Solid State Drives–Insuring Data Erasure Difficult

One of the recommended procedures when disposing or recycling a computer or hard drive is to completely erase the existing data on the hard drive by reformatting, overwriting the data or using a drive wiping program.  This works quite well on standard ATA, SATA, and SCSI drives that use spinning magnetic platters.  Apparently, these techniques do not reliable remove data from solid state drives (SSDs).

There currently are no reliable methods to guarantee complete erasure of data on SSDs.  The exception appears to be when the hard drive contents are encrypted.  Simply deleting the stored encryption key renders the rest of the data unusable.  There has been some experimental research into a solution, but nothing has been adopted by the SSD manufacturers yet.  For more details, there is a more complete article on TechRepublic.  The original research can be found at Non-Volatile Systems Laboratory web site.

For the interim, physical destruction via industrial shredding appears to be the best solution to sanitizing data on solid state drives.


About the Author:

I am a cybersecurity and IT instructor, cybersecurity analyst, pen-tester, trainer, and speaker. I am an owner of the WyzCo Group Inc. In addition to consulting on security products and services, I also conduct security audits, compliance audits, vulnerability assessments and penetration tests. I also teach Cybersecurity Awareness Training classes. I work as an information technology and cybersecurity instructor for several training and certification organizations. I have worked in corporate, military, government, and workforce development training environments I am a frequent speaker at professional conferences such as the Minnesota Bloggers Conference, Secure360 Security Conference in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, the (ISC)2 World Congress 2016, and the ISSA International Conference 2017, and many local community organizations, including Chambers of Commerce, SCORE, and several school districts. I have been blogging on cybersecurity since 2006 at

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