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Permanent Eraser 2.7.0

26th December 2015 | Permanent Eraser

As mentioned earlier this year, the newly released Permanent Eraser 2.7 will (likely) be the final major hurrah for the 2.x line. New features, fixes and improvements in this release include:

  • New contextual menu plug-in for Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard.
  • Increased app responsiveness while preparing to erase the Trash.
  • Fixed a Retina UI issue on Yosemite.
  • Fixed UI issues for non-English localizations.
  • Tested and verified for OS X 10.11 El Capitan.

The biggest new feature is a new contextual menu plug-in for pre-Snow Leopard versions of Mac OS X. The plug-in has been tested on both Tiger and Leopard (it may work on even earlier versions of Mac OS X, but this has not been verified). Even though Permanent Eraser 2.7 does not run on Tiger, the plug-in can be downloaded and installed into your account's ~/Library/Contextual Menu Items/ folder. If the folder Contextual Menu Items does not exist, create the folder first, then copy the file EraseCMI.plugin into the folder. Then restart your Finder by either restarting your computer or typing the following command into the Terminal: killall Finder

This new plug-in was more of an interesting exercise to create the type of plug-in from that would have been written ten years ago, during the days when Finder was still based off of Carbon instead of Cocoa. The result is a faster and more integrated solution for older versions of Mac OS X, rather than using the slower Automator workflow.

The latest version of OS X (10.11 El Capitan) finally removed the Secure Empty Trash and Erase Free Space features from Finder and Disk Utility, respectively. As detailed in the security note CVE-2015-5901:

Finder

Available for: Mac OS X v10.6.8 and later

Impact: The “Secure Empty Trash” feature may not securely delete files placed in the Trash
Description: An issue existed in guaranteeing secure deletion of Trash files on some systems, such as those with flash storage. This issue was addressed by removing the “Secure Empty Trash” option.

CVE-ID
CVE-2015-5901 : Apple

Due to the way that Solid State Drives rewrite data to the disk using wear leveling techniques, it is not possible to repeatedly write over data like it is with mechanical hard drives. In 2015, the only Apple computers which even come with the older hard drives (whether stand alone or as part of a Fusion Drive) are the iMac, the Mac mini, and a 3 year old version of the 13" Mac Book Pro. Even the Mac Pro has eschewed the older technology in favor of the faster speeds of SSD. Since a majority of Apple's computers which are sold these days are laptops, there is less and less need for secure file shredders. If you are using an SSD, the recommended way to protect your data is to encrypt the drive by turning on FileVault.

Does this mean that this is the end of Permanent Eraser? Not necessarily. Various ideas and prototypes for the next version of this app have been floating around for several years, but with the shift in storage technology, Permanent Eraser may also need to shift to address new needs — otherwise, the app will slowly become obsolete as it would cater to a continually declining niche market.