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Where Old Hard Disks (with Digital Secrets) Go To Die

timothy posted about 7 months ago | from the relax-we-used-to-work-at-cold-stone-creamery dept.

Data Storage 128

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Justin George writes at McClatchy that in a 20,000-square-foot warehouse, where visitors are required to trade in a driver's license for a visitor's badge, some of the nation's secrets are torn apart, reduced to sand or demagnetized until they are forever silent. Need to destroy a rugged Toughbook laptop that might have been used in war? E-End will use a high-powered magnetic process known as degaussing to erase its hard drive of any memory. A computer monitor that might have some top-secret images left on it? Crushed and ground into recyclable glass. Laser sights for weapons? Torn into tiny shards of metal. "We make things go away," says Arleen Chafitz, owner and CEO of e-End Secure Data Sanitization and Electronics Recycling, a company with sixteen employees that destroys hard drives, computers, monitors, phones and other sensitive equipment that governments and corporations don't want in the wrong hands. Chafitz say the information technology departments at typical companies might not have the proper tools or training to adequately dispose of data. IT departments focus on fixing and restoring data, they say, while data-wiping companies focus on just the opposite."

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Using encryption is the better option (2, Insightful)

ffkom (3519199) | about 7 months ago | (#46127757)

Using encryption not only saves you effort when the harddisk dies after years, it also provides security benefits during the drives lifetime and makes warranty-exchanges of young defect drives painless.

Re:Using encryption is the better option (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46127769)

Yes, but make sure it's not one of them NSA (suspected) weakened/backroored ciphers.

Rot 26 all the way for me, baby!

Re:Using encryption is the better option (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46127855)

None of the symmetric block ciphers commonly used for disk encryption are backdoored.

However, if you're looking at a closed-source implementation, especially in hardware or firmware, you may well be looking at a backdoored or simply flawed implementation. Examples abound of storage devices with 'hardware AES encryption' which use a key of all zeroes, or ECB mode, or CBC mode with predictable (or zero) IVs, or some other basic fuckup.

Re:Using encryption is the better option (2, Funny)

maxwell demon (590494) | about 7 months ago | (#46127903)

Of course having a key of all zeroes is a bad mistake. That's why I always go away from that mistake as far as possible, by using a key which has no zero altogether. That is, a key of all ones. Clearly as opposite of the most insecure key, that's the most secure one. ;-)

Re:Using encryption is the better option (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 7 months ago | (#46128787)

We're in 2014, ROT26 has been a weak encryption scheme since the 1970's. You really should upgrade to ROT436207616.

Re:Using encryption is the better option (2)

rubycodez (864176) | about 7 months ago | (#46127897)

wrong point of view. you have no way of knowing what algorithms will fall to simpler solutions or more powerful solvers in the future. and your favorite method might have a back door. or perhaps the key was make known

Re:Using encryption is the better option (1)

C3ntaur (642283) | about 7 months ago | (#46127931)

This is why I have little use for cloud storage. Encryption is best thought of as a delay mechanism.

Re:Using encryption is the better option (4, Informative)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 7 months ago | (#46128097)

Not to mention it appears they are still using voodoo like having to degauss drives instead of simply wiping them.

Nobody has yet to show they managed to get back even a single file from a modern drive after it has had a simple zero wipe yet all these "security sites" still hold onto old wive's tales that haven't been true since the days of the MFM drives! Protip: The reason you could recover files from those old drives? The motors were VERY inaccurate and could slip the tracks, thus leaving tracks after an erase cycle. A modern drive have tracks sooo small there is no way in hell its gonna be missing tracks, you'd know there were issues because the drive would fail before it would miss a track.

So I wonder how long voodoo from the age of DOS is gonna be taken as fact? An encrypted drive with a single wipe would insure there was zero data to recover and wouldn't be based on 30+ year old info, it would also deal with the real issue, the fact that there is no way to securely wipe an SSD that I know of, because SSDs don't "erase", just mark sectors as available to minimize writes.

