Secure Erase SSD in Linux

Original Article: https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/SSD_memory_cell_clearing

Step 1 – Make sure the drive security is not frozen

Issue the following command:

# hdparm -I /dev/sdX

Step 2 – Enable security by setting a user password

Note: When the user password is set the drive will be locked after next power cycle denying normal access until unlocked with the correct password.

Any password will do, as this should only be temporary. After the secure erase the password will be set back to NULL. In this example, the password is “PasSWorD” as shown:

# hdparm --user-master u --security-set-pass PasSWorD /dev/sdX
security_password="PasSWorD"
/dev/sdX:
Issuing SECURITY_SET_PASS command, password="PasSWorD", user=user, mode=high

As a sanity check, issue the following command

# hdparm -I /dev/sdX

The command output should display “enabled”:

Security: 
        Master password revision code = 65534
                supported
                enabled
        not     locked
        not     frozen
        not     expired: security count
                supported: enhanced erase
        Security level high
        2min for SECURITY ERASE UNIT. 2min for ENHANCED SECURITY ERASE UNIT.

Step 3 – Issue the ATA Secure Erase command

Warning: Triple check that the correct drive designation is used. There is no turning back once the command is confirmed. You have been warned.
# hdparm --user-master u --security-erase PasSWorD /dev/sdX

Wait until the command completes. This example output shows it took about 40 seconds for an Intel X25-M 80GB SSD.

security_password="PasSWorD"
/dev/sdX:
Issuing SECURITY_ERASE command, password="PasSWorD", user=user
0.000u 0.000s 0:39.71 0.0%      0+0k 0+0io 0pf+0w

The drive is now erased. After a successful erasure the drive security should automatically be set to disabled (thus no longer requiring a password for access). Verify this by running the following command:

# hdparm -I /dev/sdX

The command output should display “not enabled”:

Security: 
        Master password revision code = 65534
                supported
        not     enabled
        not     locked
        not     frozen
        not     expired: security count
                supported: enhanced erase
        2min for SECURITY ERASE UNIT. 2min for ENHANCED SECURITY ERASE UNIT.
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