Shredding data on a live server

pl1nk asked:

Which is the best way to shred all data from a live dedicated server?

I have no physical access nor any out of band remote management functionality to the server, only SSH access.

Server is running Debian 6


Server has ext3 partitions.

From shred man page:

   CAUTION:    Note  that  shred relies on a very important assumption: that
   the file system overwrites data in place.  This is the traditional  way
   to  do  things, but many modern file system designs do not satisfy this
   assumption.  The following are examples of file systems on which    shred
   is not effective, or is not guaranteed to be effective in all file sys-
   tem modes:

   * log-structured or journaled file systems, such as those supplied with

    AIX and Solaris (and JFS, ReiserFS, XFS, Ext3, etc.)
   * compressed file systems

   In  the    case  of  ext3 file systems, the above disclaimer applies (and
   shred is thus of limited    effectiveness)  only  in  data=journal  mode,
   which  journals    file  data  in addition to just metadata.  In both the
   data=ordered (default) and data=writeback modes, shred works as    usual.
   Ext3  journaling    modes  can  be  changed  by adding the data=something
   option to the mount  options  for  a  particular    file  system  in  the
   /etc/fstab file, as documented in the mount man page (man mount)


My answer:

Assuming the server uses spinning disks, try the shred command.

View the full question and any other answers on Server Fault.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.