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Delete vs Wipe

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Deleting data is the process of requesting that an operating system delete a file or list of files. There are often various ways of recovering a file that has been deleted in this fashion. Operating systems commonly include a restore function that allows users to recover recently deleted files. Beyond that, operating systems commonly don't physically delete data but simply remove it from their registry of files such as a file allocation table. As such, deleted files can be recovered until the operating system sufficiently reuses all of the physical space the files occupied.
Wiping data is the process of using specialized security tools that overwrite data on a data storage device. This process may include multiple passes that write all zeros, all ones or random data to physical devices. Security tools for wiping data may provide a certificate to validate that the data is gone. Such tools will pay special attention to hidden files, restore functionality of operating systems and other common pitfalls of data deletion.

Delete vs Wipe

From an information security perspective, it can be assumed that a file that has been deleted can be recovered. Any files that have been wiped with a sufficiently advanced security tool can be deemed unrecoverable.

Recovery of Deleted Files

Beyond an operating system's file restore functionality, a file can often be recovered until the operating system uses the space again. This is unpredictable and can be measured in years or can take minutes.

Multiple Overwrites

Multiple overwrites are often used by data wiping tools. Various standards exist for this that usually involve three complete passes over all target data. For example, all zeros, all ones and a random pattern may be considered a secure wipe.
Delete vs Wipe
Data Delete
Data Wipe
Using an operating system interface or command to logically delete a file that may physically remain in storage.
Using a specialized tool that performs multiple overwrites on data to make it generally impossible to recover the data.

Information Security

This is the complete list of articles we have written about information security.
Audit Trail
Canary Trap
Confidential Information
Critical Infrastructure
Cryptographic Keys
Cryptographic Salt
Cybersecurity Risk
Data Breach
Data Remanence
Data Room
Data Security
Deep Magic
Defense In Depth
Digital Identity
Failure Of Imagination
Incident Response
IoT Security
Key Stretching
Network Security
Operations Security
Overlay Network
Password Entropy
Password Fatigue
Proof Of Work
Secure Code Review
Security As A Service
Security Controls
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