Re: Using encryption is the better option (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46128209)

Writing zeros assumes the drive still works,
Degaussing requires no such thought

Re:Using encryption is the better option (2)

Poingggg (103097) | about 7 months ago | (#46128213)

Not to mention it appears they are still using voodoo like having to degauss drives instead of simply wiping them.\

So I wonder how long voodoo from the age of DOS is gonna be taken as fact? An encrypted drive with a single wipe would insure there was zero data to recover and wouldn't be based on 30+ year old info, it would also deal with the real issue, the fact that there is no way to securely wipe an SSD that I know of, because SSDs don't "erase", just mark sectors as available to minimize writes.

Maybe because degaussing takes seconds (i think) and wiping takes hours? Not unimportant for a business I would think. (You are right about the SSD's though).

Re:Using encryption is the better option (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46128259)

Only you would call basic physics "voodoo" while at the same time dreaming about warp drives. Or making up stuff about "very inaccurate" "motors". You mean the STEPPER motors they used back then for the heads? They weren't "VERY" inaccurate and didn't "slip the tracks". That's a made-up term btw you liar.

Re:Using encryption is the better option (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46130219)

The heads were moved by a linear actuator, not a motor.

Re:Using encryption is the better option (1)

DarkVader (121278) | about 7 months ago | (#46130949)

No, they were moved by stepper motors on quite a few hard drives. I'm sure some may have used linear actuators, but certainly not any hard drive I ever worked with back then.

Re:Using encryption is the better option (0)

ihtoit (3393327) | about 7 months ago | (#46131157)

I've never come across a hard drive with a stepper motor actuated arm. Care to cite a model number for me?

(I have a Quantum Fireball 5.25" 40MB drive that uses a voice coil actuator and two very strong rare-earth magnets to move the heads, the exact same technology used in my Hitachi Deskstars and in my 1TB Seagate 7200.12 SATA).

Of course, I stand to be corrected on this, but: model numbers, please, none of this "You're a fuckin' idiot!" bullshit.

Re:Using encryption is the better option (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46131253)

Why can't you just google it? Seriously. There's even video of an old hard drive with a stepper motor for the heads. Jesus Christ, if you still don't believe me, because you're under 25 and can't possibly imagine that the world was different before you popped into it, you can buy some on eBay.

What do you think RAMAC used? Here's a part number for you, you obtuse Asperger's ignoramus:

IBM 305

Oh wait, that was COMPRESSED AIR.

Oh geez, what's with all this history stuff? If only there could be some way to store and retrieve historical information from the comfort of one's home!

Furthermore, while meditating on exactly how hard drives worked before there was more computing power in the PRML decoder than in the first PC, how did floppy drives move their head back and forth? Why would you think the first hard drives would have been so dramatically different?

And just for you, cupcake:

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

I've read your posts before, and a more unpleasant, stubborn, right-fighter I've yet to meet.

Re:Using encryption is the better option (1)

icebike (68054) | about 7 months ago | (#46129963)

Not to mention it appears they are still using voodoo like having to degauss drives instead of simply wiping them.

That's not half of it. There is also this bit:

A computer monitor that might have some top-secret images left on it?

Seriously? How does stupidity of this level actually make it to the real world?>

Re:Using encryption is the better option (2)

drkim (1559875) | about 7 months ago | (#46130277)

A computer monitor that might have some top-secret images left on it?

Seriously? How does stupidity of this level actually make it to the real world?>

Monitor burn-in.

http://stevenandy.files.wordpr... [wordpress.com]

Re:Using encryption is the better option (1)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | about 7 months ago | (#46131065)

They could be referring to screen-burn on old CRTs.

Re:Using encryption is the better option (1)

ihtoit (3393327) | about 7 months ago | (#46131217)

Not to mention it appears they are still using voodoo like having to degauss drives instead of simply wiping them.

Degaussing is only useful if you don't intend to use the drive again, considering the vulnerability of controller chips and servo tracks to strong EMP renders drives useless.

That's not half of it. There is also this bit:

A computer monitor that might have some top-secret images left on it?

Seriously? How does stupidity of this level actually make it to the real world?>

Burn-in. A common problem on CRTs and on early OLED screens (I just ditched a CRT with an image coldburned into the screen (you could actually make out what it was with the monitor turned off), and I have an mp3/media player that plays video on a 1.1" OLED - which has the player screen permanently burned in. Actually, somewhere around I have an old TFT panel from a Dell laptop that also seems to have burned...)

