[GLLUG] The best way to decommission a remote server?

Alain Williams addw at phcomp.co.uk
Tue Dec 17 10:37:58 UTC 2013

On Tue, Dec 17, 2013 at 09:59:40AM -0000, Martin A. Brooks wrote:
> On Tue, December 17, 2013 09:57, Oliver Howe wrote:
> > Anyone have a better way?
> dd is likely to be more successful.

What are you trying to achieve ? Presumably protect stuff from being grabbed by
whoever subsequently has access to the hardware.

What stuff - customer data or operating system programs that everyone has access
to ?

How much effort do you think someone will put into to try to recover the
customer data ? If a lot then 'rm' just puts blocks back onto the file system free
list, you might want to use a program like 'shred' to overwrite blocks first.

Customer data is the most important. This is likely to be under /home or /var or similar.
I would concentrate of clearing that first. Then worry about things like
passwords in /etc/shadow.

Beware doing 'dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/hard-disk'  The dd program has several
libraries dynamically linked into it, on one *nix a few years ago when I
overwrote a file that was memory mapped (dump doing a restore), the program died
when part of its memory image got replaced by zeros.

Also think about where the backups are done to.

Alain Williams
Linux/GNU Consultant - Mail systems, Web sites, Networking, Programmer, IT Lecturer.
+44 (0) 787 668 0256  http://www.phcomp.co.uk/
Parliament Hill Computers Ltd. Registration Information: http://www.phcomp.co.uk/contact.php
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