Secure Wipe Singapore

Secure Wipe Singapore

Why wipe your storage device?

secure-wipeWhat happens to all the personal documents, pictures, private emails, programs, passwords, credit card details, etc that are on it?

These days, where just your name, address and date of birth are enough for someone to pretend to be you, what do you do with your old computer?

These days, where thieves regularly buy used hard drives on ebay and find for free at recycling centers and garbage dumps, what do you do?

Well, obviously you delete everything, but how?

Just delete the files? What exact files? Windows keeps all sorts of internal records everywhere!

With free forensic software your deleted files can be undeleted and a lot of information you probably never knew was on there can be found!

Secure Erase or secure wipe is the name given to a set of commands available from the firmware on PATA and SATA based hard drives.

Why Secure Wipe?

Why might you want to want to wipe a disk instead of just deleting individual files, messages, and so on? The main reason is what can happen if a device is seized. Forensic inspection of a seized device with special software tools can recover significant amounts of deleted information and references to individual files and software that have previously been removed. Wiping your disk entirely is a valuable means of protecting data against such a forensic examination, and also not having to make individual decisions about whether to erase particular things.

It’s also important if you want to make sure photos or videos are truly deleted from a camera or phone’s SD card, since these devices rarely delete media securely.

A laptop can wipe its own hard drive, or removable storage media like USB drives or SD cards, by overwriting the contents. One method of doing this is formatting the storage medium, but note that this term is applied to two very different processes. Only full formatting with overwriting (also called “secure formatting”) actually erases the hard drive by overwriting data. “Quick format” does not do so, and is thus less secure. Formatting tools let you choose between a quick format and a secure overwriting format. For data destruction, always choose a secure overwriting format.1

You should already have built-in tools that can perform a full overwriting format or wipe a hard drive, or you may download third-party tools to do this. Below are some steps you can take with major computer operating systems to wipe your devices or removable media. Keep in mind that after wiping a hard drive, you may need to reinstall the operating system before you can use the device again.

One consideration when wiping computer media is the limited ability to delete data on solid-state drives (SSDs) ubiquitous in modern computers, including flash-based removable media as well as internal SSD hard drives. Because of a technology called wear leveling, overwriting may not reliably delete these kinds of storage media in full. This technology tries to spread out where things are stored to prevent any one part of the storage medium from being used more than another part. Researchers have shown that overwriting a single file on an SSD often doesn’t destroy that file’s contents; even after the entire device has been overwritten, wear leveling may leave a small random portion of the data on these media in a recoverable form. There are software vendors that promise to securely delete SSDs, but it is still not clear to us whether this can be done reliably to make the information completely unrecoverable. Encrypting your SSD may be the best way to prevent access to the information on the drive.

Once a hard drive has been erased with a program that utilizes Secure Erase firmware commands, no file recovery program, partition recovery program, or other data recovery method will be able to extract data from the drive.

Note: Secure Erase, or really any data sanitization method, is not the same as sending files to your computer’s Recycle Bin or trash. The former will “permanently” delete files, whereas the latter only moves the data to a location that’s easy to flush away from the system (and just as easy to recover). You can read more about data wipe methods through that data sanitization link above.

Since Secure Erase is a whole-drive data sanitization method only, it is not available as a data wipe method when destroying individual files or folders, something tools called file shredders can do. See our Free File Shredder Software Programs list for programs like that.

Using Secure Erase to erase the data from a hard drive is often considered the best way to do so because the action is accomplished from the drive itself, the same hardware that wrote the data in the first place.

 Other methods of removing data from a hard drive may be less effective because they rely on more standard ways of overwriting data.
 According to National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the only method of software-based data sanitation must be one that utilizes a hard drive’s Secure Erase commands.


Wipedrive is world’s Only EAL4+ Common Criteria Disk Wiping Software

What is WipeDrive?

WipeDrive is the world leader in secure data destruction. It allows corporations and government entities to permanently and securely erase data from hard drives, removable media and mobile devices, providing a secure, cost-effective, and environmentally responsible way of recycling and retiring computer storage.

Wipe SSDs (Solid State Drives)

Need to wipe solid state drives? Since 2011, WipeDrive has been a market leader in comprehensively wiping SSD drives by removing security freeze locks to ensure there are no hidden or locked areas of the drive that are missed. Erasing SSDs is a priority for many companies because they retain their value better than traditional platter hard drives allowing them to re-coupe part of their cost or re-use the drives internally. WipeDrive can wipe any SSD drive that is free from manufacturer defects.

DTA (DT Asia) is a major provider of degaussing and disintegrating machines. Our NSA approved Degaussers and Disintegrators for Secure Electronic Data Destruction is well-known in Singapore, Japan and Hong Kong. The solutions are various for every need of Data destruction:


DTA offers best Secure Wipe Singapore, Secure Wipe Hong Kong and Secure Wipe Japan with Wipedrive Solution.

Please contact us for more information and quotation.

How to Dispose your Computer and Portable Storage Media Securely

Dispose storage media

dispose storage media

Do you know that data still resides on your computer and portable storage media, such as thumb drives and memory cards, after you delete the document or files?