Re:Using encryption is the better option (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46131393)

Well, your mom popped you into an unsuspecting world. Just because your experience of the world is very limited, and you are satisfied that this limited experience represents absolute truth, guess what? You're still wrong, uninformed, ignorant, and seemingly proud of it. You and ihtoit, like perfect little bookends.

People are idiots and have no knowledge of things outside their little spheres of interest and no desire to learn. - AC

Re:Using encryption is the better option (1)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | about 7 months ago | (#46131075)

These are not your everyday run of the mill business hard drives. These are drives that other countries would invest significant resources to read. This could include malicious firmwares that detect wipes and "pretend" to be empty. Firmware infection is starting to rise and governments are realizing that "nuke it from orbit" is in fact the only way to be sure.

Re:Using encryption is the better option (2)

couchslug (175151) | about 7 months ago | (#46128609)

While encryption is desirable, hard disks, all of them, are trivially cheap compared to loss of classified into.

When in doubt, shred.

Duh (5, Funny)

g0bshiTe (596213) | about 7 months ago | (#46127783)

Silicone Heaven, otherwise where do all the calculators go?

Re:Duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46127827)

Silicone Heaven, otherwise where do all the calculators go?

Oh, I'm sorry, that's not the answer we were looking for. We wanted the Guardian's office in Kings Cross [slashdot.org] . Better luck next time, and thanks for playing.

Re:Duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46128217)

the same place all mention of nano-thermite residue at Silverstein Properties go.....
or was it asbestos-removal cost-coefficient.

Re:Duh (1)

sunderland56 (621843) | about 7 months ago | (#46128333)

Silicone Heaven, otherwise where do all the calculators go?

Didn't there used to be a strip bar named Silicone Heaven?

And yeah, there were a lot of accountants there.

Re:Duh (1)

excelsior_gr (969383) | about 7 months ago | (#46129819)

You mean Silicon Heaven. Silicone Heaven is yo mama's boobs.

Jump The Shark (5, Insightful)

retroworks (652802) | about 7 months ago | (#46127791)

Data destruction industry has finally "jumped the shark" with the posting of the Guardian Newspaper's hard drive destruction just a few hours ago. This sales pitch shows the billion dollar industry behind selling insurance to people afraid of digital losses via old hardware. http://www.theguardian.com/wor... [theguardian.com]

Identity theft and trade secret losses are real, very real risks. But physically destroying hardware is to data protections as toilet paper on the loo lid is to AIDS prevention. The real threats are phishing (getting employees to log in credentials on fake websites), and loss of active PCs (theft of laptops from the back of cars), and the new credit-card swiping devices used at Target stores are the actual risks.

I have heard the argument that physically destroying the disks eliminates the potential for bad apple employees to skirt the wiping of disks, and that with physical destruction you really control human error. I say bullhockey. When I have a staffer wiping disks, I can inventory the disks and randomly sample them to see if the data has been erased, and replace the staffer if necessary. If the drives are thrown in a mechanical shredder, how do I know a PARTICULAR drive was thrown in the shredder? How will I ever catch the bad apple? Try sifting through the scrap fluff for serial numbers to make sure the right one went through the machine.

The big opportunity is "digital haystacks", putting randomized and false data out, especially metadata. If enough bad data written on to drives, it has the added benefit of wasting the time of Russian hackers who have too much of it on their hands.

Re:Jump The Shark (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 7 months ago | (#46127899)

Physical destruction is something you do to put on a show for the boss's boss's boss.

Re:Jump The Shark (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46127985)

Physical destruction is something you do to put on a show for the boss's boss's boss.

"Look, Smithers! It blends!"

Re:Jump The Shark (1)

fuzzywig (208937) | about 7 months ago | (#46130077)

We had the truck round to destroy a bunch of disks recently at work (most of the drives wouldn't have had anything on them, but a few might have been exposed to customer's credit card data), and watching this big green lump of steel turn a harddrive into tiny mettle chips was really fucking cool!
So yeah, maybe it's not necessary, but it's a bloody good show.

Re:Jump The Shark (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 7 months ago | (#46127909)

Try sifting through the scrap fluff for serial numbers to make sure the right one went through the machine.

That's a very good point. In my case I could keep the part of the casing with the serial number after I've ripped the thing apart to get the magnets, but in industrial quantities that would require too much time. I'd suggest putting pallets of the things in steel heat treatment ovens for a bit but only because I've worked with those things. Maybe soaking them for a bit in vats of citric or phosphoric acid? It doesn't have to be highly concentrated to rip into the iron oxide on the platters which holds the information. The amount of phosphoric acid in coca cola is enough to remove a bit of rust over a couple of days.

