[Dshield] Tapes - Physical destruction methods?

Al Reust areust at comcast.net
Wed Aug 2 03:27:14 GMT 2006

Just so some know what you are looking at for cost of a Bulk Eraser
The search

Here is a random google link to a supplier with a price

The cost is about $2800.00 and will do 180 tapes/hour.... or a little over 
an hours time on your part... In some cases the tapes would be "reusable" a 
cost savings (paying for the bulk eraser)... In some cases (after failure 
to format or you know that the runtime on the tapes was excessive) they 
"would be" ready to be disposed of...

So we have a couple of options:

If by proper degaussing, you can reuse 100 tapes for another 3, 6 months to 
a year. What is the savings for the purchase of new tapes? I have seen new 
tapes that would not format properly over the years... In some cases that 
was the box of tapes were exposed to some random magnetic field (in 
shipping) that prevented the drive from writing to the tape or hardware 
issues... In some cases use of the degausser allowed the tape to be 
formatted or it was returned as defective (which is another time issue).

If we look at the time it takes at your hourly wage, using 5 minutes to 
disassemble and feed the tape to a shredder and you have 200+ which would 
take you 1,000 minutes or about 2 plus days to manually destroy all the 
tapes (optimistic)... Not to mention that when all the tapes are shredded 
you need to mix them so that the bags have parts of every tape! Meaning 
that you have all 200 hundred jigsaw puzzles in different bags for 
disposal... So your lost time to handle problems (and the mess) that 
could/would cause loss of income (to be calculated in the future)... Has to 
be taken into account...

So if it one tape, then have fun, drag it behind your car on the freeway at 
70mph (just don't lose it), Cut it into ten foot strips and hang it from a 
ten foot pole in your front yard and the neighbors will be awed... In six 
to ten months the data will be unusable...

All in all this exercise has to take into account the time and resources 
that you have to properly destroy "sensitive data." To insure that what you 
thought was destroyed, IS actually Destroyed...

So in this case, when all else fails FIRE is your friend. A thirty gallon 
Metal Garbage Can and about a pint of kerosene or diesel fuel it is an 
unrecoverable blob... Make sure that you are outside and have fire 
extinguishers handy... No it is not suitable for toasting Marshmallows...


At 10:32 AM 7/31/2006 -0700, you wrote:
>Thanks to all for the suggestions.  I think I'll try the degausser option 
>first, as seems to be the easiest for me to do.  We have limited funds, 
>but I should be able to get this given the recent headlines.
>I liked the acetone idea, but the fumes may be more than I can handle.  I 
>don't have access to an incinerator, and burning a tape without using an 
>incinerator is definitely out for me.  I wish I had an intern, but s/he'd 
>probably quit or somehow shortcut the process. BTW: I have actually 
>despooled a DLT IV tape, snipping as I went - what a pain that was.   I 
>wish our shredder was industrial, ours can only handle CDs - not even 
>floppy diskettes (which also need to be destroyed).
>- Linda :)
>For my non-geek friends:
>Friends don't email friends .exe or .com files.  So don't open those types 
>of attachments!!
>For my geek friends:
>Adopt a newbie....

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