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A Brief Introduction of Military Grade Data Wipe & Shredding Techniques in Digital World

Karen Chard ~ Modified: 17-06-2022 ~ Data Wipe ~ 5 Minutes Reading


Here I will list the military standard data wipe methods and their application. You will learn the major difference between all of these military-grade data erasure modes & which Shredding method is best for you. Some popular military-grade disc cleaning techniques are US DOD (5220.22-m), NIST 800-88, Write Zero, Random Data, US Navy – MFM, US Navy – RLL, US Air Force, NATO Standard, or Peter Gutmann.

In this article:

  1. Why So many Military Grade Data Wipe Methods
  2. Random
  3. Zero
  4. US DOD (5220.22-m)
  5. NIST 800-88
  6. Peter Gutmann
  7. Conclusion – Best Military-standard Data Wipe Mode

Why There are So Many Military Grade Data Wipe Methods?

We all know that there are many Military Grade Data Wipe methods. I mentioned some of their names above. But there is a doubt in the minds of users about why there is so many modes. The reason is very simple, not everyone verifies on software-based data wipe methods.

The reason is simple, there are many advanced Hardware-based Hard Drive Data Recovery Software available at present time. These applications can recover data even after simply wiping it. So, many governments & organizations have independently devised many modes to overwrite data. They prefer these military-grade data wipe methods to completely erase whole data.

How to Clean Disk with Military Grade Standards?

There are many applications available at present time to do military-grade data wipe methods. One such software is RecoveryTools Disk Wipe Software. The utility will provide users many military-grade standards including Zero, Random, WipeFile, Zero & Random, Random & Zero, US Navy, US DoD, US Air Force, Microsoft Cipher, Bit Toggle, NATO Standard, Peter Gutmann, etc.military grade disk wipe modes

Free Download the Application from the below button:

Download for Windows

Follow these steps to Learn its working:

  • Install & Run the software on Windows PC.
  • Load Files or folders to Wipe data. Users have the choice to select Logical Drive also.
  • Choose from the list of items displayed in its panel to erase.
  • Select from the list of Multiple Military-standard Disk Wipe modes.
  • Apply filters & click on the Wipe button to start the process.

Random Data Wipe Method:

In the Random Data Wipe technique, a user can overwrite the existing data stored in a disk with Zero & Ones. The sequence can be applied randomly with values like zero & one. However, in some cases, the random data erase method overwrites the data with other random characters as well.

A user can apply Random Data Wipe with Zero or in some cases 1 Pass:

Pass 1: Write a Random character. By default, the software will provide a DIY data sanitization process for the Data Wipe method.

Zero Fill Wipe Method:

In this approach, the software will overwrite data with Zero value. After wiping data with Zero Fill, most of the presently Data Recovery software failed to retrieve data from a single pass. More passes make the erasure of data more secure but will also take more time in wiping information.

US DOD (5220.20-m) Data Wipe Standard:

This method completely complies with the data erasure security specification i.e., 5220.22 M for the removal of data from the US Department of Defense.

The US DOD Data Wipe method usually implemented with Three Passes:

Pass-1: In pass one, the tool will overwrite all paths & locations with binary Zeros.

Pass-2: in the second pass, all addressable locations will be overwritten with binary One’s value.

Pass-3: in the next pass, the software will overwrite all address paths with a random pattern.

Finally, the tool will verify the final overwrite pass.

NIST 800-88 Data Wipe Method:

The NIST (National Institute for Standards & Technology), 800-88 was released in 2006 & later revised in 2012. In NIST wipe method, the tool will use the strongest overwrite pattern to remove complete delete data from the drive. At present time, most organizations prefer NIST standard data wipe in the USA.

It has three different categories to wipe data completely from the disk.

NIST-Clear: in NIST Clear mode, data will wipe from all user-addressable locations with logical techniques.

NIST-Purge: Physical & logical techniques are applied to prevent anyhow data recovery via any lab technology.

NIST-Destroy: It is the process of physical destruction with advanced techniques to avoid any possibility of data recovery. You cannot reuse the device after NIST-destroy mode.

Peter Gutmann Data Wipe Method:

Peter Gutmann uses a total of 35 Passes to completely wipe out data from the disk. It was developed by Peter Gutmann in the year 1996, & was one of the most advanced & robust techniques to wipe data. Peter Gutmann uses a random value, in place of just zeroes like in other methods, for the initial four & the last four passes. In between, it uses a very complex pattern to overwrite data from Pass 5 to Pass 31.

Which One is the Best Military-grade Data Wipe Method?

I have explained above many ways to perform military standard Data Wipe methods. Some of the most popular techniques are US DOD (5220.22-m), NIST 800-88, Write Zero, Random Data, US Navy – MFM, US Navy – RLL, US Air Force, NATO Standard, or Peter Gutmann. But, choosing the best out of them completely depends upon your hardware & requirements.

For example, in the 90s, hard drives use completely different encoding techniques, so recovering data from those drives was quite easy even after wiping it with a professional toolkit. In that scenario, the best way to shred data was Peter Gutmann, that uses 35 passes which is almost impossible to retrieve back data.

One more important thing that needs to keep in mind while choosing the military-grade data wiping mode, more the number of passes, the more your data will be erased securely & the more it will take time to perform the process.

So, if you have not so important data, just want to ensure it to wipe out from your drive, you need to choose the simplest method i.e., Zero or Random or both. Because it will save a lot of your time.