NSA Listed Degaussers
The TS-1 Data EliminatorTM erases classified and Top Secret data from hard drives and tapes in 45 seconds.
More information here
Degauss | Destroy | Recycle Workstations
The Degauss-Destroy-Recycle Workstation (DDR-1) ensures the safety of information
by controlling media during the end of life-cycle process, providing security and organization for data destruction protocols.
Click here or call 800-781-4799 for more information.
Center for Magnetic Recording Research at University of California at San Diego
Secure Erase Protocol The Most Effective Purge Technology is Already on the Hard Drive
WHAT IS SECURE ERASE?
Secure Erase* is an erasure command feature embedded into virtually all ATA drives manufactured since 2001. Originally mandated by the NSA, it provides a firmware-based process that allows the hard drive to erase all data on the drive. The firmware command was developed by the University of California at San Diego's Center for Magnetic Recording Research. The University's description of the process reads as follows: "It completely erases all possible user data areas…"
The ANSI T-13 committee which oversees the ATA (also known as IDE) interface specification and the ANSI T-10 committee which governs the SCSI interface specification have incorporated Secure Erase (SE) into their standards.
WHAT DOES THAT MEAN IN THE REAL WORLD?
Compared to other hard drive sanitization methods, Secure Erase is the only technique that purges all the data stored on a hard disk drive using internal commands.
Until recently, the de facto standard for high security hard drive sanitation has been DOD 5220 (Department of Defense), a standard that specifies multiple block overwrites. This technology is generally classified as "clear". This method requires custom software and can take days to complete on a large drive. The PC hosting the drive is also out of service for the duration.
The release of NIST Special Publication 800-88 (Guidelines for Media Sanitization) in 2006 has essentially established a new standard for purging data from hard drives. In this document, NIST rates Secure Erase and Degaussing methods higher than the software overwriting or "clear" technology, at the highest level of security that doesn't destroy the hard drive itself.
Degaussing is a magnetic process that destroys the data but also destroys the drive, whereas Secure Erase allows the drive to be reused. Secure Erase is also distinguished from various freeware and commercial software overwrite products in that it uses internal commands embedded in the HDD by the manufacturer. This allows it to process at the speed of the drive, rather than the clock speed of the PC. Secure Erase is virtually always faster than software clears, in many cases significantly faster.
Despite the effectiveness of Secure Erase, there is one downside: hard drive manufacturers have made it difficult to access the command. This makes sense, in that the command could be exploited by malware or a virus on active storage devices. Therefore, most hardware manufacturers have protected their products from easy access by the user.
However, IT security experts have now developed commercial products that quickly and easily initiate Secure Erase for the purpose of hard drive sanitation. DestructData, for example, deploys several leading software products, that incorporate a number of verification tools and report generating features that allow users to document the data erasure process.
You may also download free DOS-based software** from the University of San Diego. If you are a tech geek, you might even be able to use it.**
* The Secure Erase command is distinquished from the generic marketing term "secure erase" used by vendors of software overwrite products.
** Neither UCSD nor the NSA currently offers support for this software).