If you find this 
incredible, look up "unformatting" utilities. 


0
HeyBub
3/22/2010 9:34:05 PM
My question is: If stuff is erased or formatted, etc - Where does it go? I 
thought a drive only can hold so much information. Wouldn't it eventually run 
out of space?

Are we dealing with nano technology eventhough we are apparently not?

Is all our computer stuff being put into another dimension? I am just 
wondering where and if we are dumping massive amounts of garbage or stuff 
somwehere. If so I really hope nothing else is there. That would be terrible 
if stuff lived there. We would be causing genocide, unknowingly even.

Any answers? Do any mystics, physicists, vast-knowing or all-knowing beings 
have any answers?
0
Utf
3/23/2010 5:43:01 AM
Surprising and disappointing news, luna.  Any clues about the rate of decay?

"smlunatick" wrote:
> You need to also note that the lifespan of most flash drives / media
> is "limited."  The more times you write to these drives / medias, the
> shorter the life of the drive.

0
Utf
3/23/2010 8:11:01 AM
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&source=hp&q=flash+memory+write+cycles&aq=0&aqi=g3g-m1&aql=&oq=flash+memory+writ&gs_rfai=

thricipio wrote:

> Surprising and disappointing news, luna.  Any clues about the rate of decay?
> 
> "smlunatick" wrote:
> 
>>You need to also note that the lifespan of most flash drives / media
>>is "limited."  The more times you write to these drives / medias, the
>>shorter the life of the drive.
> 
> 

0
Bob
3/23/2010 2:33:16 PM
On Mon, 22 Mar 2010 22:43:01 -0700, Brian V
<BrianV@discussions.microsoft.com> wrote:

>My question is: If stuff is erased or formatted, etc - Where does it go? I 
>thought a drive only can hold so much information. Wouldn't it eventually run 
>out of space?

There is no stuff, only a pattern of bits used to represent stuff.
When the pattern changes, so does the stuff.  When all the bits are
zero, the previous pattern which represented stuff is no longer
discernible.

-- 
Remove del for email
0
Barry
3/24/2010 1:26:07 AM
Reply:

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I have a bunch of subforms that the user will fill out from a main form. I then save all that data into a local table, then read it back from a report. The report loads the same subforms which reload the data. All that is working fine on screen, and on print preview. Then, when sent to a printer, all te text boxes are blank! What could *possibly* cause this? I switched printers, used a pdf output printer (save to disk in PDF), and with same results. Any ideas? Rick wrote: > I have a bunch of subforms that the user will fill out from a main > form. I then save all t...

custom cell format
I want to creat a format for entering locker combinations. I haven't been able to make it work. Any assistance is appreciated. The format is: ##-##-## U, M, or L 34-35-26U or 12-21-37M Have done it before but many years ago on an old version. I am using Office 2000. Thanks for your assistance. Bob Simons bsimons@muhsd.k12.ca.us One way: Format/Cells/Number/Custom 00-00-00\U or 00-00-00\M In article <006f01c47a4b$9b17ca60$a501280a@phx.gbl>, "bsimons@muhsd.k12.ca.us" <anonymous@discussions.microsoft.com> wrote: > I want to creat a format for ...

Data Filter
I am running excel 2003. I am needing to copy my out put to another location. I have the options checked : Copy to another location and my list range. However, in the copy to range it is listed " $j$4:$Q$4." I do know that my range is correct but how would I get the output data to be pasted in another locations. Once I click on OK the wrong information is outputted.. Thanks for your adivse. -- Nathan You should be able to select another range for the output. What happened when you tried to change it? Jessica@aol.com wrote: > I am running excel 2003. I am needing to copy ...

Validation in Data/Form
Is there any validation function for user when they input data throught Data/Form which was created default by excel?? Hi have you tried 'Data - Validation'. If this does not work you have to create your own userform >-----Original Message----- >Is there any validation function for user when they input data throught >Data/Form which was created default by excel?? > > >. > Data Validation only affects entries that are typed into a cell. You could try John Walkenbach's Enhanced Data Form. It's a free add-in that allows combo boxes, so it could display...

conditional formatting #86
Hi, Can I apply conditional formatting to the individual data points on my line chart? And a note for ALL - I find this forum extremely helpful, quick replies that lead to the solutions I seek. Thanks to all contributors I think you would have to use a macro. Try recording and then cleaning it up. -- Don Guillett SalesAid Software donaldb@281.com "bobf" <anonymous@discussions.microsoft.com> wrote in message news:287f01c51e5a$4aa0cfb0$a401280a@phx.gbl... > Hi, > Can I apply conditional formatting to the individual data > points on my line chart? > > And a n...