Still using the DoD 5220.22-M 3-pass method for erasing your drives? Use NIST 800–88 instead to securely erase your HDD/SSD/NVMe drives…

I’ve been aware of the ATA Secure Erase method for some time, but did not know if it was implemented in any official gov-related data erasure procedures or what the new “standard” was.

Findings:

Instead of referencing DoD 5220.22-M, reference NIST 800–88. The former is no longer considered relevant nor referenced by industry-leading data-erasure companies and agencies.

HDD’s:

  • Use ATA Secure Erase

SSD’s:

  • Use ATA Crypto Sanitize, Crypto Erase if supported by SSD
  • Use ATA Secure Erase otherwise

NVMe’s:

  • Use Crypto Sanitize, Crypto Erase if supported by NVMe
  • Use Secure Erase otherwise
  • Note: NVMe's do not contain the ATA prefix; the commands are identified under "NVM Express Format"

Windows/Linux folks:

Mac folks:

I have seen some sites stating that SSD/NVMe drives are best erased using Disk Utility (which is capable of the above commands) and that the use third-party tools may make your Mac angry. Not sure.

Companies/Organizations:

This chart may be useful when considering the different methods of media sanitation. You can find this chart and more details on page 23–24 of the NIST 800–88 guidelines.

Sanitization and Disposition Decision Flow

References:

Primary source can be found starting on page 35 of the NIST 8088–88, link provided at bottom.

Sanitize vs Secure

https://superuser.com/questions/1518253/ssd-what-is-the-difference-between-sanitize-secure-erase

Article on Wiping Standards

https://www.blancco.com/resources/blog-dod-5220-22-m-wiping-standard-method/

Additional Information on SSD Erasure

https://datadestroyers.com/destruction-services/ssd-hdd-erasure

Additional Information on Common Misconceptions and Erasure

https://degaussing-101.com/dod-5220-22-m/

Official NIST 800–88 PDF — see page 35

https://nvlpubs.nist.gov/nistpubs/SpecialPublications/NIST.SP.800-88r1.pdf

Final note:

I chose to include this preview image because “ATA Secure Erase” and “NVMe Secure Erase” are plainly visible to bring about awareness AND because Parted Magic is a software that easily enables you to run both commands on Win/Linux. I am not promoting or endorsing any software mentioned 😊.

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