The Gutmann method is an algorithm for securely erasing the contents of computer hard drives, such as files. In Mathematics, Computing, Linguistics and related subjects an algorithm is a sequence of finite instructions often used for Calculation Data remanence is the residual representation of Data that has been in some way nominally erased or removed A hard disk drive ( HDD) commonly referred to as a hard drive, hard disk, or fixed disk drive, is a Non-volatile storage device A computer file is a block of Arbitrary Information, or resource for storing information which is available to a Computer program and is usually Devised by Peter Gutmann and Colin Plumb, it does so by writing a series of 35 patterns over the region to be erased. Peter Gutmann is a computer scientist in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand. A pattern, from the French patron, is a theme of recurring events or objects sometimes referred to as elements of a set

The selection of patterns assumes that the user doesn't know the encoding mechanism used by the drive, and so includes patterns designed specifically for three different types of drives. A user who knows which type of encoding the drive uses can choose only those patterns intended for their drive. A drive with a different encoding mechanism would need different patterns. Most of the patterns in the Gutmann method were designed for older MFM/RLL encoded disks. This article is about Modified Frequency Modulation For other uses of MFM see the MFM (disambiguation Run length limited or RLL coding is a technique that is used to store data on recordable media Relatively modern drives no longer use the older encoding techniques, making many of the patterns specified by Gutmann 'superfluous'. [1]

## Technical overview

One standard way to recover data that has been overwritten on a hard drive is to capture the analog signal which is read by the drive head prior to being decoded. This analog signal will be close to an ideal digital signal, but the differences are what is important. By calculating the ideal digital signal and then subtracting it from the actual analog signal it is possible to ignore that last information written, amplify the remaining signal and see what was written before.

For example:

`Analog signal:        +11. 1  -8. 9  +9. 1 -11. 1 +10. 9  -9. 1Ideal Digital signal: +10. 0 -10. 0 +10. 0 -10. 0 +10. 0 -10. 0 Difference:            +1. 1  +1. 1  -0. 9  -1. 1  +0. 9  +0. 9Previous signal:      +11    +11   -9   -11    +9    +9`

This can then be done again to see the previous data written:

`Recovered signal:     +11    +11   -9   -11    +9    +9Ideal Digital signal: +10. 0 +10. 0 -10. 0 -10. 0 +10. 0 +10. 0 Difference:            +1    +1    +1    -1    -1    -1Previous signal:      +10   +10   -10   -10   -10   -10`

In 1996, when this method was developed, it was possible to use a digital oscilloscope to recover eight levels of overwrites, without damaging the drive. An oscilloscope (commonly abbreviated to scope or O-scope) is a type of Electronic test equipment that allows signal Voltages to be viewed Since then higher disk densities have probably reduced the number of overwrites necessary to completely erase data.

However, overwriting the disk repeatedly with random data will not always work. The permittivity of a medium changes with the frequency of the magnetic field. Permittivity is a Physical quantity that describes how an Electric field affects and is affected by a Dielectric medium and is determined by the ability This means that a lower frequency field will penetrate deeper into the magnetic material on the drive than a high frequency one. So a low frequency signal will still be detectable even after it has been overwritten hundreds of times by a high frequency signal.

The patterns used are designed to apply alternating magnetic fields of various frequencies and various phases to the drive surface and thereby approximate degaussing the material below the surface of the drive.

## Method

An overwrite session consists of a lead-in of four random write patterns, followed by patterns 5-31, executed in a random order, and a lead-out of four more random patterns. The Insert key (often abbreviated INS) is a key commonly found on Computer keyboards It is primarily used to switch between the two text-entering modes on Randomness is a lack of order Purpose, cause, or predictability

Each of patterns 5-31 was designed with a specific magnetic media encoding scheme in mind, which each pattern targets. Magnetic storage and magnetic recording are terms from Engineering referring to the storage of Data on a Magnetized medium In Communications a code is a rule for converting a piece of Information (for example a letter, Word, Phrase, or The drive is written to for all the passes even though the table below only shows the bit patterns for the passes that are specifically targeted at each encoding scheme. The end result should obscure any data on the drive so that only the most advanced physical scanning (e. g. using a magnetic force microscope) of the drive is likely to be able to recover any data. An Atomic force microscopy (AFM Unlike typical AFM magnetic materials are used for the sample and tip so that not only the atomic force but also the magnetic interaction are detected

