Month: <span>July 2023</span>


Do I have to Erase a Network Switch?

Do I have to Erase a Network Switch? It’s a good question, why erase a Network Switch, a router, a firewall or even an access point? They’re not data-bearing devices like a Hard Drive or Mobile Phone. Surely a factory reset or a format or deleting the config will do the trick?

A Hackers potential delight!

Unfortunately, not. Networking devices are data-bearing devices, not in the true sense of the word, in terms of user GDPR-type personal data, but they contain extremely precious and sensitive information. The config data can include passwords, IP Addresses, and Domain Names. If you can determine the device’s original location, it’s like leaving your keys hanging outside your front door. It could be a hacker’s delight.

Hang on; surely an IT Manager would change the passwords and config data when removing an asset from their network. You’ll be surprised to hear it’s not always the case. I recall a conversation from a few months back of a scenario where an IT Operator was tasked with upgrading the Firewall on their Network. To save time and effort, the simplest method to swap the device was to back up the data on the old firewall and restore the config to the new device. Hey, presto! Job done! However, the old appliance, now on its way to their trusty ITAD, had the same security credentials & passwords as the live device in the Network. Whoops!

OK, so how do you Erase a device?

So, how do you erase a Networking Device? Sadly, it’s not as simple as it should or could be. The Networking device manufacturers should have focused more on effective & safe data erasure than they have. There is now a ‘Write Erase’ command on some of the newer products, which does as it says on the tin. For everything else… it depends. The first issue is to find where the data is stored. Devices have multiple internal data storage media, including; NVRAM, Flash, and SSD, to name a few.

The challenge continues; identify all the storage within the product, and you must safely remove the data. We are all familiar that to erase data from a Hard Drive or SSD, deleting or formatting doesn’t remove data. It just informs the device that you can use that part of the media for storing new data; eventually, the old data will be over-written. The same theory can be applied to the storage media on a Networking device. As with an HDD or SSD, the only effective method to safely remove data is performing a complete overwrite of the media. Typically, this is done by writing a random data pattern to fill up the media, therefore overwriting any data that was previously there.

Is there a Solution available?

The market has reacted slowly, and even some of the largest Data Erasure Software providers have struggled to provide a reliable solution. The issue is that to perform this overwrite, you need to take control of the device. A compelling blend of hardware & software is the only reliable approach.

Ultratest offers a powerful solution named Nemesis, the only ADISA-certified Network Erasure Solution available. We invite you to learn how Nemesis can benefit you; read on…