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When Your Data Absolutely, Positively has to be Destroyed (Video)

Roblimo posted 1 year,27 days | from the it's-all-about-the-magnetism dept.

Security 295

Here's a corporate motto for you: "Destroying data since 1959." Timothy ran into a company called Garner Products (which doesn't use that motto as far as we know), at a security conference. While most exhibitors were busily preserving or encrypting data one way or another, Garner was not only destroying data but delighting in it. And yes, they've really been doing this since 1959; they started out degaussing broadcast cartridges so broadcasters could re-use them without worrying about old cue tones creeping into new recordings. Now, you might ask, "Instead of spending $9,000 or more to render hard drives useless, couldn't you just use a $24 sledge hammer? And have the fun of destroying something physical as a free bonus?" Yes, you could. You'd get healthy exercise as well, and if you only wanted to destroy the data on the hard drives, so what? New drives are cheap these days. But some government agencies and financial institutions require degaussing before the physical destruction (and Garner has machines that do physical destruction, too -- which is how they deal with SSDs). Garner Products President Ron Stofan says in the interview that their destruction process is more certain than shooting a hard drive with a .45. But neither he nor Tim demonstrated a shooting vs. degaussing test for us, so we remain skeptical.

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dd (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#43305213)

dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sda bs=1024 &

Re:dd (4, Insightful)

Gordonjcp (186804) | 1 year,27 days | (#43305249)

Exactly. A single pass of /dev/zero will wipe all the data on the drive beyond any hope of recovery, and sure as hell doesn't cost nine grand.

Re:dd (3, Informative)

SpectreBlofeld (886224) | 1 year,27 days | (#43305309)

I encourage anyone who has 20 minutes to spare to watch this short Frontline documentary on E-waste:

http://www.pbs.org/frontlineworld/stories/ghana804/video/video_index.html [pbs.org]

I bet lots of companies throwing out old hardware who are worried about data leakage could actually find use for their old drives in-house. Hell, just keep them in a closet somewhere until one of your in-use drives go bad (and they will).

Re:dd (2)

SpectreBlofeld (886224) | 1 year,27 days | (#43305329)

...the first line of my above post got eaten somehow, which was: 'Not to mention the fact that destroying non-defective drives is FUCKING WASTEFUL'.

Re:dd (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | 1 year,27 days | (#43305361)

'Not to mention the fact that destroying non-defective drives is FUCKING WASTEFUL'.

A million times, this. You don't need a 2TB drive in your desktop that uses network shares for saving everything.

Re:dd (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | 1 year,27 days | (#43305479)

I'm pretty sure that boring business desktops are why they still make 80 and 160 gig drives.

On the network side, we can't shove more 2TB nearlines in fast enough to keep the users happy; but every desktop still goes out largely empty.

Re:dd (1)

nitehawk214 (222219) | 1 year,27 days | (#43305715)

I'm pretty sure that boring business desktops are why they still make 80 and 160 gig drives.

On the network side, we can't shove more 2TB nearlines in fast enough to keep the users happy; but every desktop still goes out largely empty.

And if you are buying your computers from a standard manufacturer, they cost the same as the TB drives. Might as well get the bigger drives.

Re:dd (5, Interesting)

Penguinisto (415985) | 1 year,27 days | (#43305979)

And if you are buying your computers from a standard manufacturer, they cost the same as the TB drives. Might as well get the bigger drives.

As a bonus, a really enterprising sysadmin will use the (aggregate) empty desktop disk space as a de-centralized near-term backup solution. Mind you, it should never replace tapes, snapshots, etc, but...

