What is the VSITR Method?

Details on the VSITR Data Wipe Method

Close-Up Of Top Secret Text On Shredded Paper
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VSITR 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.

Erasing a hard drive using the VSITR 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.

Keep reading to see which programs support the VSITR data wipe method as well to learn the specifics of what makes VSITR different from other data sanitization methods.

VSITR Wipe Method

There are several different data sanitization methods supported by various applications but all of them use either ones, zeros, random data, or a combination of all three. VSITR is one example of a data wipe method that utilizes all three.

For example, Write Zero just writes zeros over the data and Random Data uses random characters, but VSITR acts sort of as a combination of both of those methods.

This is how the VSITR data sanitization method is usually implemented:

  • Pass 1: Writes a zero
  • Pass 2: Writes a one
  • Pass 3: Writes a zero
  • Pass 4: Writes a one
  • Pass 5: Writes a zero
  • Pass 6: Writes a one
  • Pass 7: Writes a random character

VSITR implemented this way makes it identical to the RCMP TSSIT OPS-II data sanitization method except that VSITR lacks any verification.

Note: A verification is just a way for the program to double-check that the data was actually overwritten. Usually, if the verification fails, the program will repeat the pass until it passes.

I've seen various other VSITR iterations as well including one with only three passes, one that writes the letter A in the final pass instead of a random character, and one that writes alternating ones and zeros across the entire drive as the last pass.

Note: Some file shredders and data destruction programs let you customize the data sanitization method. However, if you make certain changes to a wipe method, you're basically using a different one altogether. For example, if you customize VSITR to include a verification after the last pass, you're now using the RCMP TSSIT OPS-II method.

Programs That Support VSITR

File shredders are programs that use a data sanitization method to securely erase specific files and folders of your choosing. Eraser, Secure Eraser, and Delete Files Permanently are some examples of file shredder tools that support the VSITR data wipe method.

If you're looking for a data destruction program that will overwrite all the existing data on an entire storage device using the VSITR data sanitization method, CBL Data Shredder, Hardwipe, and Free EASIS Data Eraser are a few. The Eraser and Secure Eraser file shredder applications I already mentioned can also be used to erase hard drives using VSITR.

Most data destruction programs and file shredders support multiple data sanitization methods in addition to VSITR. This means even if you install the program to use it for VSITR, you can most likely choose a different data wipe method later or even use more than one method on the same data.

More About VSITR

Verschlusssache IT Richtlinien (VSITR), roughly translated as Classified IT Policies, was originally defined by Bundesamt für Sicherheit in der Informationstechnik (BSI), the German Federal Office for Information Security.

You can read more about the BSI on their website here.