The series of patterns is as follows:

Gutmann overwrite method
PassData WrittenPattern written to disk for targeted encoding scheme
In Binary notationIn Hex notation(1,7) RLL(2,7) RLLMFM
1(Random)(Random)
2(Random)(Random)
3(Random)(Random)
4(Random)(Random)
501010101 01010101 0101010155 55 55100. The binary numeral system, or base-2 number system, is a Numeral system that represents numeric values using two symbols usually 0 and 1. In Mathematics and Computer science, hexadecimal (also base -, hexa, or hex) is a Numeral system with a Run length limited or RLL coding is a technique that is used to store data on recordable media Run length limited or RLL coding is a technique that is used to store data on recordable media This article is about Modified Frequency Modulation For other uses of MFM see the MFM (disambiguation . . 000 1000. . .
610101010 10101010 10101010AA AA AA00 100. . . 0 1000. . .
710010010 01001001 0010010092 49 2400 100000. . . 0 100. . .
801001001 00100100 1001001049 24 920000 100000. . . 100 100. . .
900100100 10010010 0100100124 92 49100000. . . 00 100. . .
1000000000 00000000 0000000000 00 00101000. . . 1000. . .
1100010001 00010001 0001000111 11 110 100000. . .
1200100010 00100010 0010001022 22 2200000 100000. . .
1300110011 00110011 0011001133 33 3310. . . 1000000. . .
1401000100 01000100 0100010044 44 44000 100000. . .
1501010101 01010101 0101010155 55 55100. . . 000 1000. . .
1601100110 01100110 0110011066 66 660000 100000. . . 000000 10000000. . .
1701110111 01110111 0111011177 77 77100010. . .
1810001000 10001000 1000100088 88 8800 100000. . .
1910011001 10011001 1001100199 99 990 100000. . . 00 10000000. . .
2010101010 10101010 10101010AA AA AA00 100. . . 0 1000. . .
2110111011 10111011 10111011BB BB BB00 101000. . .
2211001100 11001100 11001100CC CC CC0 10. . . 0000 10000000. . .
2311011101 11011101 11011101DD DD DD0 101000. . .
2411101110 11101110 11101110EE EE EE0 100010. . .
2511111111 11111111 11111111FF FF FF0 100. . . 000 100000. . .
2610010010 01001001 0010010092 49 2400 100000. . . 0 100. . .
2701001001 00100100 1001001049 24 920000 100000. . . 100 100. . .
2800100100 10010010 0100100124 92 49100000. . . 00 100. . .
2901101101 10110110 110110116D B6 DB0 100. . .
3010110110 11011011 01101101B6 DB 6D100. . .
3111011011 01101101 10110110DB 6D B600 100. . .
32(Random)(Random)
33(Random)(Random)
34(Random)(Random)
35(Random)(Random)

Encoded bits shown in bold are what should be present in the ideal pattern, although due to the encoding the complementary bit is actually present at the start of the track.

## Criticism

Some have criticized Gutmann's claim that intelligence agencies are likely to be able to read overwritten data. [2]

The delete function in most operating systems simply marks the space occupied by the file as reusable (removes the pointer to the file) without immediately removing any of its contents. An operating system (commonly abbreviated OS and O/S) is the software component of a Computer system that is responsible for the management and coordination At this point the file can be fairly easily recovered by numerous recovery applications. However, once the space is overwritten with other data, there is no known way to recover it. It cannot be done with software alone since the storage device only returns its current contents via its normal interface. Gutmann claims that intelligence agencies have sophisticated tools, among these magnetic force microscopes, that, together with image analysis, can detect the previous values of bits on the affected area of the media (for example hard disk). An intelligence agency is a governmental agency that is devoted to the Information gathering (known in the context as " intelligence " An Atomic force microscopy (AFM Unlike typical AFM magnetic materials are used for the sample and tip so that not only the atomic force but also the magnetic interaction are detected Image analysis is the extraction of meaningful information from Images mainly from Digital images by means of Digital image processing techniques A bit is a binary digit, taking a value of either 0 or 1 Binary digits are a basic unit of Information storage and communication A hard disk drive ( HDD) commonly referred to as a hard drive, hard disk, or fixed disk drive, is a Non-volatile storage device

