S2E9: "Fileswatter"

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Recorded (UTC) Aired (UTC) Editor
2017-06-09 03:36:11 2017-06-18 18:09:28 "Edita"
Format SHA256 GPG Audio File
MP3 70fba1eb27bb9c240d1ded96e054a936fdc6da6788ce116745c6a80914b8e1a8 click click
OGG c2895e08b22006f4f071cd4026e18a25be2e82c0612bda0d984dce93bf003881 click click

In this episode we discuss some ways of permanently erasing content. It’s not quite as easy as you might think!



Starts at 13m14s.

I was drinking whiskey (same Bulleit 10 as before). Paden was drinking Stella Artois. Jthan was drinking Alaskan Summer Ale again.

  • Securely destroying data (see S2E8 for more in-depth discussion on why this is important)
    • Deleting a single file can be challenging, especially with journaled filesystems (e.g. EXT3/4, BTRFS, ZFS, NTFS, etc.)
      • We mention shred
      • …and wipe for secure file deletion
    • Deleting contents off an entire drive/filesystem, however, can be more daunting.
    • Because there are tools that can recover data “underneath” reformats (see S0E14), you need to be careful when wiping disks.
    • You’ll also want to probably physically destroy the media, if possible. This can be done commercially (via a company such as SSI) or in-house (via equipment from companies such as SEM, Ameri-Shred, and Allegheny Shredders).
    • Platter disks should/can be degaussed
    • But degaussing doesn’t work for SSDs.
      • Basically you need to EMP them…
      • Which, strangely enough, doesn’t work as well for platter drives due to their construction. So if you use platter and solid-state, you’ll need/want access to BOTH degaussing and EMP. (Sadly I’m having trouble tracking down equipment for EMP generation and Paden’s under NDA, so you’re on your own for this.)
      • SSDs also require a little extra work to do a software wipe of.
    • Paden thought I was referring to GPartEd but I was actually referring to GNU parted, which can be used to recover a lost/wiped partition table (but not lost data on wiped inodes). For a more detailed scan/recovery, you’ll want to use Testdisk.
    • Paden talks about some videos on physical destruction of platter disks. Some really great (and hilarious) DEF CON talks on this can be found here: How I Lost my Eye (with Shane Lawson, Deviant Ollam – whom you may remember from S1E14, and Bruce Potter) and How I Lost my Other Eye (by Zoz). Seriously, watch them. They’re both great talks.
    • For optical media, you can even get cheap in-house shredders that should do the job. Make sure you further obliterate the remains, though – optical media is easier to reconstruct since it’s less densely packed.

Sysbadministration Award

In this segment, we highlight system administration mistakes. Think of them as the IT equivalent of the Darwin Awards. (43m30s)

Note that this Baddie is for the company, the person who wrote the documentation/runs operations/etc. and not the new hire.


  • Paden was at SELF (Southeast Linux Fest) and Jthan was off-site from his normal recording rig, so the sound quality for their tracks may not be ideal.
  • “Deducer” and “surmiser” are both not words, Jthan. (And “suspic” as a verb is not a real word either.)
  • Irrecoverable is, indeed, a word.


Music Credits
Track Title Artist Link Copyright/License
Intro A Dark Blue Arc Instrumental Pipe Choir click CC-BY 4.0
Outro Turtle Island Todd W. Emmert click CC-BY-NC-SA 3.0
(All music is royalty-free, properly licensed for use, used under fair use, or public domain.)



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