Erasing hard drives with BleachBit

Discussions around the setup, operation, replacement, and disposal of clerk computers, not to include using MLS
bretep
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Re: Erasing hard drives with BleachBit

Postby bretep » Sat Jul 04, 2020 10:48 pm

You’re welcome! Glad you enjoyed the simplicity. Make sure you mark that USB drive or erase it. ;) Don’t want to accidentally erase a good computer.

bretep
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Re: Erasing hard drives with BleachBit

Postby bretep » Sat Jul 04, 2020 10:52 pm

Also, please star the GitHub project so it can get more attention. I hope it saves others time as well. ;)

enelson5
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Re: Erasing hard drives with BleachBit

Postby enelson5 » Sun Jul 05, 2020 11:01 am

It's odd to me that the official instructions https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/help/support/erasing-hard-drive?lang=eng still list BleachBit 2.2 as the hard drive wiping tool. The Sophos antivirus/antimalware software detects BleachBit as "Malicious Behavior" shortly after attempting to do the C: drive folder shredding step, so I'm pretty sure this is why we're not seeing the expected file deletion. Sophos just blocks BleachBit's ability to shred. I can't find any way to configure Sophos to white-list BleachBit, so the official wiping instructions are outdated and ineffective.

Is anyone from the Church Technology Department monitoring this thread? Are we really expected to find homemade or self-discovered software solutions to this requirement for disposal of old Clerk PCs? I'm not comfortable with this haphazard approach to deleting sensitive data. Surely there's an official church-sanctioned approach to something so critical.

russellhltn
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Re: Erasing hard drives with BleachBit

Postby russellhltn » Sun Jul 05, 2020 11:36 am

enelson5 wrote:Is anyone from the Church Technology Department monitoring this thread?

Probably not. I'd send feedback to the mht email.

It can be found in the Support Resources Overview.
Have you searched the Help Center? Try doing a Google search and adding "site:churchofjesuschrist.org/help" to the search criteria.

So we can better help you, please edit your Profile to include your general location.

bretep
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Re: Erasing hard drives with BleachBit

Postby bretep » Sun Jul 05, 2020 12:15 pm

While I agree the Church should update their recommendation, you should know the software I wrote is not haphazard, as it is my profession to write software you use every day.

So you feel more comfortable, It is using the same software bleachbit and all the “paid” software uses. (Yes they wrap open source software, read their license agreement.)

I just made it quick and easy without all the nonsense and you can read 100% of the code (which you can’t do with paid for software).

Wiping a drive is a very simple task. Depending on if it’s a magnetic spinning hard drive or a SSD you write over the block many times using random data, or flip all the bits to 0 and 1 many times as in the case of an SSD.

The Church recommends tools to use. Follow the guidance given, which is to wipe the drives. Use the provided instructions or find a tool that works for you.

D&C 58:26
26 For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward.

mmclark79
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Re: Erasing hard drives with BleachBit

Postby mmclark79 » Mon Jul 06, 2020 9:01 am

bretep wrote:You’re welcome! Glad you enjoyed the simplicity. Make sure you mark that USB drive or erase it. ;) Don’t want to accidentally erase a good computer.


Definitely! I labeled it "disk shredder". :-)

I'm an engineer by profession and have some experience programming and building personal computers, so I'm conversant but not an expert. I personally dislike repetitive tasks that take a lot time, so Bret's solution was excellent. I understand functionally what it is doing: it does what the MHT instructions are asking for, twice over. It wipes the drive before we send the old computer in for asset recovery. It would take me hours to recreate the same kind of solution or to figure out how to get BleachBIt to work effectively, so I'm grateful for the prepackaged solution Bret offered online. Many thanks!

enelson5
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Re: Erasing hard drives with BleachBit

Postby enelson5 » Mon Jul 06, 2020 6:20 pm

bretep wrote:While I agree the Church should update their recommendation, you should know the software I wrote is not haphazard, as it is my profession to write software you use every day.


I'll take your word on your capabilities, but I shouldn't have to put this task into the hands of someone I don't know, and whose capabilities or credentials must be verified by walking through source code. The issue here is liability in the case that somehow sensitive data was retrieved from a decommissioned clerk PC. If we follow the instructions and use the tools provided by the Church, we would be legally safe. If we go off on our own, and our solution isn't sanctioned by the Church and doesn't work as the Church intends, we could be personally liable if sensitive data is recovered from an incorrectly wiped drive. That's all I'm saying.

I've emailed mht@churchofjesuschrist.org for clarification and direction. I'll post back if they respond.

enelson5
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Re: Erasing hard drives with BleachBit

Postby enelson5 » Wed Jul 22, 2020 5:48 pm

Here's what I got from MHT:

TL;DR - They're working on a solution. Meanwhile, use whatever you think is a "good solution for your calling". The solution from bretep seems to be fair game to use, though completely unvetted by MHT. I'm using it and it appears to get the job done. Thanks bretep!

MHT: Our team is working to find a new solution now. Please see the link below to find a common solution other members are using in the meantime. Thank you for your patience!
https://tech.churchofjesuschrist.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=48&t=34208&start=10 (Note, the link was to this very thread!)

Eric: Interesting that you’d link to that thread. You’ll note that I posted my concerns about not having an official working solution from the Church for this problem. Are you really suggesting that I use some software written by a random contributor to wipe sensitive data from a clerk PC?

MHT: Our Clerk Computers team has just begun the process of researching a new solution to replace BleachBit. This process will not happen overnight. We recognize the situation is not ideal, but ultimately we trust you to find a good solution for your calling. As you’ve probably seen, a few members recommend using this: https://github.com/bretep/debian-custom-live-boot/releases/tag/v0.0.1. If other members have used it and recommend it, then it very well could be a trustworthy solution. Sorry for not giving you the concrete answer you’re looking for. We are working on the new solution as of this moment, and appreciate your patience with us as we work through this process.

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Mikerowaved
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Re: Erasing hard drives with BleachBit

Postby Mikerowaved » Wed Jul 22, 2020 6:47 pm

I use the Ultimate Boot CD, which can also be put on a bootable flash drive. There are no less than 10 disk wiping tools available.

No matter what you use, ONE PASS is all you need to prevent any chance of recovering previous data. There are MANY references to this on the Internet. Here's just one.

SSD's are slightly different and must use a wiping tool specifically for them to make sure unreachable data areas get wiped also.
So we can better help you, please edit your Profile to include your general location.


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