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Completely Delete Files with Shred

Shredded paper with the words grace period
On a Linux dedicated server, the normal method for deleting files is to use the “rm” command. This removes the file from the current filesystem, but what many do not know is that those removed files are usually recoverable. As such, rm is more like putting something in the trash or recycle bin on a desktop.

The only way to effectively delete a file is to overwrite the space the file was using. You can accomplish that with the “shred” command. Just like shredding important physical documents, shred makes sure your files are good and gone, so please use with caution. Once it is gone, it is gone.

On a web server, you may want to make sure you delete sensitive information completely (a database of credit card numbers, for example). To do so, run the following command:

shred filename

You can also shred it a number of times just to be sure:

shred -n 7 filename

This will shred “filename” seven times. For more information about shred, type “man shred” from the command line.

Photo Source: Flickr

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