[conspire] Guest for today's CABAL meeting
rick at linuxmafia.com
Sat May 22 10:08:41 PDT 2010
Seems like it's going to be a cloudy and cold evening, so we'll be
indoors today. (Projected low temperature is 6 degrees C, 42 degrees F.)
----- Forwarded message from Paul Ross <paulross at igc.org> -----
Date: Sat, 22 May 2010 09:15:55 -0700 (GMT-07:00)
From: Paul Ross <paulross at igc.org>
To: "installers at linuxmafia.com" <installers at linuxmafia.com>
Subject: Debian for Gateway MX3231 Laptop?
Reply-To: Paul Ross <paulross at igc.org>
X-Mailer: EarthLink Zoo Mail 1.0
I'm a lifelong computer novice who shows up at your CABAL meetings once every few years. I have a Gateway laptop with Windows XP home edition. I'd like to have Debian installed alongside the XP if it makes sense to do that.
I also have accumulated a number of old IDE hard drives as well as several old desktops which I need to get rid of. I can take them to unwaste.com at a school in Fremont today or tomorrow. They claim that they will shred the hard drives. Can you tell me if there are serious data security risks involved in doing this? Do you have any alternative suggestions for disposal of the hard drives, etc? Should I smash them?
I'll bring the laptop over today, unless you already have a full schedule for today's meeting. Let me know what would be the best time to be there.
----- End forwarded message -----
----- Forwarded message from Rick Moen <rick at linuxmafia.com> -----
Date: Sat, 22 May 2010 09:47:40 -0700
From: Rick Moen <rick at linuxmafia.com>
To: Paul Ross <paulross at igc.org>
Subject: Re: Debian for Gateway MX3231 Laptop?
Organization: If you lived here, you'd be $HOME already.
Quoting Paul Ross (paulross at igc.org):
> Hi Rick,
> I'm a lifelong computer novice who shows up at your CABAL meetings
> once every few years. I have a Gateway laptop with Windows XP home
> edition. I'd like to have Debian installed alongside the XP if it
> makes sense to do that.
Sure, we can do that.
> I also have accumulated a number of old IDE hard drives as well as
> several old desktops which I need to get rid of. I can take them to
> unwaste.com at a school in Fremont today or tomorrow. They claim that
> they will shred the hard drives. Can you tell me if there are serious
> data security risks involved in doing this? Do you have any
> alternative suggestions for disposal of the hard drives, etc? Should
> I smash them?
Caution about recoverability of old data from hard drives depends on
your degree of paranoia. If you use good drive-erasing software, such
as Darik's Boot and Nuke (generally known as 'DBAN'), recovering your
data from the erased hard drive is going to be functionally impossible
for most interested parties unless they are highly motivated governments
or large corporations.
Darik's Boot and Nuke ("DBAN") is a self-contained boot disk that
securely wipes the hard disks of most computers. DBAN will automatically
and completely delete the contents of any hard disk that it can detect,
which makes it an appropriate utility for bulk or emergency data
DBAN is a means of ensuring due diligence in computer recycling, a way
of preventing identity theft if you want to sell a computer, and a good
way to totally clean a Microsoft Windows installation of viruses and
spyware. DBAN prevents or thoroughly hinders all known techniques of
hard disk forensic analysis.
DBAN is a free software product that can be used at home or in a
business at zero cost. The only official place to obtain DBAN is by
download at this Web site. We do not sell DBAN media.
Darik's Boot and Nuke (commonly known as DBAN) is an open source
project hosted on SourceForge. The program is designed to securely
erase a hard disk until data is permanently removed and no longer
recoverable, which is achieved by overwriting the data with random
numbers generated by Mersenne twister or ISAAC (a PRNG). The Gutmann
method is included with DBAN.
DBAN can be booted from a floppy disk, CD, DVD, or USB flash drive and
it is based on Linux. It supports IDE, SCSI and SATA hard drives. DBAN
can be configured to automatically wipe every hard disk that it sees on
a system, making it very useful for unattended data destruction
scenarios. DBAN exists for Intel x86 and PowerPC systems.
DBAN, like other methods of data destruction, is suitable for use prior
to computer recycling for personal or commercial situations, such as
donating or selling a computer. In the case of malware infection, DBAN
can be used before returning a disk to production.
The DBAN project is partially funded and supported by GEEP, an
electronics and e-waste recycling company.
The dwipe program that DBAN uses has been forked and is available as a
standalone program nwipe.
Being pretty thorough, DBAN takes about 3-4 hours to do its job,
There are, of course, people for whom DBAN isn't good enough. One I've
worked with is the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, for whom I
once helped build a computational cluster of 1024 Linux-based computers.
While we were building, testing, and certifying the cluster,
occasionally one of the nodes would need repair work. LLNL would always
remove the hard drive before sending it to us, because there was
literally no wiping software they were willing to trust to ensure that
the data were unrecoverable.
My understanding is that when hard drives are decommissioned from the
secure labs of places like LLNL, they literally are obliged to melt down
the hard drive platters in a smelter.
These two Wikipedia articles have more about methods of data erasure
that stop short of destroying the recording media:
Rick Moen "In stories about pirates, remember the
rick at linuxmafia.com adjectival form is 'piradical'."
McQ! (4x80) -- FakeAPStylebook
----- End forwarded message -----
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