Today I decided I wanted to really securely delete some files off my hard-drive; a quick search revealed that the GNU/Linux wipe command was just the thing. Before running it, I had a quick look at its man page and discovered something much more interesting than mere dry documentation: rather, the wipe manual is a paranoid masterpiece on the possible snitchware lurking inside your hard-drive and the special problems of being really sure you've deleted your data:
I hereby speculate that harddisks can use the spare remapping area to
secretly make copies of your data. Rising totalitarianism makes this
almost a certitude. It is quite straightforward to implement some
simple filtering schemes that would copy potentially interesting data.
Better, a harddisk can probably detect that a given file is being
wiped, and silently make a copy of it, while wiping the original as
Recovering such data is probably easily done with secret IDE/SCSI
commands. My guess is that there are agreements between harddisk
manufacturers and government agencies. Well-funded mafia hackers
should then be able to find those secret commands too.
Don't trust your harddisk. Encrypt all your data.
Of course this shifts the trust to the computing system, the CPU, and
so on. I guess there are also "traps" in the CPU and, in fact, in
every sufficiently advanced mass-marketed chip. Wealthy nations can
find those. Therefore these are mainly used for criminal investigation
and "control of public dissent".
People should better think of their computing devices as facilities
lended by the DHS.
- Discarded photocopier hard drives stuffed full of corporate ...
- Device remotely destroys hard drive data - Boing Boing
- Hand-cranked Fujitsu ME-P3M hard drive degausser - Boing Boing
- Hard drive crushers... er.... crush drives hard - Boing Boing
- Table made from ancient, giant hard-drive platter - Boing Boing