If you can park encrypted copies of critical data around redundantly on every desktop, deny the use of that space to the desktop user, and do it in a way that's automated? Sweet. Why do it? Because you could possibly recover lost data much faster than calling your offsite provider and waiting for a tape to arrive. It also serves as a last-ditch, everything-else-has-failed means of recovering whatever data it is that you deposited there. You;d have to set up some sort of RAID-like redundancy, and a means to automatically update that data on a semi-regular basis, but damn if it wouldn't work. As a bonus, you can put that disk space to legitimate use, instead of watching it get filled up with cat pictures and web cached files from facebook. If each desktop has a TB of drive, you could slash it to 300GB for the desktop user, and take 600GB+ (mind the overhead) from each desktop for company use. Even with only, say, 40 desktops? You could get up an easy 12 TB of aggregate storage with a RAID1-like redundancy - maybe 6 TB if you had 4 copies of each chunk of data, which is still nothing to sneeze at (especially if you've priced SAN shelving as a near-line backup depot...)

(...though if you were a true BOFH, you could do the same thing, say it's for company data, then use it for your own personal stash or whatever...)

Re:dd (2)

Synerg1y (2169962) | 1 year,27 days | (#43305439)

Most of those legacy hard drives everybody always think can be re used are actually far lower RPM IDE hard drives. I'd be delighted to give one to somebody I don't like, but I think you get my point, they're not re-usable due to extremely poor performance.

Re:dd (1)

whoever57 (658626) | 1 year,27 days | (#43305805)

Most of those legacy hard drives everybody always think can be re used are actually far lower RPM IDE hard drives.

Wow! You must have some really old drives. Just looked at the 120GB hard drive that is sitting on my desk -- it's a 7200 RPM drive and was announced in 2001.

Re:dd (3, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | 1 year,27 days | (#43305467)

What are you going to do with several hundred 40GB IDE drives?
How about some SCSI320 drives?

No one has enough room to store all this crap.

Re:dd (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#43305713)

We use them at work in production line computers. We have setups so old that the computer won't run with anything bigger due to BIOS limitations.

Re:dd (2)

omnichad (1198475) | 1 year,27 days | (#43305975)

CF cards are IDE-based. Just plug one into an adapter and plug it into the IDE port on the motherboard. Cheap, faster, and more reliable than the old 40GB drives.

Re:dd (2)

eln (21727) | 1 year,27 days | (#43305455)

Not to DoD standards. Several (usually 3-7 passes with /dev/random (or /dev/urandom) followed by /dev/zero will erase data well enough for any standard out there other than those that specifically require physical destruction, though.

Re:dd (3, Interesting)

Hatta (162192) | 1 year,27 days | (#43305505)

Does the DoD have evidence that data can be recovered from a zeroed drive? Or do the recommend overkill just because they can?

Re:dd (1)

dave562 (969951) | 1 year,27 days | (#43305573)

My experience has been that they recommend it just because they can. I have dealt with this in the past in consultation with the risk management teams of various financial industry clients of ours. The first couple of times they asked me to do 7 pass zeroing on multiple terabytes of data, I tried to push back on it. Not a single one of them could produce any proof that a single pass was insufficient to render the data unreadable. Yet they all insist that it must be done to DoD standard, 7 pass wipe. It is just one of those idiocies that comes from the "security and risk" people who do not really understand what the risk is and are just checking off boxes on a form that they do not really understand.

Re:dd (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | 1 year,27 days | (#43305785)

Not to mention that the 'DoD Standard' is a myth. They actually have different erase and destroy requirements depending on the media type, but none of them require 7 times over write, since that is just a waste of time. The worst iIknow of is a 3 times overwrite if you want to re-use magnetic media at the same (or higher) classification level.

Re:dd (1)

mabhatter654 (561290) | 1 year,27 days | (#43305789)

Because their buddies in the CIA heard on a TV show that the NSA did this one thing and used it to recover the whole drive full of data and valid time stamps that sent a politician to jail!!!

Re:dd (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#43305869)

A while back - say 3->4 years ago - some guy was convicted of having child
porn on his computer. His story was that he had bought the drive second hand.
The FBI recovered the data in question; admitting that the drive had been
hard formated several times. No matter the conviction held and the victum^H^H^H^H^H^H
guilty verdict held.

Re:dd (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#43305585)

Does the DoD have evidence that data can be recovered from a zeroed drive? Or do the recommend overkill just because someone can profit from it.?

