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BEST WAY TO DESTROY A HARD DRIVE

 
 
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 May, 2009 03:41 pm
@Phoenix32890,


(I figure Foxfyre is a big Pete Seeger fan).
0 Replies
 
Francis
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 May, 2009 05:14 am
Cyclo wrote:
Can you bend platters on a Hard Disk? I've disassembled them before and seen solid glass platters. Which scratch and break easy, but don't bend.


A picture is worth a thousand words:

http://pagesperso-orange.fr/gismonda/hd1.jpg
http://pagesperso-orange.fr/gismonda/hd2.jpg
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 May, 2009 07:02 am
@Phoenix32890,
Phoenix32890 wrote:

I would take a sledge hammer to it. Besides protecting my data, I would get a great catharsis, to boot.

I have always wondered if soaking it in Clorox would do the trick!


The cases are pretty sturdy, and are also decently airtight, so neither of these is guaranteed to damage the media enough to prevent data retrieval.

Again, drill straight through the case and platters in at least three places....
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 May, 2009 07:07 am
@Ticomaya,
Ticomaya wrote:

What I was advocating was a complete reformat, followed by physical destruction. Reformatting is not sufficient, by itself, to keep prying eyes armed with the right specialized software from the data, but it will work for most people. But, yes, a disk-wiping software program is better than reformatting, and there are shareware options available.

SCSI disks used to have a low-level format option (some still do), but when most people "format" a disk, it is not a sector-by-sector overwrite. It's an extra step that a) adds little, if any, additional security, b) gives a false sense of security unless one really knows what they are doing.
parados
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 May, 2009 07:40 am
@DrewDad,
Drilling holes only destroys the information where you drilled the hole.

Yes, it stops the casual person from just hooking up the drive and looking at it but it doesn't prevent reading the disks with the proper tools. For personal use, drilling holes may be just fine but I don't think the government would allow that as the way to destroy it's disks.

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,1911131,00.asp
Quote:
When the drive arrived in Minnesota, it resembled a rather large and boxy piece of charcoal. Most of the exposed circuitry had melted, and so had the IDE interface, the only way of plugging into a PC motherboard. In fact, several IDE pins were missing. Worse still, when Ontrack engineers carried the drive into their clean room and opened it up, the head was damaged, and the platters were caked with dust and smoke residue. But a week later, the company sent us an e-mail. Its engineers had recovered 100 percent of the data.

For Ontrack, it was just another week at the office. Apparently the company recovers data from fire-damaged drives all the time. And that's one of the easier tasks. In 2003, Ontrack engineers successfully recovered files from a drive that arrived in Minnesota with a bullet hole in it. A few weeks later, they salvaged a disk that had spent three months at the bottom of a lake.
parados
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 May, 2009 07:47 am
@DrewDad,
I seem to recall reading the government requires a 7 times overwrite. Norton used to include the software to do that in it's utility suite.

Even with one or a couple of rewrites it's possible to read the edges of the bit on the disk with the proper hardware and get enough ghosting to tell what the bit had been before it was rewritten.

Taking apart the disk and running the internal magnet over the disks several times will likely cause enough damage to the magnetic bits to make it unreadable.
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 May, 2009 08:18 am
@parados,
parados wrote:

Drilling holes only destroys the information where you drilled the hole.

I never meant to suggest small holes. Wink
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 May, 2009 08:23 am
@parados,
parados wrote:
Taking apart the disk and running the internal magnet over the disks several times will likely cause enough damage to the magnetic bits to make it unreadable.

A magnet powerful enough to fully degauss a hard drive is rather expensive.
parados
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 May, 2009 08:27 am
@DrewDad,
The magnet in a hard drive is strong enough to write the bits to the platter.

While it won't completely degauss the entire drive, it certainly should scramble enough bits to make it much harder to read.
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 May, 2009 08:29 am
@parados,
But the same magnet is required to overwrite the disk seven or more times to make sure that data is unrecoverable.
parados
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 May, 2009 11:45 am
@DrewDad,
Compare the magnet on the drive to the size of the head that does the writing.

The smaller the head the more data it can put on the disk because the smaller the area it writes to.

