Paranoia..Paranoia..Am I on the right track?.. any help please?

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So much of what a computer does can never be fully hidden unless one
fully and completely wipes a drive, that I was wondering if my latest
methods might be useful.

I do not have a real current machine, but still powerful enough to pull
this off - my config is:

768MB memory - P4/2400 - ATI Radeon 128MB Video Card - 7200 RPM drives,

I find that Virtual PC if one uses nLite to create a custom install of XP
runs close to a P3 level for XP.  I would say it feels somewhere between
the P2 I had at 450mHz and the P3 at 733mHz.  Even DirectX works in
software mode (as long as it is a program needing DX7 and under) fairly
close to a 486 w/32 MB memory.  Games are not my need, but Microsoft
Baseball does work OK in software mode with nLite setting XP to run at
about 60MB of memory needed for internet access, Word 7, newsgroups,
media player (if file SVCD size and under).  Overall - livable, when
using the setup for security.

I am using TrueCrypt to create an encrypted container, and then having
VPC create a virtual disk within the encrypted container to run XP.  VPC
is running in the open, but the virtual machine is running from the
encrypted disk.  I installed TrueCrypt on the virtual machine, and
created a container over the network on an open drive to send the info I
wish to keep via shared folders - and then shred the virtual machine
using a system wiper with a 35-pass routine on the encrpted drive.

When I am ready to start again, I bring a clone of the original back into
the container.

I have looked and looked on the Host machine for any signs of any
activity and I can find only a logfile of internet activity, which I have
set to auto shred.

Am I missing something?  Is the Host machine (remember the Host and Guest
are the same machine - just made to look different) keeping track of any
activities of the Virtual Machine?  I cannot see that it is happening,
but I would wonder if folks other than myself could see a glaring hole


any input welcome

Re: Paranoia..Paranoia..Am I on the right track?.. any help please?

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virtual machines are the new 40yr old thing ... starting with cp40
at the cambridge science center

with custom modified 360/40 with virtual memory hardware ... and then
when standard 360/67 (w/virtual memory) became available in 1967 ...
cp40 morphed into cp67.

the term comingly used in the 60s and 70s for this technique was
padded cell (for isolating any possible bad behavior).

some of the padded cell terminology shows up periodically in the vmshare
archives ... /

online computer conferencing provided by tymshare to the SHARE
orginization starting in the mid-70s ... on their virtual machine
based commercial timesharing offering platform

Re: Paranoia..Paranoia..Am I on the right track?.. any help please?

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thank you for answering - but I am not exactly certain what you said, but
by a leap I believe you meant my activity is referred to as "Padded
Cell" - which would be a coined phrase of folks who knew what they were
coining - not necesarily a phrase folks not in the loop would have
thoughts of.

A delving into the theoretical would be cool ( a sixties phrase - I am 52
) - much along the lines as to why Hard Drives can hold more magnetic
data with same platter size - I receive tech magazines weekly explaining
this theory in just such a detail - I am not interested as practical
results are more important than theory, in what pays for my home.

I would like to explore your answer if I can ask questions not 100% on
target as my education is a tech.  I can see by your answer you could
help fill my mind with answers if I ask correct, and at same time expand
my learning if you are not against being a teacher.  All people need a
teacher to learn.

In my mind, my basic question was not answered.  Using this technique -
am I safer than not?


hope me being 52 not against you teaching - no matter your age.

bye now.

I have to close every message a very single way and sometimes new folks
find it offensive - it is just a way to let folks know who I hold dear
besides my wife, so I am going to end this way, and never an Arab, nor
ever a Jew - ever said -

In Jesus I Bless You Today and Hope God Watches You and Yours,

In Jesus


I hope you are not offended - you have a brilliant mind.  bye

Re: Paranoia..Paranoia..Am I on the right track?.. any help please?

tomas wrote:

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You really want to kill that drive, don't you?

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What about some malware breaking out of your VM and modifying the host OS?
At least for Virtual PC this shouldn't be quite hard, as it doesn't trap
various relevant CPU instructions like LGDT.

Re: Paranoia..Paranoia..Am I on the right track?.. any help please?

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As for killing a drive - everything has a life.  HD's usually last myself
about 3 times the life of a computer OS.  The last drive I purchased was
a 300GB IDE Seagate Ultra ATA 133.  The next computer I am looking at has
no support for IDE - but rather SATA only.  I figure a new computer every
three years saving $1.00 to $1.50 per day for it - not bad.  $1200 -
$1800 to spend.

I forgot to add the other point - which I have been doing since learning
of Ghost.  The entire partition with the OS of the Host is Ghosted every
single day.  With two HD's - I use the 40GB that came with the computer
as the main OS drive, and once weekly run a DOS wipe of the drive -
Jetico's PDwipe utility under DOS which is freeware from BCwipe, just
using a seven wipe DoD pass - then Ghost the drive back to life.  Been
doing that for years until I learned of encryption in the 2000 days.