Using the analogy that your computer’s storage is a library, deleting a file is akin to removing a book’s index from the library catalogue. The book (file) will still be in the library (computer’s storage), you can still find it if you have the right tools. The same analogy can be applied to other types of electronic storage media. A storage media may contain more personal and confidential information than you thought. Personally identifiable information (PII), financial credentials, and sensitive data can be recovered if they are not completely and securely removed. The easiest way for criminals and fraudsters to obtain such information is to examine disk drives that were not sanitised.

The Myth of Deleting and Reformatting

Deleting all the files or reformatting your storage media is not a secure way to remove data before disposal. Bits and bytes of the data can still be recovered after you have performed these two actions.

Myths Facts
“Once I delete the unwanted file in my computer and clear my computer’s ‘recycle bin’, the file is gone forever” Recalling the library analogy, deleting a file is the same as removing a book’s index from the library catalogue. It does not remove the book from the library, you just couldn’t find it if you look into the library catalogue. In the case of a computer’s storage, the file’s data still resides in the storage media, until the memory space that it occupies in the storage media gets overwritten by other files’ data.
“I can reformat my computer’s hard disk drive to remove all traces of past data” When you reformat your computer’s hard disk drive or other portable storage media, it may look as if all data in it has been erased. However, that is far from the truth, your previous data still resides in the storage media and can still be recover.

Reformatting your computer’s hard disk is similar to destroying the library catalogue. However, the books can still be found on the shelves.

What Should You Do Before Disposing Your Computer and Removable Storage Media

Data stored in your devices (e.g. computer, laptop, and mobile devices) resides in its storage media (e.g. hard disk, storage card, etc.).  In this section, we will discuss three actions that you may consider before disposing your computer and removable devices.

1 Encryption
Encryption is the process of encoding information using an “encryption algorithm” and “encryption key”, turning it into an unreadable ciphertext. By encrypting your data, others will not be able to retrieve its content unless they gain access to the “encryption key” (like your password) that you use to encrypt the data. You can either encrypt specific files in your storage media or the entire storage media. However, the security of the data is only as strong as its encryption standard and key. It can be recovered given enough time and effort. A list of encryption software can be found on Wikipedia (Comparison of Disk Encryption Software).When choosing an encryption algorithm, the AES128 (AES256 when available) encryption standard. Remember to always use a strong password (encryption key) to encrypt the data.
2 Secure Data Erasure
Secure data erasure uses software-based methods to overwrite every bits of your storage media’s memory space such that all its original data is overwritten to an unrecoverable state.
3 Physical Destruction
You can either shred it, or pulverise it completely. You would require industrial standard tools to destroy your hard disk as it is definitely much tougher to break than you think.

Dispose your Computer and Removable Storage Media Responsibly

After you have sanitised your computer or removable media, you should dispose your electronic waste (e-waste) responsibly in an environmentally friendly way. Consider recycling it; you can find a list of collectors and traders for recyclables on the National Environmental Agency (NEA)’s website (

DTA (DT Asia) is a major provider of degaussing and disintegrating machines. Our NSA approved Degaussers and Disintegrators for Secure Electronic Data Destruction is welknown in Singapore, Japan and Honkong. The solutions are various for every need of Data destruction:



Please contact us for more information and quotation.

What is data erasure and how to do it

Data erasure

What is data erasure?

Data erasure is a software-based method of overwriting the data that aims to completely destroy all electronic data residing on a hard disk drive or other digital media by using zeros and ones to overwrite data onto all sectors of the device. By overwriting the data on the storage device, the data is rendered unrecoverable and achieves data sanitization.


Permanent data erasure goes beyond basic file deletion commands, which only remove direct pointers to the data disk sectors and make the data recovery possible with common software tools. Unlike degaussing and physical destruction, which render the storage media unusable, data erasure removes all information while leaving the disk operable. New flash memory-based media implementations, such as solid-state drives or USB flash drives can cause data erasure techniques to fail allowing remnant data to be recoverable


Why should data be erased?

Companies, no matter whether they are part of a large corporation or a smaller business, would definitely need to use a professional data erasure method if they want to ensure that their data doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.


Due to legal and internal regulations, data should be erased at the end of its so-called lifecycle. There are a number of existing national rules, regulations and laws that already require companies to comply with data protection measures, and also with data erasure.


No matter what method of data erasure is used, it should always be part of a consistent process and take into account some basic points. A rule for the secure disposal of old devices should be put in place and – this is the actual core issue – also be respected. It should also be clearly specified who is responsible for the actual data erasure and who for checking it. Because from the perspective of compliance, these tasks should be the responsibility of different people. And finally, companies should never forget that data erasure is not a bothersome imposition but something crucial for the welfare of the company.


Methods of Data Erasure

  1. Degaussing

There are some reliable and inexpensive ways to have data erased securely, and above all, irrevocably. If the data storage device is no longer to be used after erasure, there are two possible methods: either demagnetization using a Degausser or mechanical destruction in a so-called shredder. Both solutions work well in case of defective equipment and when the hardware necessary to access the data no longer exists. However, those responsible have to understand clearly that afterwards the media become absolutely unusable.