Re:Jump The Shark (1)

Eskarel (565631) | about 7 months ago | (#46127917)

It sort of depends on the value of your secrets. People are reasonably certain that if you wipe random data over a disk 32 times that it can never be recovered, reasonably certain, with current technology anyway, well with the current technology we know about anyway. Now you have to ensure of course that it's been done properly and some dimwit hasn't just cleared a partition instead of the whole volume, and of course when you start dealing with SSD's or more expensive drives with smarter controllers your ability to actually do a write to every sector to achieve this goal is somewhat questionable, and of course doing a 32 times rewrite on a large drive is going to take a few days to actually finish, days you're paying someone you trust with that data to sit and watch it, well presumably anyway.

On the other hand, physically destroying the disc is much faster and much more effective, depending on what the company charges, it might actually even be cheaper since you could actually do it to a whole bunch of hard drives at once.

Is it probably excessive if you're the radio shack at the mall? Sure, if you're the government though?

Re:Jump The Shark (3, Informative)

mikael (484) | about 7 months ago | (#46128709)

Those smarter drives do insane things that having a pool of surplus disk blocks and having a virtual disk cylinder/sector map that can swap out old blocks that have become damaged and replace them with a new block. Just because you think you are writing on cylinder 32, sector 5, block 3, doesn't mean it's really at that location. Theoretically, it might be possible to fill up every possible block with data, but that's no guarantee.

So the only safe way is to destroy the hard disk drives.

Re:Jump The Shark (1)

jamesmeece (713836) | about 7 months ago | (#46129427)

Usually using "Secure Erase" gets around this issue. Even for SSD's (assuming implemented properly, which most major companies do)

Re:Jump The Shark (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46130291)

"Usually" is precisely why for high security content the drives are simply destroyed. No way to know that the firmware actually did what it is supposed to do, and no way to easily audit it on the spot means destruction is more cost effective.

Re:Jump The Shark (1)

tomhath (637240) | about 7 months ago | (#46127973)

I'd be happy with a log of what was destroyed. Maybe pictures/scans of the drive just before it was destroyed if the stuff on it was really important. Keeping thousands of wiped drives around so you can go look at them occasionally is kind of pointless

Re:Jump The Shark (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 7 months ago | (#46128149)

The big opportunity is "digital haystacks", putting randomized and false data out, especially metadata. If enough bad data written on to drives, it has the added benefit of wasting the time of Russian hackers who have too much of it on their hands.

So how much of your time are you going to spend to one-up the Russians, well-educated in maths, by creating convincingly fake data?

wait... That doesn't protect against AIDS?! (1)

mekkab (133181) | about 7 months ago | (#46128171)

Guess I need to find a new General Practitioner! >:(

Re:Jump The Shark (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 7 months ago | (#46128277)

The IT security staff at Comcast required the power supplied to be destroyed as they can contain "data"

That is the day that I realized that IT security guys at most corporations are simply Cops that cant keep a job as a cop and fake their IT background.

Re:Jump The Shark (1)

rubycodez (864176) | about 7 months ago | (#46129309)

you are silly, your process depends on *you* being trustworthy. A proper shredding program with witnesses at each step ensures the data is really destroyed, and keep those who can cause the most damage by being a bad apple, which mostly means you, in line.

Directed at Justin George (2)

g0bshiTe (596213) | about 7 months ago | (#46127793)

This is /. brother, I'm sure everyone here knows what the hell a degaussing gun does without the description there.

Due explain how other than burn in a computer monitor may still contain top secret images though.

Re:Directed at Justin George (4, Insightful)

the_skywise (189793) | about 7 months ago | (#46127803)

Yeah I was about to post the same question.

But given the over-explanation for degaussing maybe it's something as simple as burn-in on old CRT monitors that did status displays for weapons panels/nuclear reactors, etc; ?

Re:Directed at Justin George (1)

miaDWZ (820679) | about 7 months ago | (#46127843)

[Do] explain how other than burn in a computer monitor may still contain top secret images though.

When it comes to security, sometimes you can never be too careful [slashdot.org] .

