So when it comes to securely deleting your files or wiping an entire hard disk drive, it's pretty useful to have a dedicated application for that purpose. In that sense "Wipe" is an open-source application that is designed to use with the GNU/Linux operating system.
Why should I delete my files using "this method"?
Well, if you're the only person who have access to your PC/Laptop and doesn't have an Internet connection live all the time, then the need is somewhat less yet, lets say that you're selling your old computer and have sensitive information on the HDD (which are not even encrypted, etc) then it is advised to perform a proper/secure date erasing method which will wipe out the possibility of letting a third party have access to your sensitive data.
Remember, "Wipe" is a command line utility (if you know any GUI front-ends, please let me know :)). So you'll have to use the command line a bit... but it's pretty easy and heck, it might even teach you little about the GNU/Linux command line on the bright side :).
So, I assume that you use Ubuntu for this tutorial. Let's install Wipe in Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal first. Enter the below command in your GNU/Linux Terminal.
sudo apt-get install wipe
This is very small application and should install within seconds. Using "Wipe" to delete a file or a folder is pretty simple. Say that I have a file called "2.mp3" in my Home folder, then I open the Terminal window and enter the below command.
wipe 2.mp3It'll also ask for the conformation which is pretty useful since we can say "NO" if we miss-typed something (yikes!).
The "r" attribute is necessary while deleting directories (folders), So if I wanted to delete a folder named "temp", then I'd use the below command.
wipe -r temp
The basic principle for any secure data deletion utility is simple actually. It just "fills up" with random data (raw-data, unreadable, useless stuff...) to the hard disk sectors which are occupied by the file or the folder that you want to delete securely.
Usually these utilities do this several times (just in case :P) and "Wipe", by default do this "31" times!, and because of that, even if you have a slightly larger file (say 5MB or more) then it'll take some time.
So to speed up things a bit by using the "q" attribute if you we like, which would reduce the passes to "4". For instance,
wipe -q 2.mp3
If you want more than 1 attribute to be present, then use the proper attribute "symbol", one after the other. For instance, if I wanted deleted a folder named "temp", using less overwrite then I'd type...
wipe -rq temp
If you have any questions, then as always with when learning GNU/Linux command line, read its manual launched by using the below command.
man wipeGood luck.