Degaussing does, unfortunately, have a couple of disadvantages. For a start, it’s effective on magnetic media and magnetic media only. A degausser might be powerful enough to wipe a 100-terabyte hard drive but put a flash storage device in there and it’ll come out unharmed.

Secondly, degaussed hard drives can’t be reused, so it’s not an ideal solution for companies looking to recycle or sell their hardware.

Take a look at our degausser products 

  1. Software

One of the simplest ways to permanently erase data is to use software. Hard drives, flash storage devices and virtual environments can all be wiped without specialist hardware, and the software required ranges from free – such as the ‘shred’ command bundled with most Unix-like operating systems – to commercial products.


While different data destruction applications use different techniques, they all adhere to a single principle: overwrite the information stored on the medium with something else. So, a program might go over a hard drive sector by sector and swap every bit for a zero, or else with randomly generated data. In order to ensure that no trace of the original magnetic pattern remains, this is typically done multiple times – common algorithms include Scheier seven-pass, as well as the even more rigorous, 35-pass Gutmann method.


Unfortunately, there are a few drawbacks to software-based data erasure. For one, it’s fairly time-consuming. Then, perhaps more significantly, there’s the fact that if certain sectors of the hard drive become inaccessible via normal means, the application won’t be able to write to them. Nonetheless, it’ll be possible for someone with the right tools to recover data from a bad sector.


Obviously, software-based data erasure also hits a snag when you want to destroy information stored on media that can only be written to once, such as most optical discs.

WipeDrive is the world leader in secure data destruction. It allows corporations and government entities to permanently and securely erase data from hard drives, removable media and mobile devices, providing a secure, cost-effective, and environmentally responsible way of recycling and retiring computer storage.


  1. Physical Destruction

Finally, physically destroying the media is an option, but it is not always as fail-safe a method as it seems. A hard drive can sustain significant damage before the data contained therein is rendered irretrievable. In fact, even if the spinning platters inside are shattered, it’s theoretically possible that someone might put the parts together and recover the contents.


As such, simply snapping a hard drive in half isn’t a suitable technique for permanently erasing end-of-life data. If a company goes down the physical destruction route, it should ensure that the media is shattered into as many pieces as possible – most professionals would recommend using a specialist hard drive shredder.


For devices that use flash memory, the process is a little different. If the memory chip itself is destroyed, the data can’t be recovered. But if it survives, it can be transplanted into another circuit board with a fresh controller chip and the information can be accessed without much trouble.


In summary: it’s easy to assume that physically destroying media is a guaranteed way of securely erasing the data, but that’s not always the case. Doing the job properly is often as time-consuming as any other method and requires no less rigor.

You can use a crusher or a shredder for this particular method of data destruction.

What to Do After A Data Leak: 5 Critical Steps

No matter how many security procedures you follow, a data leak can still happen. Make sure you’re prepared in the event of an emergency with our five key steps.

There were almost 1600 data breaches in the United States during 2017. Despite increased security measures, many businesses and organizations faced a situation where a data breach occurred.

How you handle any data leak is important. Being prepared and taking immediate action can limit the damage caused by the incident as well as lower the cost of a data breach.

Here’s what you need to know about handling a security incident.

data leakKey Steps in Handling a Data Leak

There are 5 steps you can take in response to a data breach to lower the damage.

1. Assemble the Team

You’ll need to bring together a variety of experts to deal with the situation. This includes IT people, management, and legal counsel.

It’s important to identify how the leak happened, what information was exposed, and what measures need to be taken in response to the incident.

Dealing with the consequences of the data leak may require the use of outside forensic experts and legal counsel.

2. Secure Your IT Systems

Once you realize a breach has occurred, it’s important to secure all IT systems to make sure more data aren’t lost. This could mean pulling computers off the network until you can be sure they are not compromised and leaking more data.

Another key step is having all individuals authorized to access IT systems change their login credentials in case the hackers obtained access to this information during the breach.

Once the cause of the leak is known, you’ll want to be sure any machines connected to the network have security protections against a similar attack.

3. Create a Communications Plan

Nobody wants to tell the world they lost data but it’s important to notify all affected individuals about the incident. This includes your employees and any customers impacted.

If the data leaked are sensitive and could affect the privacy and security of individuals, it may be necessary to use a public relations campaign to help you reach the individuals whose data were lost.

If it was a large-scale breach, you’ll likely need a communications team in place to handle questions from impacted individuals as well as give relevant information to those affected.

4. Notify Law Enforcement and Government Agencies

Letting law enforcement know about the breach can help lower the risk of identity theft if personal information was part of the breach.

Depending on the type of data lost and relevant federal and state laws, you might need to notify specific government agencies about the data leak.

To find out who you need to notify, you’ll need to research state and federal laws. An easier approach is to hire legal experts who specialize in handling data breach incidents.

5. Fix the Problem

Data breaches happen when hackers exploit weaknesses in your IT systems. Whether it’s computer vulnerabilities or poorly trained employees, you’ll need to make sure the issue doesn’t happen again.