Re:dd (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#43305681)

I would suspect that anyone with a sufficiently good enough data recovery system can probably read the bits that have been zeroed. Since you're changing everything to the same state, it doesn't seem at all unlikely that reading small fluctuations in those "zero's" would be possible. I would think one pass of /dev/random followed by a pass of /dev/zero would probably be sufficient, but it takes a LONG time to do that. Certainly more than the 9 seconds it took to completely wipe the drive they put in the medium sized machine. Also, you can only write /dev/random or /dev/zero if the drive is still operable. If the drive dies and needs to be replaced, there isn't much hope other than destroying the drive physically, or wiping it with one of those machine.

I can say this though, if I worked in a data center, and had the job of wiping old drives being taken out of commission, I would definitely ask my company to buy one of those systems to save me the time and aggravation of doing it some other way.

Re:dd (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#43305747)

yes, drive forensics labs are known to be able to recover data off a zero'd drive. as soon as you transition over to the analog domain, it is evident which bits have been ones prior to being zeros, and vice versa.

Re:dd (3, Interesting)

Anubis IV (1279820) | 1 year,27 days | (#43305911)

The theory regarding how data could be recovered from a zeroed drive seems sound enough, namely that by measuring the difference between the analog signal captured directly from the head before it is converted to a digital signal, and then taking the difference between it and the digital signal, one can determine what the previous state was for each of those bits. And it also stands to reason that the various intelligence agencies who are purported to possess such capabilities would not be forthcoming in revealing their ability to do so.

That said, regardless of whether the technology exists or not, people who advocate 7-pass and 35-pass overwrites are just wasting their time, since even the author of the paper that proposed the 35-pass method acknowledged that only a subset of those passes are necessary for any particular drive, and that with modern drives a simple series of random rewrites would be more than sufficient. He even referred to the way that many people were using his technique as "a kind of voodoo incantation" [wikipedia.org] .

Re:dd (1)

D1G1T (1136467) | 1 year,27 days | (#43305923)

I think a lot of people assume that the bad guys are only going to use commercially available file recovery software to try to get data off of a zeroed drive. Think scanning electron microscope, etc. Also remember that custodians of secret (military, diplomatic) or private (medical) information can be criminally or financially liable if it gets out. $10K for something quick and sure is totally worth it.

Re:dd (1)

Synerg1y (2169962) | 1 year,27 days | (#43305575)

People who use these services justify the cost because they get a certificate.

In all honesty though, you're completely right, that whole industry is one giant scare scam.

It's supposedly possible in a lab environment to try and recover deleted data off a wiped drive by comparing the digital and analog signal differentials I believe... but if the NSA has interest in you, that's the least of your problems.

My preference is to use OP's unix command, except I tend to like to use /dev/urandom instead and then put them on the curb at the biz during earth day, problem solved. I'd also consider if the hard drive at some point had such sensitive data that somebody would try to do a signal differential DR on it, it may be wise to wipe it and then hold on to it in the IT closet (non-criminal data of course).

Re:dd (1)

mabhatter654 (561290) | 1 year,27 days | (#43305851)

Non-criminal is the tricky part. Much of what one group orders done BECOMES criminal when political circumstance changes. As this happens quite often it being its all three sides if they just agree to destroy everything all the time.

Re:dd (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | 1 year,27 days | (#43305839)

Not guaranteed if the device does any form of block remapping...

Which every modern drive for the past decade has done...

Re:dd (1)

Alphadecay27 (1277022) | 1 year,27 days | (#43305921)

There is a lot of FUD concerning data recovery. It is theoretically possible to recover data from older hard drives that have been overwritten. Peter Gutmann wrote a paper on the method then added an addendum that basically says it probably won't work on modern drives http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gutmann_method#Criticism [wikipedia.org] Most of the paranoia is based on a 16 year old paper which is no longer relevant + the fact that people often do a quick format instead of a full then wonder why their data is still recoverable.

I work for the government and I have met many managers who are technically capable of understanding that a single pass will do the trick. Every single one sticks with the party line (multipass wipe/physical destruction) to cover his ass.