Re:Directed at Justin George (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46128115)

This is /. brother, I'm sure everyone here knows what the hell a degaussing gun does without the description there.

I'm curious as to how they made a strong enough degaussing gun to work on modern hard drive platters. The old style of "wave the hard drive over a wire coil a few times" no longer works like it does with old-style tape backups and floppies.

Re:Directed at Justin George (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46128397)

Hmm, well, in _theory_, one might imagine that the frame buffer / scaler chip memory on a modern digital flat-panel monitor might somehow retain a (probably partial, corrupted) copy of the last image that the monitor was displaying before it was powered off.

Now you might say, "but that memory is sure to be DRAM, which loses its state without power!". Yes, but maybe there is just enough residual capacity / charge for the data to be read out with some kind of super-sensitive probe?

Alternatively, if the monitor was displaying some kind of static image, it might have left slight differences in wear in the memory cells containing say light vs dark pixels? Again, rather far-fetched, but I wouldn't say that the basic physics rules out the possibility completely.

The Slashdot Beta needs to die. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46127807)

I can't believe that this Slashdot Beta nonsense is still going on.

I think it has been about a month now since they started forcing it upon us unwilling victims. The response to it has been unanimous hatred. In one story after another I see numerous frustrated people expressing their complete dislike for the beta site.

Why can't those running Slashdot understand that EVERYBODY HATES THE SLASHDOT BETA SITE?

It is inferior to the existing site in every single way. There is a ton of wasted empty space. The font sizing and spacing is really fucked up. The lack of contrast between the text and background colors makes reading the content difficult. The story images are too large, pointless and wasteful. The story comment layout is difficult to read. It's far harder to post.

Some software projects do fail. The Slashdot Beta is one of them. Such failure is just a part of the game. When it happens, the sensible thing to do is to cut one's losses, cancel the failing project, throw away the code, and learn not do make the same mistakes ever again.

  If this terrible beta site eventually goes live, it surely will drive away the few remaining users of value here. It'll be Digg v4 all over again.

PLEASE, SLASHDOT, PUT AN END TO THIS HORRIFIC BETA SITE PROJECT! IT IS A FAILURE THAT CANNOT BE SALVAGED!

Re:The Slashdot Beta needs to die. (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46127835)

The nobeta=1 "fix" doesn't always work. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46127861)

Wise up, the nobeta=1 "fix" doesn't always work. I've been bumped to stories on the beta site, added the query string parameter, and yet remain on the beta site.

Besides, do you really think it'll survive the beta site going live, god forbid that actually does happen? You may be naive enough to trust in it, but I sure as hell wouldn't count on it being around. Not that it's really around now, mind you, given how broken it seems to be.

There's only one solution to this problem, and that's for the Slashdot crew to smarted up and trash this utterly stupid and failed beta site project. Getting rid of it completely is the only sane way forward.

Re:The nobeta=1 "fix" doesn't always work. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46127885)

Wise up, the nobeta=1 "fix" doesn't always work.

Yes it does. Erase your cookies from slashdot.org and try again.

Re:The nobeta=1 "fix" doesn't always work. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46127939)

If one needs to start deleting cookies in order to get it to work, then it clearly doesn't work as it is. Thus the GP is right. Something that doesn't work perfectly is, by definition, inherently broken. The only options are to repair it, or to discard it. The same goes for the new /. site, too. I agree that it's broken, and I agree that it can't be repaired, so I have no choice but to accept that it should be discarded. The earlier commenters are right; /. is better off without the new site. It isn't very good at all.

- AC

Re:The nobeta=1 "fix" doesn't always work. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46128027)

Yes it does. Erase your cookies from slashdot.org and try again.

First you claim that it does work always, and then you admit that in some situations you have to delete cookies from slashdot.org for it to work. So it does not work always.

Let me guess - GCHQ? (1)

dcollins117 (1267462) | about 7 months ago | (#46127839)

Just scanning the title of TFS I thought this was going to be an article about GCHQ technicians, angle grinders, and electric drills.

Degaussing? Really? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46127849)

Degaussing? On a modern hard disk, with that level of coercivity? Bloody amateurs. Degaussing won't do shit to a modern hard disk.