Often it will take some time and a security audit to find weaknesses in your IT systems or procedures.

Working with a cybersecurity expert can help you identify and address issues.

Moving Forward

Using strong cybersecurity protections can help avoid the loss of data to hackers. Destroying unneeded data can help prevent data leaks by reducing the amount of data retained.

If you haven’t set up a secure data destruction process, we can assist you in developing one.

Contact us today to find out how we can help you.

Degaussing services in Singapore


DT Asia Group provide both offsite and onsite services.
• Professional technician to perform your requested job.
• Guarantee 100% data sanitized, using CISA certified deguasser.
•“Rebounding Erasure” method, complied to US, DoD most recommended degaussing standard.


Data Leakage is financial lost!

Data leakage does not only cause financial lost, it is just like a time bomb which can be a real disaster, if not handle properly.
The Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) and Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) had recommended a solid compliance directive for data media disposal.
It is a combination of logical data elimination (Degaussing) and secure disposal through physical destruction.

For customers requiring destruction of classified materials, degaussing hard drives then shredding them is the only NSA approved process. On-site degaussing services at client’s facility, or off-site degaussing services at a controlled and monitored data center.

Data is stored in magnetic media, such as tapes and hard drives, by making very small areas called magnetic domains change their magnetic alignment to be in the direction of an applied magnetic field. This phenomenon occurs in much the same way a compass needle points in the direction of the earth’s magnetic field. Degaussing, commonly called erasure, leaves the domains in random patterns with no preference to orientation, thereby rendering previous data unrecoverable. Hard drives cannot be re-used after degaussing though some tapes can be re-used after degaussing services.

Effect of Degaussing

According to NIST Guidelines for Media Sanitization, degaussing is exposing the magnetic media to a strong magnetic field in order to disrupt the recorded magnetic domains. It is an effective data purging method to protect the confidentiality of information against a laboratory attack, which would succeed on storages sanitized by normal clearing method.

A degaussing process performed by a qualified degausser will accomplish a complete and permanent data deletion, which means the data stored in the magnetic device cannot be recovered any more. What’s more, some degaussed medium cannot be used again (such as hard drive and LTO).

Special Benefit of Degaussing

NIST Guidelines for Media Sanitization has pointed out several special benefits of degaussing as a data erasure method:

  1. It is useful for sanitizing damaged media, which cannot be erased by overwriting.
  2. It is effective in purging large capacity medium. Data wiping on those storages can be very time consuming, however, degaussing process only takes less than 1 second and will destroy all data permanently.
  3. It is very effective in quick purging diskettes.

Thus, if the storage you are planning to dispose of is magnetic technology based, and it cannot be overwritten in a reasonable time length, degaussing would be an effective choice for secure data erasure.

degaussing services Singapore


What is degausser – all information about degausser


Degausser is a machine used to eliminate data stored on computer and laptop hard drives, floppy disks and magnetic tape, by randomly changing the alignment of magnetic domains on the medium.

Data is stored on magnetic media by making very small areas called magnetic domains change their magnetic alignment to be in the direction of an applied magnetic field. Degaussing magnetic media leaves the domains in random patterns with no preference to orientation, thereby rendering previous data unrecoverable. A degausser is therefore used to completely erase all audio, video and data signals from magnetic storage media.

This process is effective in a range of industries including video, audio, computer, broadcast and data security.


Benefits of Using a Degausser

  • Assurance that all sensitive data has been erased permanently
  • Disposes classified media quickly, safely and in-house
  • Improvement in the quality of output
  • Sizeable savings in operating costs
  • Meets the NSA and CESG requirements for sanitisation of classified information

Simply overwriting magnetic media does not completely erase data. Only a degausser can remove data 100% and ensure that confidential data is securely and completely erased.

How does a Degausser work?

It works by passing any magnetic media through a powerful magnet field to rearrange the polarity of the particles, thus completely removing any resemblance of previously recorded data. Although this process of course is simple in theory, in practice, the vast variation of media formats and magnetic densities makes the correct process quite difficult to achieve. The degausser is constructed in such a way as to enable the generated magnetic field to be available to the media when it is transported through it, which can be by physically holding the media and moving it through the field by hand, having it automatically conveyed by a belt transporter or rotated on a motorized spindle.

Different media demand varying magnetic field strength, therefore the coils that generate the magnetic field will also vary depending on this requirement. Generally speaking, a coil is a degausser which should have two to three times the energy rating of the material being degaussed. Where media has a security classification, Restricted, Confidential, Secret or Top Secret, a considerably higher energy rating will be required. This rating is measured in Oersteds. Further efficiency can be achieved by using more than one coil in multi-axial orientation; this produces a more effective degaussing field. Even better performance can be achieved by rotating the coils or the media during the process.


Operation of Degaussers

The operation of degaussers will vary depending on the type and quality of media and the speed and degree of erasure required. When erasing tapes, either the cassette must move through the magnetic field or you must move a magnetic field over the cassette. In each case, the consistency of the motion, the strength of the field and the distribution of that field over the entire media are what determine the quality of the erasure.

