Erasing Files using WSA. Is it secure?

  • 1 November 2013
  • 5 replies

Userlevel 2
I notice that you can permanently erase files with Webroot (or so it says!). How secure is it? Can they be recovered or traced? What does it do when it wipes a file?  I have some personal documents that I need  to put on my PC to edit. I want them permanently deleted afterwards so they cant be accessed after I`ve finished editing/copying them to my flashdrive. If I use webroot to do it, will that be ok? Any advice greatly appreciated..

Best answer by RetiredTripleHelix 1 November 2013, 18:32

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5 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +6
Quick note: It deletes them securely but Windows is a leaky operating system it saves temporary files that you can't see or delete yourself - if you're going against the FBI you need to encrypt the entire drive. WSA will work ok unless someone is going to forensically investigate your drive, like the FBI or something.
Userlevel 7
Badge +56
Also you can turn up the settings to make them unrecoverable up to 7 Passes:
Userlevel 5
Personally I'd say 7 passes would be overkill, even dealing with .gov agencies, when my company surpluses computers I usually just write 0s one pass which playing with tools I found online that worked well enough to keep me from recovering anything.
Short version, yes webroot secure erase is secure even if you're Jack Bauer 
Userlevel 7
To be honest I do not really think that 7 passes is overkill as it depnds on the reasons for wanting to secure erase something, and who is likely to want or need to try to recover it.  So, if you just want to make the delte somewhat more secure you can use the 'Normal' or 3 passes but I would agree with TH that if you are really looking for absolute (as far as it can be) peace of mind 7 is the way to go.
Personally, when I ditch an HDD I 'Nuke' it...which is definitively unrecoverable but it does take an absolute age.  WSA offers a good choice of compromises IMHO, between speed and non recoverability in this area. 😉
Userlevel 5
it all depends on the threat and the tools available to them, for the common threats to a home user or SMB the normal settings will defeat any commonly available tools. There's a ton of controdictory articles out there but in my experience even after one pass writing 0s on a disk w DBAN recovering files is iffy with commonly available tools.