This has not been proven one way or the other, and there is no published evidence as to intelligence agencies' current ability to recover files whose sectors have been overwritten, although published Government security procedures clearly consider an overwritten disk to still be sensitive. [3]

Companies specializing in recovery from damaged media cannot recover completely overwritten files. Data recovery is the process of salvaging data from damaged failed corrupted or inaccessible secondary storage media when it cannot be accessed normally These companies specialize in the recovery of information from media that has been damaged by fire, water or otherwise. No private data recovery company claims that it can reconstruct completely overwritten data as of now.

Gutmann himself has responded to some of these criticisms and also criticized how his algorithm has been abused in an epilogue to his original paper, in which he states:

 “ In the time since this paper was published, some people have treated the 35-pass overwrite technique described in it more as a kind of voodoo incantation to banish evil spirits than the result of a technical analysis of drive encoding techniques. As a result, they advocate applying the voodoo to PRML and EPRML drives even though it will have no more effect than a simple scrubbing with random data. In Computer data storage, Partial Response Maximum Likelihood (PRML is a method for converting the weak Analog signal from the head of a magnetic disk or tape drive In Magnetic storage for computers extended partial response maximum likelihood, also known as extended PRML or EPRML, is an evolutionary improvement on In fact performing the full 35-pass overwrite is pointless for any drive since it targets a blend of scenarios involving all types of (normally-used) encoding technology, which covers everything back to 30+-year-old MFM methods (if you don't understand that statement, re-read the paper). An Atomic force microscopy (AFM Unlike typical AFM magnetic materials are used for the sample and tip so that not only the atomic force but also the magnetic interaction are detected If you're using a drive which uses encoding technology X, you only need to perform the passes specific to X, and you never need to perform all 35 passes. For any modern PRML/EPRML drive, a few passes of random scrubbing is the best you can do. As the paper says, "A good scrubbing with random data will do about as well as can be expected". This was true in 1996, and is still true now. ”

Bad sectors on the disk may be silently suppressed by the drive controller so they may not be overwritten.

## Software implementations

• The GNU Core Utilities shred program. The GNU Core Utilities or coreutils is a package of GNU Software containing many of the basic tools such as cat, Ls
• Eraser Free open-source software that uses the Gutmann method. Open source is a development methodology which offers practical accessibility to a product's source (goods and knowledge
• Erase Hard Drive Data Erasing hard drive data information.
• E3 Security Kit The first complete and fully functional implementation of Gutmann for Windows {fact}
• Disk Utility Software provided with Mac OS X uses Gutmann on a per disk basis only. Disk Utility is the name of a utility created by Apple for performing disk -related tasks in Mac OS X. Mac OS X (mæk oʊ ɛs tɛn is a line of computer Operating systems developed marketed and sold by Apple Inc, the latest of which is pre-loaded on all currently
• SPX The first Gutmann file shredder for Mac OS X.
• SPX Nighttime The first Gutmann disk shredder for Mac OS X.
• Drive Wipe by Stellar Delete Data Permanently beyond recovery.
• TuneUp Utilities Has the Gutmann method as an option.
• Darik's Boot and Nuke (DBAN) Another free open-source wipe utility that supports Gutmann. Darik's Boot and Nuke (commonly known as DBAN) is an Open source project hosted on Sourceforge. Open source is a development methodology which offers practical accessibility to a product's source (goods and knowledge
• Window Washer by Webroot Software supports the Gutmann algorithm. Webroot Software Inc provides security software for consumers enterprises and small and medium–sized businesses
• CCleaner by Piriform Software added support for the Gutmann algorithm in version 2. CCleaner (formerly Crap Cleaner) is a Freeware utility used to optimize a user's computer and clean one's registry 02. 525.
• SRM can perform the Gutmann Algorithm on individual files.
• FileShredder Another open-source software; can employ (as of version 2. 0) the Guttman algorithm.
• Active@ Kill Disk completely destroys all data on hard and floppy drives.
• Delete Files Permanantly can perform the Gutmann Algorithm on individual files and wipe your entire free space on the hard drive with the upgraded version 1. 5. You also have the option to use 13 other techniques to mix things up.