How to: Erase Hard Drives at Linux Command Line

How to: Erase Hard Drives at Linux Command Line

The simplest way is the dd command. Simply type:
dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/

This process takes a while but it will write zeros to the whole hard drive. The DD command can also be used to write zeros to just one partition, and should work on just about any Unix or Unix like system. But this may not be the end all and you’ll want a bit more security. Luckily several utilities exist for just such an occasion.

Wipe is one of the better ones I’ve seen. It claims to use the Gutmann method as one of it’s processes.

Another method is one of the simplest and makes reading man pages profitable. The good old rm command with -P does a three time wipe on each file, by (according to the man page) writing “first with the byte pattern 0xff, then 0x00, and then 0xff again.

Secure rm or “srm” is a fancy remove program that overwrites the files it deletes much like rm -P command. By default it overwrites, renames, then truncates the file(s) before unlinking and removing them. Two flags can be specified for the really paranoid, -m does “overwrite the file with 7 US DoD compliant passes (0xF6, 0x00, 0xFF, random, 0x00, 0xFF, random)” and -z which zeros the files after overwriting. So srm -rf -m -z /dev/<drive name>/ would do a pretty good job of killing everything on the hard drive.

Another trick I picked up from the FreeBSD mailing list is: split -b 200m /dev/random randomdata ; sync && rm randomdata* This uses part of my preferred method of splitting the hard drive into multiple partitions then writing random data over each piece. If can be ran as many times as needed and by changing the -b flag’s size could make most data very unreadable.

And last but not least, Techrepublic has a post about using Shred to delete files and filesystems.

Gods: Lady Helena

The Goddess Lady Helena

Lady Helena is frequently portrayed as a beautiful dark haired woman. She wears a simple mask to hide her features, but dresses in revealing clothing. In one hand she holds a staff. In the other hand is a human heart pierced through with an arrow.

Lady Helena’s goal is to spread light throughout the world. Her Church does this by maintaining buildings that are essentially brothels in towns with a population over 500. They also have traveling caravans that visit many smaller towns and cities.

The Church maintains Orphanages in bigger cities. Orphans are always female. Male Orphans are passed over to the Brothers of Talric, although some maybe kept and trained as servants or Temple Guards. Usually such positions are given to brothers and family of female Orphans who become priestesses.

Orphans are not forced to join the church, but they are expected to work as servants while attending classes in basic trade skills. At the end of their education they are frequently found apprenticeships, and are given an amount of money sufficient to set them up in their chosen trade at the end of a successful apprenticeship.

If they wish to enter the Priesthood, they are allowed to become a Hand Maiden in Training at the age of 14. They can become full HandMaidens at the age of 16 if they meet all the requirements of the training and have been judged by the majority of the older priestesses to be ready.

A standard temple layout has a large common room downstairs. At the far end is an altar to Lady Helena flanked on the left side by a twice life size statue of her. An area in the corner frequently has a couple of comfortable couches and privacy screens for potential clients and Handmaidens to conduct interviews of each other. Upstairs from there are private rooms for each Handmaiden. Half of the second floor is a common area that the rest of the staff and guards share.

Handmaidens of Lady Helena

Priestess of Lady Helena are known as Handmaidens. Each Church is staffed by between five and thirty priestesses. There are additional guards and support staff that are frequently priestesses in training or orphans picked up by the church.

A priestess of Lady Helena acts as a courtesan, a confident, a companion, and even frequently as a mediator. They are highly intelligent women who are trained in courtesan duties, business, politics and many other pursuits. After successfully serving the Church for a number of years, many Handmaidens will marry a favorite client. Such marriages are very loving, but also very beneficial to both parties. Many a man and his business finds increased fortune under the helpful guidance of former Handmaidens.

Priestesses are given a tenth of the donations they directly solicited over their life in service as a dowry. In return they and their husband are expected to donate one percent of their income after taxes back to the Church. This arrangement is usually extremely profitable for each party.

If a former Hand Maiden finds herself in dire means, poor and widowed for instance, she is frequently welcomed back into the Church and given a role in helping to teach her knowledge to new Handmaidens.

Characters as Handmaidens

15+ Intelligence
16+ Charisma
Sex is female
3 Knowledge skills at 3 or higher
Characters also have an automatic Patron in the form of the Church.

Game Use
Lady Helena was originally built for Dungeon and Dragons 3.5 Edition, but could be easily updated to 4th or even 5th edition, or used in any other Fantasy world you’d like.