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Wiping history completely from compromised thumbdrives

Posted on 2006-07-20
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Last Modified: 2010-04-11
f someone has broken into your computer and you wipe the drive, do all things necessary to get rid of them but you used thumb drives on the compromised computers before, is there a way to delete/erase/wipe the history completely from the thumbdrives .  I have 4 and my daughter has one.  Totalaling about 2 gbs between all of them.  plus I have a portable 40 gb and a seagate 60 gb hardrives.  They are lexmar secure jumpdrives, centron, seagate, western digital. I would like to wipe them like I did/can the hardrives on the desktops and notebooks. Is this
possible?
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Question by:Smcf4
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Dbergert earned 500 total points
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by:Smcf4
ID: 17149126
will I still be able to use them afterwards?
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by:Dbergert
ID: 17149163
yes, you can reformat or just use them as a usb drive.

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by:Dbergert
ID: 17149170
yes, you can reformat or just use them as a usb drive. -- AFTER you use SDelete or eraser on them...
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by:MalleusMaleficarum
ID: 17187480
It sounds to me like your motivation for wanting to wipe your compromised computer and your external devices and your thumbdrives is to make sure that there is no way that whatever tool/exploit was used to break into your computer could have found it's way into your other devices.

If this is the case, then a simple re-format in windows would take care of this.  So you wouldn't need another utility to do any kind of secure wiping, etc.  Formatting would remove the computer's ability to read anything on the device because as far as the computer is concerned, the device is empty.  

Also, let me make sure that when you say "wipe the drive" we are all talking about the same thing.  Typically when you talk about "wiping" to a security professional, it involves overwriting every bit of space (used and unused) on a device with either 1's, 0's, some pattern, etc.  The goal of wiping a device is to ensure that nothing that used to live on the device could ever be unerased or retrieved via conventional data recovery methods.

If you worried that information that used to be on these devices could be recovered later, then wiping is what you want.  If, however, you simply want to be able to ensure that there isn't some infected remnant of your previous breach on any of your other devices, a simple windows (or whatever OS you are using) format will suffice.

To accomplish this on an external or a thumbdrive, you can typically just right click on the device inside "My Computer" and select format.  Be sure there is nothing there you want to keep, and then let it run.  

Just a thought....
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by:Smcf4
ID: 17196938
Yes, I want to make sure the tool/ exploit are gone.  I was under the impression a re-format only takes the information on the computer and partitions it elsewhere on the drive.  What I mean by wiping the drive,  I use a disc that I bought to write over every single thing on the drive itself.  I usually choose the one that wipes it 35 times. It sanitizes and then verifies that its been wiped.  Now, my concern comes in with the logical and physical drives.  I generally wipe the logical since it is where all the partitions are.  The physical I'm not so sure about.  

I was also under the impression that even though the computer tells you it has been formatted and that nothing remains on your system it is still recoverable with other software.  I do not want this, I want the MBR, and all drives wiped clean as if I just bought it from a store. Or it has just been built.  I do not know much about computers anything I do know I have learned through my own research.  

I could be wrong but I thought that someone could place a trojan/keylogger etc. in the boot sector or mbr of the drive and it can / will remain there until it is wiped not simply a reformat
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