I always use shred to wipe out USB memory sticks or memory. The shred command is a GNU tool, available in the coreutils package, available in many Linux and Unix Systems.
$ dpkg -S /usr/bin/shred
Shred overwrites with zeroes the files or partitions to hide their content and than, deletes them.
Syntax: shred -vz -n 10 /path/to/partition
Some shred command examples:
# shred -n 5 -vz /dev/sda2
# shred -n 10 -vz /dev/hda1
- -n value: How many times to overwrite
- -v : Verbose
- -z : Overwrite with zeroes
The shred command is slow, if the value after the -n parameter is big.
I have this alias that I use to clean up my usb or memory sticks quickly:
$ alias wipestick='shred -n 1 -vz'
OR, make it persistent, if you are using bash:
$ echo "alias wipestick='shred -n -vz'" >> ~/.bashrc
How to use my alias:
# wipestick /path/to/stick
The shred command can be used to wipe hard drives from a Linux Live CD, such as Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Knoppix or others.