Most professionals and engineers agree that a conveyor transport degausser, which allows the user to place the magnetic media on a small belt, which in turn passes the media through or over the degaussing coils at a constant speed, assures the most uniform process. Custom-designed degaussers can assist with the specialist needs of bulk operators with belt feed conveyors; collection hoppers are available to deal with tapes, disks and reels, all helping in making the operation effective & efficient.

Effective degaussing is very much a performance factor of the machine and generally passing the media through the field twice does not improve the effectiveness. However, if the media is rotated by 90 degrees, some improvement can be achieved. VS Security Products have developed an eraser employing “state of the art” technology that uses a rotating coil technique. The media passes on a variable speed conveyor belt through a field, generated by two powerful coils, which are rotating, one above the media, the other beneath it.

With the ever-increasing demand to fit more & more data on smaller media, there is now a requirement that can be more important than absolute erasure. That is consistency of erasure.

It is widely understood that data at a high packing density stored on magnetic media is easier to erase than lower density data. The data signal to noise ratios, bit-to-bit phase relationships, amplitude variations all become more critical and require more sophisticated electronics to ensure valid error free data recovery. Variations of magnetic flux, remaining from a poor erasure cycle, will make data recovery more difficult and will result in increasing errors.


Detailed Benefits of Degaussers

The resultant benefits are substantial, producers of audio and video tapes achieve better yields as well as increased quality. Data users enjoy greater efficiency due to considerably reduced “error rates”. Professional users in every sector, from government to business, benefit from incorporating degaussing within their magnetic media processing procedure and achieve considerable cost savings by being able to confidently reuse again and again media previously discarded.

The controlled application of degaussers to the process involved in the production & operation of magnetic media can achieve considerable savings. For a start, many operators who do not currently degauss, simply throw away suspect media that, with a careful process of degaussing applied to it, would have a considerable extended life. Many operators claim benefit of up to four times the useful life of some types of media.

Further direct & indirect savings can also be achieved. Quality of performance of the media has a very high value, although it would be difficult to qualify. Indirectly, there are additional cost savings to producers and to end users due to the considerable reduction of “down time” of computers and data processing apparatus arising from faulty or imperfect magnetic media being used. Diskette duplicators claim to gain upwards of 25% better production yields directly attributable to degaussing their bulk bland diskettes, prior to processing.

Another benefit is that magnetic media is very difficult to dispose of. If it is burned, it emits toxic fumes, if it is buried, it is not biodegradable. By re-using your media as many times as possible, you are adding you your company’s recycling program.

The amount of magnetic media used in the broadcast, computer and software industries has resulted in professional users striving to achieve higher quality and efficiency, whilst at the same time searching for cost savings. By degaussing magnetic media using “deep erasure”, created by powerful magnetic fields, users or producers find that previously recorded data, or certification signal can be eliminated completely from tapes, cassettes or cartridges. The effectiveness that this method of erasure achieves far exceeds that of DC erasure (this is the method that is used in hard disk drives).

 Who uses a Degausser?

Anybody who uses magnetic media will benefit from the use of a degausser, including:

  • Radio/Television broadcasters: enables expensive tapes to be re-used
  • Computer departments of corporations: allows re-use of back up tapes and safe disposal of information from PC hard drives
  • Data Storage Companies: data no longer needed can be easily and efficiently erased
  • Defense Organizations: confidential and top secret information can be erased
  • CCTV Operators: allows VHS tapes to be re-used again and again
  • Audio/Video duplicators: allows re-use of any production over runs and returned out of date tapes
  • Financial Services: Banks and insurance companies can use a degausser to re-use magnetic media for voice logging systems
  • Emergency Services: Re-use tapes used in voice logging systems
  • Hospitals: erase sensitive information held on magnetic media, such as patient records no longer required
  • Universities: allows student records that are no longer needed to be erased

Problems in a Degausser

A coil degausser employs a steel core wrapped in copper wire that creates an alternating electromagnetic field when activated. This magnetic field is always present when the degausser is powered up, which can overheat the coil. A disadvantage of this type of degausser technology is that it creates very high levels of heat, so these degaussers oftentimes have a short operational cycle, ranging anywhere from one minute to several minutes before requiring a longer cool-down period before they can be reused. The AC degausser must have a limited duty cycle to protect the coil from overheating. Larger coil degaussing machines utilize fans to keep the coil as cool as possible and extend the operating cycle. Many hand-held degausser units as well as manual and conveyor machines employ the use of a coil.

The Conveyor Belt Degausser

The Conveyor Belt Degausser works with an electromagnet underneath a conveyor belt. The devices are hovered over the electromagnet and the magnetic field will be destroyed and with it all of the data.

Problem: This procedure has to be done several times since it is not certain that all of the sectors of the device were targeted and the data was securely deleted. Additionally the hard disks have to be switched from top to bottom in this process, either manually or by the machine.

The AC-Degausser

The AC-Degausser looks like a scanner device with a glass surface, where the hardware – either a hard disk or a tape – will be placed on. As with the Conveyor Belt Degausser one strong electromagnet is directly placed underneath the middle of the glass plate. When degaussing, the user has to lay the disk or the tape directly over the glass and turn it several times.

