Friday, August 26, 2016

BleachBit

Oh, fer Chrissakes. The Republicans are claiming that Hillary Clinton used a "sophisticated" file shredder to get rid of emails. It turns out that this shredder is BleachBit, an opensource cleaner similar to CCleaner. I've not used BleachBit (which seems to be more of a Linux thing), but I use CCleaner all the time. It's great for removing old cache entries and temp files. Every so often, it's a good idea to clear out those folders within which malware likes to hide.

Neither CCleaner nor BleachBit is the kind of app one would use to destroy an incriminating file on a system facing a serious forensic examination.

On the rare occasions when I've needed to eradicate a truly sensitive file (such as a list of passwords), I use a serious eraser. No, I won't tell you which one. No one would use freeware for sensitive government work.

Looking at the BleachBit interface, it seems rather clunky when it comes to shredding individual files. The idea of going through thousands of individual emails in this fashion is mind-boggling.

The only person who says that Hillary used BleachBit to delete emails is Trey Gowdy, a die-hard Hillary-hater who is still screaming "BenGHAAAAZI!" I doubt that he knows much about computers. He doesn't cite his source of information or offer any specifics. BleachBit may well have been on her system, for the same reason that CCleaner is on my own system: Every well-dressed computer should (at the very least) have a freeware app of that sort. But so far, I've seen no evidence to prove the contention that she used BleachBit to delete even a single email.
Comments:
Is Donald Trump's medic Harold Bornstein as crazy as Trump is?

"His health is excellent, especially his mental health. He thinks he's the best, which works out just fine."

"I think he would be fit because, I think his brain is turned on 24 hours a day." (You whattt?)

"As for the letter's purple, Trump-like prose, 'I think I picked up his kind of language and then just interpreted it to my own,' (Bornstein) said." (Uh? Can this guy actually think straight?)

"In the rush, I think some of those words didn't come out exactly the way they were meant." (Well don't fucking rush then, when you write medical reports!)
 
You would, in fact, only use open source (or "freeware") for this sort of purpose. And you don't need to delete each file, just delete them all and then use bleachbit on the empty space. Personally, I'd use dd to randomise and then zero the empty space, but bleachbit can do it too. I'm not sure her server, which wasn't Linux, would have dd, though.

I don't know what CCleaner is, but you probably wouldn't use bleachbit for malware. It seems to be very popular for wiping old hard drives before getting rid of them. So she could be using it for legitimate purposes, or sinister purposes, or not using it at all.
 
Oh good Lord. Bornstein and BleachBit Truthers in one post. The walls of reality are crumbling.
 
But she DIDN'T "delete them all" Stephen. In fact, I don't think she deleted any. When my Yahoo account was hacked, I did not delete anything...nevertheless, I awoke one day and discovered that a lot of stuff was missing. It apparently was downloaded to another computer.

And I don't know about using Bleachbit for just the "empty spaces." I'm not sure where the setting for that is. There is no such setting for that in CCleaner.

CCleaner is a hoary old file cleaning utility and registry cleaner for Windows. Freeware. Been around forever. From what I've read, Bleachbit was modeled on it, but is mainly used by the linux community. (I don't recommend CCleaner as a registry cleaner -- too aggressive.)

I wouldn't use either to shred a file that I truly wanted GONE. There are stronger apps out there, even if you want to stay within the realm of freeware.

I forget the details, but a long time ago, I read how government hard drives are wiped and then offered for sale to the public. They don't use Bleachbit.
 
To be honest, I haven't been following the who-deleted-what nonsense, because I find the whole thing annoying. So I googled it and Politifact says this:

"Clinton’s email record remains incomplete. FBI investigators found thousands of work-related emails that were not among the 30,000 Clinton turned over to the State Department, and many more might still be out in the ether. Comey said there is no evidence these emails were deleted in an attempt to conceal information."

So I'm going to assume that she deleted something, at least.

As for empty spaces, there are no empty spaces. Deleting a file just unlinks it from the file system so it can be overwritten by new files. Hence deleted files can generally be restored, often even after the entire partition has been reformatted, using something like testdisk. I have been told that bleachbit can overwrite this, but I've never used it. As a linux user I would just overwrite files with the command-line utility dd to overwrite with random data, then overwrite it again with zeros. You could also use dd on a non-existent file, and thereby randomise/blank the entire disk, other than that already occupied by files. Or the entire disk, if you prefer.

I particularly like to use dd to make an external disk look blank by zeroing the partition table, after copying it. Thereafter the disk data is invisible until you use dd again to replace the first 512 bytes. But that's off topic.

 
The truly paranoid use a Gauss-bomb on their drives. I just keep the porn in my head, along with my financial information.
 
The truly powerful paranoid uses an angle-grinder to reduce their drives to a fine powder. Then melts the remains. Then eats them. And has a facebook page so as not to arouse suspicion.
 
@Bob - You keep the porn in your head? That's not secure! The safest place to keep it is in your pants! :)
 
"And I don't know about using Bleachbit for just the "empty spaces." I'm not sure where the setting for that is. There is no such setting for that in CCleaner."

From the CCleaner online help:

Using CCleaner's Drive Wiper

CCleaner includes a Drive Wiper, allowing you to wipe the free areas of your hard drive so that deleted files can never be recovered. ...

 
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