Put some metal filings on a table. Move them with the magnet flat against the underside of the table. Then put the magnet on a nail and use just the point of the nail against the underside of the table. I think you see the issue Drew Dad. I am not saying the platters are covered with metal filings. Nor am I suggesting you will affect every bit on the platter by using the magnet directly on them.
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 May, 2009 12:00 pm
Best way to destroy a hard drive:



Of course, it isn't practical unless you want to spend the money to send it to a company like this.
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 May, 2009 12:54 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Robert Gentel wrote:

Best way to destroy a hard drive:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQYPCPB1g3o[/youtube]

Of course, it isn't practical unless you want to spend the money to send it to a company like this.

That IS remarkable.
I saw it shred bowling balls, a concrete filled drum and a hippie 's VW Beetle.
0 Replies
 
najmelliw
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 May, 2009 05:30 pm
I've always wondered whether a sander could irretrievably damage a hard disk disc... I'd guess so, I mean, wouldn't the surface be unreadable?
Come to that... Perhaps you can paint them... or lacquer or something...
0 Replies
 
Green Witch
 
  3  
Reply Wed 27 May, 2009 05:34 pm
I've destroyed a lot of computer equipment with nothing more than a cup of coffee.





I know, I know...
vinsan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 28 May, 2009 03:31 am
@Green Witch,
me too..

Its just that I used tea... Very Happy

... but I am amazed to see people giving so many hints to destroy a thing. It surely is easy to destroy, isnt it?

My question:
Can you find how to recover data after tryin your way of destroying the HD.
0 Replies
 
High Seas
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 May, 2009 02:46 pm
@parados,
parados wrote:

Drilling holes only destroys the information where you drilled the hole.


Dammit, it must be full moon, or something - can't remember another occasion when I agreed with Parados; well, not recently Smile

Foxfyre, not sure what systems you got, but freeware is available for file shredding/overwrite from Spybot, among others, and these guys also have some good tips (sorry have no link now):
".........clearing and sanitizing security standard DoD 5220.22-M see US Defence Security Service Web Site..."


0 Replies
 
Nick Ashley
 
  3  
Reply Sun 31 May, 2009 12:27 am
I used to work for the hospital at the University of Iowa. Part of my job was to destroy hard drives with patient data on them. The standard practice was to zero out the hard drive, then write random patterns over the whole drive 7 times.

There is a theoretical idea that data could be recovered from a zero'd out hard disk by looking at magnetic remnants, but the likelihood is EXTREMELY low, even for data recovery experts. When I learned about the process in a computer security class, there were no examples or stories of it actually working available. The idea has just been published in the realm of theoretically possible.

For any personal hard drive, I wouldn't hesitate to give it away to whomever wanted it after a simple formatting (zero-ing out the drive, but not writing random patterns). I doubt I have enemies large enough that they can afford to seriously attempt recovery. Even if I do, there are much easier ways for them to get it.
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Sun 31 May, 2009 01:30 am
@Foxfyre,
Quote:
We have some old computers that we need to dispose of but want to be sure that any personal information on them is unrecoverable. How can we disable a hard drive using ordinary tools around the house?


um ... what information exactly is on these hard drives, Foxfyre? Wink

Just kidding, just kidding .....

This has been a very entertaining thread, btw. Might not have been your intention, but it has been! Smile
0 Replies
 
High Seas
 
  1  
Reply Sun 31 May, 2009 09:46 am
@Nick Ashley,
Nick Ashley wrote:

..........
There is a theoretical idea that data could be recovered from a zero'd out hard disk by looking at magnetic remnants, but the likelihood is EXTREMELY low, even for data recovery experts. When I learned about the process in a computer security class, there were no examples or stories of it actually working available. The idea has just been published in the realm of theoretically possible. ...


It's been done, on a number of occasions; Helix3 (a forensic enterprise cybersecurity program) works that way. But otherwise I agree with you, it's hardly likely Foxfyre has any data requiring deletion more secure than the public DoD specs require. This is one of many products meeting or exceeding these specs:
Quote:
DriveScrubber was built to meet the strict protocols of high-demand, mission-critical government and military entities. It meets and exceeds not only the U.S. Department of Defense 5220.22-M disk-sanitizing standard, but also all known government and military specs.

http://www.iolo.com/shoppingcart.cfm?itemid=539


 

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