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Data Erasing

The secure erase feature of Aiken Workbench Version 2 was awarded the security certification of the ADISA organization, after passing rigorous tests at the Cyber Defence Center of the University of South Wales (UK).

The PC Auditor and the Hardware Auditor modules of Aiken WorkBench allow the secure erasing of HDD and SSD drives connected to a computer. They can use both software and firmware-based secure erase methods:

  • The software methods overwrite with zeros or with a random pattern all the disk sectors that are accessible to the operating system. The user can also remove the HPA and DCO hidden areas of the drives before erasure, so they can also be overwritten.

  • The firmware methods trigger the execution of a program stored by the drive manufacturer in the disk firmware, in compliance with the ANSI ATA specifications. The firmware programs overwrite the full surface of the drive, including the HPA and DCO areas, and the remapped sectors. The PC Auditor allows the ad-hoc removal of the so-called "freeze lock", a security feature on the drives that prevents the disk from accepting firmware commands.

The Mobile Auditor module of Aiken WorkBench allows the secure erasing of mobile devices operating with the two most prevalent platforms:

  • Android: the storage media is overwritten with zeros and the device is reset to factory defaults.
  • Apple iOS: The firmware on the device is fully replaced and upgraded to the latest version. The encryption key on the device is replaced, making all user data completely unrecoverable.

Once every device has been successfully erased, Aiken WorkBench generates a certificate containing the serial number and model of the device, the erase method used, and the erasure timestamp, among other details. This signature is stored as an encryted object in the MySQL database, and since only the Aiken WorkBench programs can decrypt the information, it cannot be meaningfully altered by any means. The reporting facility of the Aiken WorkBench can later be used to print certificates of erasure that are based on true facts beyond doubt.


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