A dd zerofill pass is actually enough to stop the NSA and GCHQ in a determined 'recovery' attack, for any sector that's actually overwritten, to their immense frustration. Meanwhile, remapped sectors and removing HPAs are the domain of ATA Secure Erase - Enhanced, and all the firmware seems to do just what it says on the tin for that. One pass of each would be just fine.

Bets are only off if the drive firmware's implanted (in which case, they probably already exfiltrated the data while it was running, anyway). If you suspect that, kill it with fire: you need to raise the platter above the Curie point. This means heat. That actually destroys the data. You could destroy the drive in any reasonable form by shredding it, but there's little point in that - see above - you could just erase it.

Re:Degaussing? Really? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46127857)

Read the second and third links, this is a /. advertisement aimed at government surplus property managers. Those are the only people still capable of convincing that screen burn on a CRT monitor will be read by spies to obtain valuable secrets (like Windows 98 logos), and degaussing sounds very safe too.

Re:Degaussing? Really? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 7 months ago | (#46128267)

Most executives are incredibly low IQ types that believe the crap such as degaussing this is who they cater to.

Re:Degaussing? Really? (1)

datapharmer (1099455) | about 7 months ago | (#46128515)

a drill is usually faster than zeroing out the drive and works for 99% of cases. Maybe not nsa, but it will even slow them down a bit.

If it's not being reused - go full industrial (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 7 months ago | (#46127867)

If it's not being reused then degaussing is a waste of time and money if an oxy torch or plasma cutter is available. Even cheaper would be the sort of rollers used to make steel rod from billets. I'm sure any junkyard on the planet would have even better suggestions for total destruction. You can't recover data from tiny fragments, especially if they've been heated up to less than red heat to lose their magnetism for a while and come back to room temperature with the magnetic domains in different places.

Re:If it's not being reused - go full industrial (1)

sunderland56 (621843) | about 7 months ago | (#46128365)

If it's not being reused, just build one giant Blendtec blender [youtube.com] .

Re:If it's not being reused - go full industrial (1)

rotorbudd (1242864) | about 7 months ago | (#46128745)

Hard Drive meet Hammer Drill

Reminder (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46127871)

It is rude to randomly redirect visitors to beta.slashdot.
Even more so because beta sucks.

Providing a hard to find opt-out, adding /?nobeta=1 to the url, just upgrades the aggravation level from "rude" to "insulting and infuriating".
The only acceptable option is, as always, opt-in.

I guess you need reminding. a lot.

Re:Reminder (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about 7 months ago | (#46127919)

Those who will see your comment are not those why may need reminding. It's not the readers of Slashdot who give you the beta interface.

Re:Reminder (1)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | about 7 months ago | (#46127955)

Thank you for your feedback.

degaussing fails on SSD (1)

johnjones (14274) | about 7 months ago | (#46127875)

so when you want to take a storage device into rough environment would you take spinning media...

so the question would be what do they do to SSD...

John Jones

Re:degaussing fails on SSD (1)

AndroSyn (89960) | about 7 months ago | (#46128215)

I'd imagine physically shred the SSDs back into sand? When I've needed to destroy an SSD, I've just taken a power drill to the flash chips.

Laser sights for weapons? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46127907)

What kind of secrets does a laser sight have? It's just a glorified laser pointer.

Re:Laser sights for weapons? (1)

MiniMike (234881) | about 7 months ago | (#46128105)

I took this to mean they want to keep the design of the optics secret.

Pelease! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46127913)

Anybody having e Greasemonkey script to filter out these awful Pickens ads?

Re:Pelease! (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about 7 months ago | (#46127965)

I have no idea what you speak of, but I guess AdBlock Plus and RequestPolicy would each get rid of it. Possibly NoScript would suffice, too. (I run all three, and that certainly is enough to not make me see it).

Re:Pelease! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46127977)

I have no idea what you speak of

Clearly.

Re:Pelease! (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 7 months ago | (#46128039)

I have no idea what you speak of

He means the articles submitted by Hugh Pickens, who has "DOT Com" in his username, which some people see as an advertisement for hughpickens.com.

Re:Pelease! (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 7 months ago | (#46128257)

Yes it's called adblock plus. Stop trying to block ad's with greasemonkey.