Problem: There are several pitfalls to this technology. It is a totally manual operation which has to be done several times since one cannot be certain that the whole device is totally freed from data in one pass. Additionally, it is advised that the user should wear protective hand gloves since he gets in near contact with the magnetic field while he is turning the disks or tapes over the glass. For some time now doctors and researchers have warned about the risk of getting cancer if one is excessively exposed to magnetic fields.

The Permanent-Magnet-Degausser

This Hardware works with two rare natural magnets with high field strengths. The medium which is to be erased will be moved between the two magnets thus deleting all data.  The magnets are “always on”.

Problem: Since the magnets are always active, the hardware has to be secure from allowing  magnetic fields to ‘leak’ out of the hardware and to the user. To protect against this most of these devices are quite big and therefore are only useable in one specific place.

The Impulse-Degausser

The Impulse-Degausser uses an electro-magnetic coil. Once started, it sends a high frequency electro-magnetic impulse – via built-in and fully loaded capacitors – through the coil, which destroys all data on the disk or tape. The medium to be erased is put inside the coil to cover all of the plates with the magnetic field. With this technology hardware degaussers can be built relatively small, easy to transport and are less energy consuming than the other technologies used. 

The “mixed” Impulse/Permanent Magnet Degausser

This Technology uses both permanent built-in magnets to delete data and additionally sends an impulse through a coil to “finalize” the process.

Problem: Even though the idea is great it gives no additional benefit to the customer beyond a single degaussing solution. Also, the cost is normally higher than a device with just one technology built in.

What is degaussing, all about degauss


Degaussing is the process of decreasing or eliminating a remnant magnetic field. Due to magnetic hysteresis, it is generally not possible to reduce a magnetic field completely to zero, so degaussing typically induces a very small “known” field referred to as bias. Degaussing was originally applied to reduce ships’ magnetic signatures during World War II. Degaussing is also used to reduce magnetic fields in cathode ray tube monitors and to destroy data held on magnetic storage.

Degaussing is not the only thing you should do to insure data security. While degaussing is the only safe method to remove data from a piece of technology, companies usually go one step further and pair their data erasure methods with crushing. CNet reported that once data is wiped, organizations can remove or destroy the platter on a hard drive to ensure complete certainty the information is unattainable. While most people believe that if the platter can’t spin, then the hard drive can’t be read—but data can actually still be recovered from the device. This is why degaussing beforehand is incredibly important.

After that, companies should consider using a product that effectively crushes the device or have some fun and do it on their own. Any method that will render it into tiny pieces is ideal. But, before taking a sledgehammer to media, make sure to erase the data. Even tiny pieces can be put together and information can be salvaged if not properly disposed of.


Degaussing Hard Drives

Hard drives and other electronic storage devices such as computer tapes store data within magnetic fields. Such storage mediums contain layers of magnetic material. By arranging the specific direction of these tiny magnetic materials, a drive can store millions of binary data bits. A hard drive retains this data only if the magnetic fields are kept in their precise order.

A degaussing machine subjects a hard drive to a high-intensity magnetic field, completely rearranging the entire magnetic structure of the drive. The degausser randomizes the patterns of magnetization by applying alternating fields of powerful magnetic amplitude. The end result is irrecoverable data.

Once a drive has been degaussed, it can no longer be used for storage.

Eight Important Facts about Degaussing

  • Can data on a degaussed drive be recovered?
    1. Once a drive has been degaussed, it is impossible to retrieve the data.
  • Can a degaussed disk be used after degaussing?
    1. A degaussed drive is inoperable in any system. The magnetic erasure rearranges the magnetic field to such an extent that standard read heads are unable to find a magnetic reference point for tracking.
  • Does running an ordinary magnet over a hard drive accomplish degaussing?
    1. Standard magnets are not powerful enough to degauss a hard drive. Only an industrial degausser can guarantee the erasure of data.
  • Can any degausser erase data?
    1. In order to be completely effective, a degausser should emit magnetic strength that is two or three times greater than the magnetic intensity of the hard drive. Some commercially-available degaussers are too weak to ensure that the data is erased. It is important to use an NSA-recommended degausser.
  • Why is degaussing important?
    1. Degaussing is the first step in completely destroying data. Due to regulations such as HIPAA, the GLB-Act, and NSA requirements, destroying sensitive data is required by law.
  • Does degaussing destroy other forms of tape storage (DLT, SDLT, 3480, AIT, etc.)?
    1. Degaussers emit such powerful magnetic fields that they can erase virtually any magnetic-based storage device.
  • Can degaussing destroy data on a USB drive?
    1. No because USB memory devices operate on solid state memory, which does not depend on the same magnetic structure of hard drive or tape storage.
  • Is degaussing the final step in data destruction?
    1. Although degaussing is a failsafe way of data erasure, the NSA recommends that media be physically destroyed / shredded after degaussing.

Who uses degaussing?

