GOST R 50739-95

Definition: GOST R 50739-95 is a software based data sanitization method used in some file shredder and data destruction programs to overwrite existing information on a hard drive or other storage device.

The GOST R 50739-95 method is more commonly, although incorrectly, referred to as GOST p50739-95.

The GOST R 50739-95 data sanitization method is usually implemented in one of these two ways:

  • Pass 1: Writes a zero
  • Pass 2: Writes a random character
  • Pass 1: Writes a random character

Erasing a hard drive using the GOST R 50739-95 data sanitization method will prevent all software based file recovery methods from finding information on the drive and is also likely to prevent most hardware based recovery methods from extracting information.

Note: There actually never was an official GOST R 50739-95 data sanitization method (nor was there any GOST p50739-95 method). There is a GOST R 50739-95 document, which I discuss below, but the document does not specify any data sanitization standard or methodology. Regardless, the implementations I mention above are labeled as GOST methods by most data destruction programs.

ГОСТ P 50739-95, translated as GOST R 50739-95, is an originally Russian outlined set of standards designed to protect against unauthorized access to information. The full text of GOST R 50739-5 can be read (in Russian) here: ГОСТ Р 50739-95.

ГОСТ is an acronym for государственный стандарт which means state standard.

Most data destruction programs support multiple data sanitization methods in addition to GOST R 50739-95.

Alternate Spellings: GOST p50739-95

Examples: "The Russian GOST R 50739-95 data sanitization standard, incorrectly called GOST p50739-95, doesn't actually exist but a method by that name is often used in data destruction programs."