Most data leaks happen when a hard drive is lost/stolen/not wiped at all. I have never heard of anyone recovering data from a formatted HD. Having a process at all is a good thing. It's the verification that you've wiped all the data that is important. Degaussing/shredding is an option for failed HDs but it is overkill otherwise.

Re:dd (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#43305261)

"We could get an image of the data-patterns"

Snake oil.

Re:dd (5, Insightful)

sexconker (1179573) | 1 year,27 days | (#43305689)

dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sda bs=1024 &

Won't work on an SSD. You have no idea what the controller is doing behind the scenes. There is capacity on the SSD that is completely and utterly inaccessible to the host. When you write 256 GB of zeros to your 256 GB SSD, you've probably got 16 or 32 GB the controller hasn't told you about, with data you know nothing about. You have to issue the ATA SECURE ERASE command, and even then you'll have no idea if the controller actually respected it and wiped everything.

For SSDs there are two reliable options.

1: Encrypt everything in software so the key nor a hash of it could never possibly be stored on the drive in unencrypted form.
2: Physical destruction.

Re:dd (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#43305761)

Why did this get modded down?

Hammered (2)

goldspider (445116) | 1 year,27 days | (#43305219)

I still find the old fashioned way, "whack the drive real hard with a hammer and shatter the platter" combines the best parts of effectiveness and gratification.

Re:Hammered (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#43305363)

Sounds silly, but I take the cover off of the drive, slide a hand-saw blade across the surface of each platter for a few seconds, bend it with a pair of pliers to get underneath and to the next top surface, then repeat. I've gotten the process down to about 10 minutes and would doubt that anyone can retrieve much from it, and wierdly enough enjoy it.

Re:Hammered (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | 1 year,27 days | (#43305493)

A sledge hammer would be a lot faster.

I find something in the 30 caliber rifle line to be a far more fun way to destroy data though.

Re:Hammered (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | 1 year,27 days | (#43305877)

Old hard drives are one of my favorite targets. I usually take the magnets out first and then shoot them with my SKS. My only complaint is they don't dance like empty pop cans do (hit them near the top or bottom and watch them spin and jump). Once they are so full of holes you have a better chance of going through an existing one than hitting metal they go into the recycle bin as at that point what is left is just the aluminum case and coated aluminum platters as the motor has been shot off at that point.

Re:Hammered (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#43305971)

In the military we would skip degaussing. We also skipped dev/zero and dev/random unless the disk was secret/top secret. We would simply chip the disks in a custom rig, then melting it all down to a nice little goo, and recycling it. Your method would probably suffice, but for some reason people get crazy when there's top secret information on the disks. Chipping+melting disks is very fast and the data is unrecoverable.

Re:Hammered (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#43305367)

They can still use a scanning tunneling electron microscope to read data off the fragments.


The only way to be sure.

Re:Hammered (2)

khallow (566160) | 1 year,27 days | (#43305549)

This. I imagine the most effect means would be to degauss the drive (to meet the official terms of the contract) and then bake it well above the critical point for the magnetic media in question. Thermite satisfies that part quite well and it wouldn't be hard to make a standard setup for slagging harddrives with thermite.

They probably could also modify a pizza oven (with conveyor belt) to get a high throughput baking system.

Re:Hammered (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | 1 year,27 days | (#43305589)

combines the best parts of effectiveness and gratification.

Yeah, they said:

their destruction process is more certain than shooting a hard drive with a .45.

But plinking hard drives is more fun. Good, wholesome, family fun.

Re:Hammered (1)

D1G1T (1136467) | 1 year,27 days | (#43305985)

Somehow I can't imagine organizations asking 60 year old secretaries to head out to the parking lot in steel toed boots and safety goggles. Thus these machines.

Complete utter advertisement (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#43305233)

This company & this technology has been around for a while doing this, it's not some "new" idea. Please get this horse shit off our site.

Re:Complete utter advertisement (1)

mabhatter654 (561290) | 1 year,27 days | (#43305953)

But it's fun. After all, we nearly kill ourselves for a living keeping all this data perfectly intact, 24x7x365.25.