In today’s increasingly litigious world, the use of a degausser provides a safe and effective means of magnetic media data security for individuals, organizations, corporations and government agencies. Within the past several years, laws have been passed outlining stricter guidelines and greater penalties for data security, making it illegal for companies and organizations to carelessly or irresponsibly dispose of any critical or personal data. Such laws include the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA), Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA), Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA), and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

Confidentiality & Risks of Data Leakage

For end-of-life data storage medium, a proper data erasure action is important before their disposal. Random disposal or insufficient data erasure may severely harm information confidentiality of organizations and companies and raise risks of data leakage.

Nowadays stories of high profile cases containing exposure of sensitive data are heard frequently. Improper data disclosure may result in different risks:

  • Personal information goes to identity thefts
  • Disclosure of business secrets to dumpster divers
  • Time, effort and costs spent on explanation to customers
  • Loss in consumer confidence
  • Embarrassment in public
  • Legal expenditure caused by breaches of privacy policy
  • Fine and penalty for violation of regulations
  • Disclosure of national & military secrets
  • Negative impact on environment

To protect information security, data must be completely destroyed before IT assets are disposed of or recycled. Corporations are obliged by law to ensure the security of sensitive information, otherwise they will face penalties or punishment for non-compliance.

Problems in Degaussing

If degaussing is done incorrectly, more problems can be generated than are solved. Traditional demagnetizing methods using surface AC demagnetizers or yokes will only affect a small area or surface spot, subsurface magnetism may still be left behind. As is often the case, this is not realized until after a machine is put back into operation and magnetic fields start to interact. These magnetic fields may strengthen, generating currents causing unforeseen damage. Therefore, if the removal of residual magnetism is skipped, or improperly done, the likeliness of problems will increase.

Data erasure

Data erasure

data erasure

Data erasure (also called data clearing or data wiping) is a software-based method of overwriting data that completely destroys all electronic data residing on a hard disk drive or other digital media. Permanent data erasure goes beyond basic file deletion commands, which only remove direct pointers to data disk sectors and make data recovery possible with common software tools. Unlike degaussing and physical destruction, which render the storage media unusable, data erasure removes all information while leaving the disk operable, preserving IT assets and the environment.

Software-based overwriting uses a software application to write patterns of pseudo-random meaningless data onto all of a hard drive’s sectors. There are key differentiators between data erasure and other overwriting methods, which can leave data intact and raise the risk of data breach or spill, identity theft and failure to achieve regulatory compliance. Many data eradication programs also provide multiple overwrites so that they support recognized government and industry standards. Good software should provide verification of data removal, which is necessary for meeting certain standards.

To protect data on lost or stolen media, some data erasure applications remotely destroy data if the password is incorrectly entered. Data erasure tools can also target specific data on a disk for routine erasure, providing a hacking protection method that is less time-consuming than software encryption. Hardware encryption built into drive firmware and integrated controllers is now a popular solution with no degradation in performance at all.

The firmware can encrypt at 256-bit full AES encryption faster than the drive electronics can write the data. Drives with this capability are known as self-encrypting drives (SED) and are present on most modern laptops and are increasingly used in Enterprise to protect data. Changing the encryption key will make all the drive data inaccessible so is an easy and very fast method of achieving 100% data erasure. Theft of an SED will induce physical asset loss, but data on the drive is inaccessible without the decryption key which is not stored on the drive.

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Degaussing magnetic data storage media

Degaussing magnetic data storage media

Degaussing magnetic data is the process of decreasing or eliminating a remnant magnetic field.

Data is stored in the magnetic media, such as hard drives, floppy disks, and magnetic tape, by making very small areas called magnetic domains change their magnetic alignment to be in the direction of an applied magnetic field. This phenomenon occurs in much the same way a compass needle points in the direction of the Earth’s magnetic field. Degaussing, commonly called erasure, leaves the domains in random patterns with no preference to orientation, thereby rendering previous data unrecoverable. There are some domains whose magnetic alignment is not randomized after degaussing. The information these domains represent is commonly called magnetic remanence or remanent magnetization. Proper degaussing will ensure there is insufficient magnetic remanence to reconstruct the data.

Erasure via Degaussing magnetic data may be accomplished in two ways: in AC erasure, the medium is degaussed by applying an alternating field that is reduced in amplitude over time from an initial high value (i.e., AC powered); in DC erasure, the medium is saturated by applying a unidirectional field (i.e., DC powered or by employing a permanent magnet). A degausser is a device that can generate a magnetic field for degaussing magnetic storage media

Degaussing magnetic data

Irreversible damage to some media types

Many forms of generic magnetic storage media can be reused after degaussing, including audio reel-to-reel tape, VHS videocassettes, and floppy disks. These older media types are simply a raw medium which are overwritten with fresh new patterns, created by fixed-alignment read/write heads.
For certain forms of computer data storage, however, such as modern hard drives and some tape backup drives, degaussing renders the magnetic media completely unusable and damages the storage system. This is due to the devices having an infinitely variable read/write head positioning mechanism which relies on special servo control data (e.g. Gray Code) that is meant to be permanently embedded into the magnetic media. This servo data is written onto the media a single time at the factory using special-purpose servo writing hardware.

