"...Now some of you are asking "if you can't recover data that has been overwritten just once, why do companies sell software that does multiple overwrites?"
I have an opinion on this, but I can't back it up with any facts. Here it is anyway:
Company A brings out DataDeathstar, a program that will eradicate your rebel files by overwriting them once. This is all you need.
Company B makes a similar product, perhaps without such a copyright-infringing name, but in order to sound better than Company A, they claim they can do multi-pass overwrites. Perhaps they back this decision up with the Gutmann article mentioned earlier.
Now if the cost is the same, Joe User will choose the program with more features - the version that does multi-pass overwrites.
This then precipitates an escalation in the number of wipes any package will perform, to make them sound better than their competitors. Eventually we end up with the Department of Defense 35-pass "standard", or the Bilbo-level Eleventy-billion Insano-wipe...."In my next article, I will cover Secure Erase, an app built into most hard drives since 2001, which is basically all that you need to delete your data off a hard drive you are disposing of. Changing the disks hardware encryption key is one other step you can take if you are paranoid.