SANS Digital Forensics and Incident Response Blog: Daily Archives: Jan 15, 2009

Overwriting Hard Drive Data

By Dr. Craig Wright
GIAC GSE (Compliance & Malware)

This post is based on a paper I published in December last year; "Overwriting Hard Drive Data: The Great Wiping Controversy" by Craig Wright, Dave Kleiman and Shyaam Sundhar R.S. as presented at ICISS2008 and published in the Springer Verlag Lecture Notes in Computer Science (LNCS) series.


Opinions on the required or desired number of passes to correctly overwrite (wipe) a Hard Disk Drive are controversial, and have remained so even with organizations such as NIST stating that only a single drive wipe pass is needed to delete data such that it can not be recovered (that is a wipe of the data).

The controversy has caused much misconception. This was the reason for this project.

It is common to see people quoting that data