There are entire companies that DESTROY SHIT FOR MONEY!!

One day you you can be fired for losing A file... The next these guys get to have the fun tearing ALL THE FILES to shreds. Let that settle in your mind and embrace the Stone of Sisyphus we push up the hill every day.

Thermite (4, Funny)

2starr (202647) | 1 year,27 days | (#43305237)

No, no, no. When it absolutely has to be destroyed, you use thermite [ck.cx] .

Re:Thermite (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#43305449)

Or if you have a welding cutting torch, roast it that way, once the platters get above the Curie temp then the magnetism is lost. I should make a spectacular fire as the aluminum case burns with all that oxygen as well.

Re:Thermite (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#43305611)

I use an Oxy-acetylene torch with a very large rosebud. I dare anyone to recover something useful from the molten mass.

Re:Thermite (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#43305835)

Does modern art count?

Re:Thermite (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#43305655)

Thermite doesnt leave the media intact you you can show it to someone that the data was destroyed. Ran into this with CDs. They made a grinder that grinds down the disk and destroyes the data layer but leaves the disk/label intact so you can "prove" it was destroyed. Government sillyness at its finest.

Re:Thermite (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#43305867)

$9000 to wipe a drive? Crack it open, pour some gas on it, and set the damn thing on fire. Done for less than $10.

Slashdot moderation abuse alert... apk (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#43305243)

A corrupt slashdot luser has infiltrated the moderation system to downmod all my posts while impersonating me.

Nearly 170++ times that I know of @ this point for all of March 2013 so far, & others here have told you to stop - take the hint, lunatic (leave slashdot)...

Sorry folks - but whoever the nutjob is that's attempting to impersonate me, & upset the rest of you as well, has SERIOUS mental issues, no questions asked! I must've gotten the better of him + seriously "gotten his goat" in doing so in a technical debate & his "geek angst" @ losing to me has him doing the:


A.) $10,000 challenges, ala (where the imposter actually TRACKED + LISTED the # of times he's done this no less, & where I get the 170 or so times I noted above) -> http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3585795&cid=43285307 [slashdot.org]


B.) Reposting OLD + possibly altered models - (this I haven't checked on as to altering the veracity of the info. being changed) of posts of mine from the past here


(Albeit massively repeatedly thru all threads on /. this March 2013 nearly in its entirety thusfar).

* Personally, I'm surprised the moderation staff here hasn't just "blocked out" his network range yet honestly!

(They know it's NOT the same as my own as well, especially after THIS post of mine, which they CAN see the IP range I am coming out of to compare with the ac spamming troll doing the above...).


P.S.=> Again/Stressing it: NO guys - it is NOT me doing it, as I wouldn't waste that much time on such trivial b.s. like a kid might...

Plus, I only post where hosts file usage is on topic or appropriate for a solution & certainly NOT IN EVERY POST ON SLASHDOT (like the nutcase trying to "impersonate me" is doing for nearly all of March now, & 170++ times that I know of @ least)... apk

That's not I folks It's Jeremiah Cornelius... apk (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#43305885)

THIS is why he's doing it & proof of it, here -> http://interviews.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3585927&cid=43295193 [slashdot.org] when others pointed out Jeremiah Cornelius forgot to submit one of the "first post spams" masquerading as myself as AC, & mistakenly submitted one of the impersonations of myself as his registered 'luser' name here on /. forums.

Pretty pitiful actually, but like every up to no good idiot does? He screwed up & submitted it under his registered 'luser' name here.

* Jeremiah Cornelius: DO YOURSELF, and the rest of us, A GIANT FAVOR MAN: Seek professional psychiatric help!

(Since Jeremiah Cornelius obviously can't get over the fact he made a spelling error on what it is HE ALLEGEDLY DID FOR A LIVING? That's not MY fault... it's HIS!)


P.S.=> I seriously must have dusted JC (in his mind @ least) for his BAD spelling error & it "got his goat"...

