Storage specialist WiebeTech has launched its Drive eRazer in the UK, which the company describes as a digital shredder for hard drives.

The device is intended as a product for IT managers looking to de-commission old hard drives without fear of confidential data escaping the organisation. The unit works independently from the computer, as it can be plugged into a hard drive, and doesn’t need the computer in order to start wiping data.

WiebeTech claims that it also faster than software programs. It estimates that to fully erase a drive, it works at roughly 35MB/s. This means, for example, that a 250GB drive will be erased in two hours.

WiebeTech says that the Drive eRazer writes over every bit of a drive.

"After it's done, there's nothing left to recover," the company claims. "A standard single-pass mode writes one time across the whole disk, deleting blocks including partitions and Host Protected Areas. Verification is also performed."

For those who want even more assurance, a Pro model for enterprise use is available which is capable of more than one pass with random characters. It deletes all blocks including partitions and Host Protected Areas, even ones normally invisible to operating systems. It automatically checks for and removes DCOs and writes to every sector of the disk using different data each pass. Verification is done after the last pass.

The US-based company is perhaps better known as the maker of the ToughTech external hard drive, but it has a sizeable forensic customer base in the US federal government including the FBI, the Secret Service, ATF, IRS Criminal Investigation, and others. It products are also in use in a variety of foreign governments, including Canada and the UK.

WiebeTech competes against the likes of Blancco, which back in August claimed an unofficial world record for the speed at which its Pro 4.7 software could securely overwrite large amounts of hard drive data.

Drive eRazer is compliant with the US Department of Defense requirements (updated June 28, 2007) for "clearing" a "Non-Removable Rigid Disk." The specification requires destruction of a hard drive containing government classified data.

Prices range from £59 (excluding VAT) for the DRZR-1 for 3.5 inch IDE/PATA drives, to £118 (Excluding VAT) for the DRZR-2-VBND for 2.5 inch and 3.5 inch SATA or IDE/PATA drives. It is available in the UK from A M Micro.