Can data ever really be erased…

There are a number of theories that whatever you do, data from a hard drive can never really be erased. There is always some sort of residual magnetic force that can be interrogated. This really is the stuff of science fiction and even if it is true which is doubtful, it certainly would never be economically viable.

A computer scientist named Peter Gutmann caused much controversy when he published a paper claiming that overwritten data can be recovered using magnetic force microscopy. Even where the binary magnetic returns are overwritten, a sensitive enough instrument would be able to read the subtle changes in magnetic variations. He claimed that to completely eliminate these variations a minimum of thirty five overwrites should be performed so that data cannot be recovered.

Whilst this is all fine in theory, it has never actually been put to the test and remains unproven. Nevertheless, many took his theory as gospel and it has even featured in many high profile computer forensic cases. Peter Gutmann’s theory has become urban legend and clients often refer to this when their data is unrecoverable!

In reality if you want to make sure your data can never be recovered it’s pretty easy. A low level format or secure erasure program will do the job. To be sure though, physically destroy the hard drive afterwards as well. As long as the platters inside are smashed, we guarantee no data recovery company or expert will ever be able to recover the data!