I burn DVD's holding encrypted data as backup - BestCrypt which while
trialware allows one to continue reading data - until TrueCrypt which is

But if a computer cannot handle three years of being on 24 hours per day,
seven days per week - then I chose a wrong computer.  DELL workstations
found in the business section of the website, have never let me down yet
since the 486 days.  A few bucks more - but industrial strength.

I just never turn them off - and they last and last.  They are not gaming
machines - but they can handle games all but the highest end new ones,
and they last and last - until I decide a new one in order.

Best let you go.  With a DELL workstation, lasting is not an issue, as
they carry a one-year standard warranty for free with purchase and for
$60 more - a three year complete warranty.



Re: Paranoia..Paranoia..Am I on the right track?.. any help please?

tomas wrote:

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Is that an excuse for wasting your time and reducing the life of the drive
for absolutely no good reason?

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Huh? Then you have a serious problem. The computer OS should last at least
as long as the HD, the latter usually being the limited.

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What a nonsense.

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Wow, what a big waste of time.

Re: Paranoia..Paranoia..Am I on the right track?.. any help please?

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Thanks for answering.  I guess it seems to be overkill - but not just to

You talk about killing a drive - as if 10 cents per day was serious
money.  3 years at 10 cents per day is $100 give or take a bit - and a
dime a day for feeling safe - Car insurance for full coverage per month
on a new car - even with an excellent driving record, costs me that
amount every two months - give or take.  We are talking about a dime per
day to feel safe.

You misunderstood because of the way I typed the information that somehow
a HD was dying soon.  HD's die soon for myself as I like video.  A Tv-
card captures at a set rate, but uncompressed AVI the best.  Uncompressed
video takes abot 2GB per minute at 720x480 size - a DVD.  The next gen of
video will be at least 1280x720, but my monitor is 1920x1080i -  The next
HD will need to be in the TB range, which Seagate is now working on in
order to keep up with video.

So in my instance - I expect a HD to last less than an OS because video
is always pressing speed and capacity.  When the Bluetooth DVD arrive, I
will have a way to playback video, but not capture video at High-Def
rates until I obtain a 1TB drive, which will just be a stopgap until
larger TB drives come out.

I have never once put anything illegal on my harddrive, but maybe my wife
might not like to see the 38 year-old neighbor, me being 52, video
footage when she laid in the yard in her bikini.  Other issues as well.

As for time - you seem to think it takes a lot of time.  If you destroy
the header of a HD - fat table, etc. through a wipe, and then use a shred
utility every time you destroy a file, the drive cannot be reconstructed.  
It takes about 2 minutes to destroy the header - and about 7 minutes to
Ghost the drive back up.  Say 15 minutes per day - to feel totally safe.

15 minutes is nothing compared to almost 30 years of marriage.  Some
folks wear rubbers and others don't, but the folks who think a minute or
so might interupt the joy - should not be surprised they become pregnant.  
And even then - sometimes it breaks.  That is why I was asking about if
maybe I am missing a point.

thanx now - your time spent in answering was appreciated ver much.


Re: Paranoia..Paranoia..Am I on the right track?.. any help please?

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I avoid wiping my hard disk by doing a whole disk encryption with PGP
and after that I just put back the clean OS again, kept it mirrored on
an external hard disk.

The theory is that PGP whole disk encryption could have attempts of
brute force attack but an attacker would need to recover the whole disk
before trying, and it is unlikely anyone would ever succeed in recovering
every single byte, recovering just a part would not be of any use.

By wiping the whole hard disk it is possible that some small bytes of
data are not deleted properly, but with an AES256 whole disk encrypted
system all the data an attacker could see if he managed to recover
somethign is a piece of garbage in AES256.

It still takes time to encrypt the whole hard disk but as it only writes  
it once
I believe I extend its life.

Of course it is possible that some snake oil software does not encrypt the  
hard disk as advertised, I stick to PGP wich I have tested myself by  
looking into
the disk with Winhex.  Drivecrypt does the same job I just haven't tried  

Re: Paranoia..Paranoia..Am I on the right track?.. any help please?

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I will not disagree - but both of us rely on someone else telling us the
truth.  And as for as I can tell - a Hard Drive has roughly eight
underlying positions - that can be accessed.  A drive only erases the
first level of a file.  It places a Zero in the spot.  

That is why HD manufactures have programs to Zero Out a Drive.  Meaning
to place zeros in every available spot.  If there eight spots per place
and every spot is now a zero - then super erase not needed.  But Windows
is not a low-level function.  The freeware program from Jetico, included
with their shareware wipe - really wipes a HD.

Anything else than pure wipe to zero - something is there.  You can zero
your drive, install your OS - then Ghost your system to a CD-ROM which is
always clean - and then re-install daily after destroying the header data
using the Jetico prog  - with Ghost who took a snapshot of system clean,
and remembering computers go eight level deep - Only God would know about
your system before.

It takes about 15 minutes daily - and if Ghost set to include all your
progs - nothing more.  

To use it it you need two drives, or set up one drive to have two
partitions.  If you would like to try, and you only have one partition
now - you would lose data.

But then you would feel safe.  I think.

Best let you go.  My method does not care how many people know it - it is
not a secret - it just works.


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