Hard Drive Wiping

Where can I securely wipe my hard drive?

Hard drives can carry sensitive information and it’s very important to make sure hard drives are properly wiped before donating or recycling any electronic equipment. Hard drives need to be securely wiped to ensure any information is nonrecoverable. We securely wipe every hard drive using industry standard wiping practices. We can provide HIPAA complaint & DoD level hard drive wipes. Contact us to learn more about how we can safely wipe your office or organization’s sensitive data.

The Department of Defense Wipe Standard

We employ the same technologies to wipe our hard drives as the DoD. Specifically, the DoD 5220.22-M standard, which is a software based data sanitation method used in various file shredder and data destruction programs to overwrite existing information on a hard drive or other storage device.

Erasing a hard drive using the DoD 5220.22-M data sanitation method will prevent all software based file recovery methods from lifting information from the drive and should also prevent most, if not all, hardware based recovery methods. There are several data wiping tools that utilize the DoD 5220.22-M standard. We use a utility called DBAN.

The DoD 5220.22-M method is often incorrectly referenced as DoD 5220.2-M (.2-M instead of .22-M).

DoD 5220.22-M Wipe Method

The DoD 5220.22-M data sanitation method is usually implemented in the following way:

  • Pass 1: Writes a zero and verifies the write
  • Pass 2: Writes a one and verifies the write
  • Pass 3: Writes a random character and verifies the write

You might also come across various iterations of DoD 5220.22-M including DoD 5220.22-M (E), DoD 5220.22-M (ECE), or others. Each will probably use a character and its compliment (as in 1 and 0) and varying frequencies of verifications.

While less common, there is another version of DoD 5220.22-M that writes a 97 during the last pass instead of a random character.

More About DoD 5220.22-M

The DoD 5220.22-M sanitation method was originally defined by the US National Industrial Security Program (NISP) in the National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual (NISPOM) located here (PDF) and is one of the most common sanitation methods used in data destruction software.