Simpler, incinerate with common trash (2)

Framboise (521772) | about 7 months ago | (#46127967)

My town has a huge incinerator for common trash that will bring any computer component well over 1000C: most computer component would be finely destroyed to atomic level. As a bonus the incinerator produces electricity.
It would suffice to secure the transport to the incinerator and let heat finish the task.

Re:Simpler, incinerate with common trash (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46128315)

Does your town filter the exhaust or are you breathing in old harddrive atoms right now???

Re:Simpler, incinerate with common trash (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46128383)

No... Not the companion cube...

Re:Simpler, incinerate with common trash (1)

ImprovOmega (744717) | about 7 months ago | (#46129329)

Except for the environmental toxins that would release, I would agree with you.

What we really need is a local black hole to chuck unwanted devices into. Guaranteed information destruction baby!

greyholes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46129529)

But hawking says the info is still there, now.

Re:Simpler, incinerate with common trash (1)

rubycodez (864176) | about 7 months ago | (#46129341)

you are funny, such a temperature does not render things to "atomic level", many metals won't even melt at that temperature. you will break down many toxic organics though. but you will turn other things into poisonous fumes (solids suspended in hot gases)

Paid Ad Again (2)

fat_mike (71855) | about 7 months ago | (#46128117)

EPC [epcusa.com] does the same thing. Though they don't degauss the drive. They completely destroy it. I am fortunate to have one of their recycling centers in town and believe me there is nothing like watching your hard drives go up a 30 foot conveyor belt into a 30 foot tall shredder and come out as slivers.

I don't work for them, I'm just damn happy they exist. Capitalism at its best, find a need and fill it.

Re:Paid Ad Again (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46128337)

Yes, those where the shreds of "your" drive. Not last weeks drives that the NSA already copied all data off. Go back to sleep sheople nothing to see here. Your data was destroyed. After we copied it.

Ye Olde "drill bit through the platters?" (1)

mekkab (133181) | about 7 months ago | (#46128191)

If you make a couple of holes with a 1/4" titanium bit, is there anything salvageable? Or is this service really marketed for the paranoids?

Re:Ye Olde "drill bit through the platters?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46128243)

drills and exercises,
anything plugged into terrestrial power-grids has already been uploaded (see stuxnet duqu).
Truly sorry folks, it`s all been in vain. If it aint been slurped by the AKAMAI VIRUS, it has been accessed and stolen via STUXNET and DUQU VIRUS.

Re:Ye Olde "drill bit through the platters?" (1)

NemoinSpace (1118137) | about 7 months ago | (#46129293)

Not if you are counting on the disk spinning. But if you are seriously going through the trouble because your data *is* really sensitive, (even a HIPPA breach is a serious liability), then i suggest to you that all the sections of the disk without holes are pretty much readable. So, the long and short of this is, if you have a real need to destroy data, better not leave it up to the kid with the Ryobi.

Disgusting. (5, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | about 7 months ago | (#46128251)

A lot of us firearm enthusiasts would love to buy used some of those military gun sights. I cant afford a $7800 laser sight, so they just destroy it to protect the manufacturer's high price point. It's why we dumped tens of thousands of Jeeps into the ocean instead of allowing Americans to buy them surplus, it would drive down the price of new cars and we cant have rich people making less money.

Re:Disgusting. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46129141)

Maybe they are afraid of what one day may happen if american citizens kept buying military surplus. IMHO it shows forward thinking.

Re:Disgusting. (3, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | about 7 months ago | (#46129601)

Then it's the idiot managers paradox. Because even if I gave you a $50,000 holographic night vision scope, 99% of the population could not hit a target unless they had the skill to actually shoot a gun. You know those videos of samalis holding the AK 47 above their head firing? all they are hitting are buildings and the ground, if they were fighting a trained enemy force they would be wiped out in mere moments. A well trained soldier from a western or eastern country could easily take out 20 untrained soldiers without effort or fear.

So someone having it is not a risk. Just like how they whine about people being able to buy defused grenades at surplus stores. Yes, someone with an IQ above 120 can make them work again, but the risk is so low it's not funny. Plus it is a lot easier to make a new one from gas pipe than trying to fix a Vietnam era grenade. But it does not stop uneducated people from being horrified that I can go and buy "grenades" for $5.00 each.

Have some fun (1)

m0s3m8n (1335861) | about 7 months ago | (#46128425)

Have some fun with hard drives. AR-15 practice targets.