The servo patterns are normally never overwritten by the device for any reason and are used to precisely position the read/write heads over data tracks on the media, to compensate for sudden jarring device movements, thermal expansion, or changes in orientation. Degaussing magnetic data indiscriminately removes not only the stored data but also the servo control data, and without the servo data the device is no longer able to determine where data is to be read or written on the magnetic medium. The medium must be low-level formatted to become usable again; with modern hard drives, this is generally not possible without manufacturer-specific and often model-specific service equipment.

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Safend Data Protection Suite

Q: What does Safend do?

Safend Data Protection Suite protects organizations from data leakage and theft with a single software product providing granular port and device control, transparent hard disk encryption, comprehensive removable media encryption and accurate content control. It provides complete protection of sensitive data-in-use, data-at-rest and data-in-motion, without sacrificing productivity.

Q: What is an “endpoint”?

“Endpoint” refers to all enterprise workstations, laptops, and kiosks.

Q: What kinds of devices are commonly connected at endpoints?

A myriad of devices are connected to endpoints, including media players, handhelds, smart phones, printers, scanners, multi-function peripherals (scan/fax/print), Disk on Keys, CD/DVD-RWs, removable hard-drives, and other portable storage devices.

Q: Where can I get answers to questions not addressed here?

You may contact Data Terminator at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for any questions concerning Safend.

Q: How can I evaluate Safend products?

To request an evaluation of the Safend Data Protection Suite go to the Data Protection Suite page or click here.

The Safend Auditor can be downloaded from our Safend product page or by clicking here.
To request an evaluation of the Safend Protector go to the Protector product page or click here.
To request evaluation of the Safend Encryptor go to the Encryptor product page or click here

Q: What new Safend products are on the horizon?

Safend has a very aggressive development cycle and strives for frequent product updates. Future versions will include even more granular control of an expanded number of endpoints, including mobile devices, and also include enhanced scalability and management features.

Since Safend recognizes the importance of Content Awareness as part of a data protection solution, we intend to introduce a new add-on product to our offering, Safend Inspector, during 2010. This product will further strengthen our offering by providing a comprehensive, accurate endpoint based data protection solution which enforces a data centric security policy across approved data transfer channels.

Contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it to join the Safend Inspector Beta Program

Q: Does Safend have any type of ‘software assurance’ or maintenance program?

Yes, Safend offers a comprehensive maintenance and support program for all customers. This program assures customer access to software bug fixes, updates and version releases. The program can be purchased for a one-, two- or three-year period, which can then be extended on an annual basis.

Q: How do Safend products compare to other endpoint solutions available today?

Safend Data Protection Suite has several advantages over other endpoint security products:

Safend Data Protection Suite allows you to control all your data protection measures with a single management server, single management console and a single lightweight agent.

Operational friendly deployment and management

Best of breed port and device control, with instant visibility of connected devices (both current and past), and granular, flexible control over all physical and wireless ports.

Hard disk encryption is completely transparent and does not change end user experience and common IT procedures

Comprehensive and enforceable removable media encryption

Full control over sensitive data both inside and outside organizational network

Track file transfers from encrypted devices even on non-corporate computers

Q: Why do I need additional endpoint protection if we have the latest versions of Microsoft Windows and a firewall deployed?

Operating systems such as Microsoft Windows XP have only limited endpoint security functionality built-in. Endpoint security is not included in domain controlling and management software, nor in network security solutions such as firewalls. A separate, incremental solution like Safend is required to gain full visibility and granular, flexible control of all endpoints.

Q: What products does Safend offer and what do they do?

Safend Data Protection Suite protects organizations from data leakage and theft with a single software product. It provides complete protection of sensitive data-in-use, data-at-rest and data-in-motion, without sacrificing productivity.

Safend Data Protection Suite consists of Safend Protector with its two add-on modules – Safend Encryptor and Safend Reporter. Safend Protector provides an enterprise grade, client-server management infrastructure for endpoint port control, device control and removable media encryption. Safend Encryptor, a license activated add-on module, expands the product security capabilities to protect the data on the endpoint in case of lost or theft. Safend Reporter add-on module provides visibility into the security status of the organization with automatic report generation. All functionality is provided by a single software product, with a single management server and a single lightweight agent.

Safend Auditor is additional clientless software for immediate risk assessment through endpoint port and device auditing.

Q: Is endpoint security a serious issue?

Endpoint security is a bona fide issue documented by analysts, the media, and organizations that have suffered losses because they did not have an endpoint security solution in place.

While most organizations adequately protect Internet connections via TCP/IP ports (for example, using a firewall), endpoints are often overlooked. An increasing amount of data points to the need to add endpoint protection to any proactive security policy.

Q: What risks are associated with these devices connected at endpoints?

Endpoints can present serious risks to the network and the organization as a whole:

Data Leakage: Large amounts of sensitive information and Intellectual Property can be stolen through endpoints

Infiltration: Malicious code including viruses, worms and Trojan horses can be infiltrated through endpoints

Non-Compliance: Personal information may be exposed at endpoints, leading to non-compliance with data privacy laws such as HIPAA and the Sarbanes Oxley Act.