While the built-in Empty Trash function on a Mac provides a strong level of security, Permanent Eraser for Mac uses the Gutmann encryption method, which is five times more powerful, to accomplish the most secure removal of information from your system.
Downloading and installing Permanent Eraser for Mac takes a couple of seconds. Simply drag the app to your Applications folder and double-click on its icon to start it, instantly. There's not really a user interface, but the app will pop up a warning window asking you if you're sure you want to erase the contents of your trash. During testing, we had around 440MB worth of trash to delete, and the app took around a minute to complete the process. This is not as fast as emptying the trash the traditional way, but if you need it gone for good, it's worth the wait. In the General Preference pane, you can set the erasing level for files as well as for CDs and DVDs. You can also check the options to play sounds and display a warning before erasing occurs. In the Plug-Ins Preference pane you can check the option to install the contextual plug-in, which will enable you to delete a specific file by right-clicking on it.
This product would be very useful for someone who deals with a large volume of secure documents that need to be permanently removed from a computer. For the average user, who is merely deleting harmless documents, the program may seem a bit slow.
When you normally delete your files in Mac OS X, the operating system is only forgetting where those particular files are placed, while the data still physically remains on the drive. Beginning with Mac OS 10.3, Apple enhanced its security by introducing the Secure Empty Trash feature, which follows the U.S. DoD pattern of overwriting data seven times. Permanent Eraser provides an even stronger level of security by implementing the Gutmann Method. This utility overwrites your data thirty-five times, scrambles the original file name, and truncates the file size to nothing before Permanent Eraser finally unlinks it from the system. Once your data has been erased, it can no longer be read through traditional means.