Re:Have some fun (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about 7 months ago | (#46130577)

> Have some fun with hard drives. AR-15 practice targets.

Despite of all of the hysteria and propaganda, the AR-15 is actually pretty weak. If you're interested in destroying hardware, you probably want something with a bigger slug and better range. Even something with bolt action might be more destructive.

Re:Have some fun (1)

ihtoit (3393327) | about 7 months ago | (#46131299)

kind of expensive on ammo as well... I prefer my Air Arms Mistral .22 or my Webley Stingray .177. Quiet, accurate and a tin of 500 .22 pellets weighs the same as a pair of 32-round 5.56x45mm box magazines.

Plasma furnace (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46128461)

(posting as AC because) as someone who used to supervise drive destruction at a rather touchy agency... we used plasma furnaces. Would could still recover the odd bits from shredding.

Nothing is Destroyed, Nothing is Forgotten (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46128687)

Remember. Read. Think.

Re:Nothing is Destroyed, Nothing is Forgotten (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 7 months ago | (#46128795)

I will remember. I will read. Squirrel!

Bitcoin wallets (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 7 months ago | (#46128789)

If they're not stupid, they're checking to see if the drives don't have any crypto-coin wallets before destroying them.

Recycle them for scrap (1)

Hamsterdan (815291) | about 7 months ago | (#46128853)

That's what I do when a drive fails or becomes noisy. I keep some of the magnets, remove the board, heads and platters, remove the copper coil from the head assembly. When I have around 10 or 20 drives (5 to 10 pounds), I sell them to the scrap yard. Good luck retrieving data after everything has been tossed in the big aluminum bin. Not a big amount at 50 cents a pound though.

Working for the DOD (1)

tie_guy_matt (176397) | about 7 months ago | (#46128909)

One nice thing about working for the DOD is that Dell doesn't expect you to be able to return your old hard drive. Just say that your hard drive is defective and they will send you a new one no questions asked. Of course most of the people I know (myself included) were to honest and would only ask for a new HD if their old one was in fact defective. But I suppose if you were into using your power for evil and not good you could have gotten an entire collection of new HD's that way. You also could have been guilty of stealing government property if you used them for anything but work (which wouldn't be likely since they aren't barcoded but you never know) so I guess that is also why nobody bothered with that. HD are cheap enough that it isn't worth it.

Craftsman has long metal shears (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46129981)

In Sears, you can get long Craftsman metal shears. These are a little longer than normal ones. The blade is long enough to bite into a disc platter. So what I do is disassemble the disk (Craftsman has star wrenches, too, and you need good ones because machine-screwed star screws are hard to get out without stripping your screwdriver), remove the platters, and cut them apart with the long metal shears. Won't work in bulk, but works for me.

Always elaborate and expensive (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | about 7 months ago | (#46130093)

Just dump them in a storage water pool for five or six years.

Oh- - I recently got an enclosure and am going through my old IDE drives.
The oldest so far is 8gig from 1999/2000. All work perfectly.
It was ironic that I had trouble tossing it in the trash even i had an 8gig memory stick I bought that day for $4.99 at Fry's. LOL!

The 80GB drive is more interesting. keep or toss.

These things are good forever if you dont' spin them apparently.

Re:Always elaborate and expensive (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about 7 months ago | (#46130593)

I just disassemble them. Yank out the disks themselves and separate them from their housing. If you had disks from more than one drive, I wonder if anyone could ever sort that out again.

Can't Trust American Co's - HSec and if .us.gov (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46132079)

All those secret orders. Assume you were Siemens or another leading company. Wanna bet your e-trash is not diverted. Sure?
Due to revelations and grave constitutional disrespect - behaviours need to change - and outsourcing and cloud are not solutions.
Pay someone else because your staff are too dishonest and may ebay them, or unskilled in using a hammer?
A pottery kilin will liquify metal Use a grinder to reduce PCB's to granules. Take the platters out and sandblast them clean. Think real carefully - it is reported agencies have thier own HDD firmware - and why is that? Short the device power pins for good measure.or solder in a strip of magesium ribbon.

Thermite, HCL baths, and pumping a drive with acetelyne and glow plugging it is fun too.Forget degaussing - seen mag tapes jump through 5mm aluminium sheilds and neary kill employees. Salt your old drives and have some dummies lying about.

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