I.E.-> Catching what he claimed to do as a job, for YEARS he left "PENETRATION" (correct) spelled as "PENTRATION" (incorrect) on his resume on LinkedIn & I pointed it out as he & his friends trolled me as usual (webmistressrachel, gmhowell, & crew (probably ALL JC no doubt using alterate emails or TOR to do it as a possible - I've caught "them & theirs" doing it before, ala Barbara, not Barbie = TomHudson (same person))).

So THAT is what has gotten his goat in a technical debate & his "geek angst" could only come up with *trying* to "impersonate me" in every news thread on /. for the month of March 2013 so far!

(Just to attempt to 'discredit me' as a spammer here obviously)

Doing so, by posting that "$10,000 challenge" &/or reposts of my old posts on hosts file value to end users into EVERY SINGLE NEWS ARTICLE POSTED on /. ...

It's all I can think of that *might* cause such a mentally troubled 'reaction' like the Jeremiah Cornelius is doing & there's NO QUESTION he's the one doing this spamming of nearly every posted article masquerading as myself...!

... apk

In b4 dice downmodd (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#43305247)

And that concludes Roblimo's daily Slashvertisement courtesy of Dice.com.

Grinder? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#43305257)

Can't we just drop it into a slot and grind it do dust?

Soooooooo much snake oil!!!!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#43305265)

Just melt the damn thing. A big acid bath or hot furnace will sort it out. $9000 is a rip off, a scam of cosmic proportions. No wonder our nations are broke.

Sodium Hydroxide (3, Funny)

morcego (260031) | 1 year,27 days | (#43305273)

I find a bath in NaOH to be a very effective way to destroy media past any possible recovery. Specially if you are going to incinerate it afterwards.

NaOH is also very cheap, and available everywhere, making it a wonderful low budget solution to use in the less cosmopolitan parts of the world.

Re:Sodium Hydroxide (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | 1 year,27 days | (#43305523)

Drives are made of aluminum right?

Remember not to smoke while you use that approach then.

Re:Sodium Hydroxide (2, Funny)

morcego (260031) | 1 year,27 days | (#43305725)

Drives are made of aluminum right?

Remember not to smoke while you use that approach then.

I see you noticed the "extra" beauty of the process :)

This is not for us. (5, Insightful)

rodrigoandrade (713371) | 1 year,27 days | (#43305405)

This is a company that leeches off government contractors (Lockheed et al.) that have virtually infinite budgets paid by our tax dollars.

Thus, $9000 for a low-level wipe.

Re:This is not for us. (3, Insightful)

gl4ss (559668) | 1 year,27 days | (#43305623)

actually low level wipe sounds more useful and more impervious to an overdesigned harddrive problem(the casing in this process remains intact - I guess there's some physics involved why the hd casing couldn't protect the discs themselves while the hd electronics themselves get fried by the process).

and well, if you plop that 9k you can wipe as many drives as you want I suppose.

bit dust (1)

markhahn (122033) | 1 year,27 days | (#43305431)

sure, you can pound or melt, but for my money, sandpapering the platters by hand is the best way to pay homage to your dearly departed bits.

Re:bit dust (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#43305645)

"Don't breathe this. "

Value? (1)

Bigby (659157) | 1 year,27 days | (#43305477)

If you are spending $9,000 to destroy some data, you are probably overvaluing data destruction vs simpler methods. This is probably done by companies that think someone is going to spend the time/money to break into their data for the useless information that is likely there. Most big companies can't even find their own data, let alone some hacker trying to piece things together.

http://www.fiftythree.org/etherkiller/ (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#43305485)


just make one with ide and sata plugs

.45 (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#43305519)

I will go with the gun every time. A round from a rifle will do a better job than a handgun.

But, will it blend? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#43305547)

That is the question!

COAL (3, Informative)

Charliemopps (1157495) | 1 year,27 days | (#43305557)

Coal is about $80/ton. Take about 1lb of that, light it, set a bunch of hard drives in the middle of it, put a house fan next to it... hard drives are a puddle of molten steel/plastic in about 10min and it cost you pennies. You can do the same with propane, but you'll need to build a burner and such.

