Destroying Data (Re: Remailer Policies)

Phiber Optik phiber at
Mon Dec 21 16:43:07 PST 1992

> > Make sure you don't think 'rm -rf /remailer-logs' actually destroys data.
> > It merely de-allocates the i-nodes.  You need to know which physical
> > device the filesystem is on, (let's call id /hdxxx) and then do
> > 'cat /dev/null > /dev/hdxxx' which overwrites with zeroes all data
> > on that partition.  
> not quite.  you need something like
>   dd if=/dev/null of=/dev/xxx bs=verybig conv=sync

Unix weenies of old will recall "clri" to clear an inode.  If paranoia is in
effect, try something like the following:

ls -li remailer-log or whatever to get the i-node number,
clri /dev/sdxx #_of_i-node

Of course, care should be taken to then unlink the file immediately, as if the
i-node number is reused on that filesystem, the old entry would still point
to that i-node, and removing the old file would remove the new one (an
inadvertent hard link).  Clri is in /usr/etc, and it's use is obviously
subjected to your permission of the device file (and the file itself), though
that's understood if you were going to use 'dd'.
Not everyone running a remailer will have permission (usually root) to write
directly to filesystem /dev files, so why not just write a little C program
to open the logfile and overwrite it to the end with NULL's?

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