And before anyone gets on their high horse about burning coal, keep in mind the little device they're using her was most likely powered by coal generated electricity.

How about CD-ROMS and DVD-ROMs? (1)

packrat0x (798359) | 1 year,27 days | (#43305563)

What is the recommended method for destroying CD-ROMs and DVD-ROMs which have sensitive tax records (besides using a microwave)?

Re:How about CD-ROMS and DVD-ROMs? (1)

mlts (1038732) | 1 year,27 days | (#43305635)

I just snap them in half. Bent one way, they will shatter, the other way, they will just bend.

This won't be useful for top secret data where someone might have a custom jig to read tracks on pieces of CD/DVD media, but for almost everyone else, tossing the shattered media into multiple piles and tossing each pile in a separate wastebin is good enough.

Re:How about CD-ROMS and DVD-ROMs? (2)

Sparticus789 (2625955) | 1 year,27 days | (#43305773)

Open the drive shell. Pull out the platters. Place on top of pile of sticks. Pour gasoline on top of platters and sticks. Light match. Start fire. Roast marshmallows.

Unleash the pyro in yourself... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#43305567)

a couple of pounds of thermite, a pile of drives underneath, ignite, enjoy the show... (be sure to have a proper crucible or heat rated concrete underneath - or at least a good sand-pit that you're prepared to see turned into glass....

Re:Unleash the pyro in yourself... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#43305603)

drink coffee, then post - use thermate, not thermite - better burn, more intrusive with the slag.

Crazy System Admin (3, Insightful)

scribblej (195445) | 1 year,27 days | (#43305571)

Our former sysadmin purchased a drill press for the purpose of rendering old hard drives unrecoverable. Seemed both fun and practical.

get the magnets out (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#43305607)

and while doing thatslide them across the platters a few times
throw the rest in the recycle bin
magnets are cool

Re:get the magnets out (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | 1 year,27 days | (#43305865)

That actually doesn't work. I tried it. I could not even erase a floppy disk with permanent magnets.

Greed and waste (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#43305637)

Typical American corporate greed, paranoia and wastefulness.

Everyone's out to get that secret data which enables the thieves to bring the company to its knees. Don't bother with a couple of fills of random and solid data over the drive - make sure to break it and throw it out for little or no recycling after the first back-up.

Soon they'll consume SD cards like sheets of toilet paper.

Unsure about .45 (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#43305641)

FWIW, I stopped shooting hard drives with a .45 after I watched one bounce off in an indeterminate direction. Now, that was .45ACP... .45-70, on the other hand...

There's already an age-group for that. (3, Funny)

u64 (1450711) | 1 year,27 days | (#43305647)

Just hand it over to any teenager - they usually destroy most things that comes anywhere near them.
To guarantee swift and total destruction make sure to tell them to *please* be careful with it.
And that it is fragile and expensive.

Nuke it from orbit (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#43305787)

That's the only sure way.

ATA Secure Erase (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#43305801)

hdparm --security-erase

faster and more secure than a bunch of passes of /dev/zero and/or /dev/random

Time is money (1)

mindcandy (1252124) | 1 year,27 days | (#43305961)

There is a reason for this sort of gear
Time is money.

As an example, we have a couple thousand PCs that are dumped each year due to lifecycle replacement. Yes, these are perfectly good PCs that could be wiped and loaded with (whatever) and donated .. but THAT COSTS MONEY. Loosing even ONE hard drive with data on it puts us in the newspaper, hence the policy is :

No data storage device leaves intact, ever.

We have the guys in facilities run them through a giant metal bandsaw, and that's BEFORE they go to be shredded/recycled (which, ironically, we pay THEM for, despite the fact that we're talking about tons of aluminum/steel/whatever .. but they won't burn off the insulation out back like JimBob either).

The reason you don't use .45ACP or sledgehammers is one of liability. Before the bandsaw method we used sledgehammers until some idiot hurt himself. When somebody looses a finger due to stupidity we'll probably buy one of these.
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