[Dshield] Dead hard drive disposal

Tomas L. Byrnes tomb at byrneit.net
Thu May 24 04:34:41 GMT 2007

What you guys are looking for is called a Degausser.

Here are some examples. 


Note to the "Saturate via speaker" crowd. There are many on this list
who are laughing while rolling on the floor. If that's your method, "All
Your Base are Belong to Us"! An organized additional magnetization can
easily be inverted as bias to recover the underlying data, unless you
have oersteds of the order of those produced by an MRI (which, btw is a
varying magnetic field, and a very good way to scramble magnetic data).

P.S. You'd be surprised how well metal particles survive fire, and
despite "heat demagnetizes" how some order remains in the chaos.

> -----Original Message-----
> From: list-bounces at lists.dshield.org 
> [mailto:list-bounces at lists.dshield.org] On Behalf Of 
> Stasiniewicz, Adam
> Sent: Wednesday, May 23, 2007 8:15 PM
> To: 'General DShield Discussion List'
> Subject: Re: [Dshield] Dead hard drive disposal
> The method I most often use is to run the hard drive by a 
> strong electromagnet.  The magnet also comes in handy when 
> disposing damaged or otherwise unusable backups tapes.  
> (Though make sure to move all electronics you don't want 
> zapped far away when the magnet is turned on; I once had a 
> coworker's watch stop when he was erasing tapes.)
> But with the financial backing of a major government, can a 
> team undo the effects of the magnet and restore RAID 5 data 
> from a single disk, probably.
> But if they really want access to my data, there are far 
> easier ways for them to do it.  I am more concerned with the 
> refurbishing company and the person who gets the refurbished 
> hard drive.  If they can't immediately read the contents of 
> the drive, they will move on to the next HD. 
> But if you are really paranoid (and happen to have some extra 
> thermite lying
> around) you can do this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3lnqeodIIUw 
> Regards,
> Adam Stasiniewicz
> -----Original Message-----
> From: list-bounces at lists.dshield.org 
> [mailto:list-bounces at lists.dshield.org]
> On Behalf Of Sue Young
> Sent: Wednesday, May 23, 2007 12:35 PM
> To: General DShield Discussion List
> Subject: [Dshield] Dead hard drive disposal
> Hi -
> We have a drive that was part of a RAID array that failed and 
> we need to
> send it back to HP to not be charged for the replacement.  In 
> the past we
> would just have sent it, but now we're wondering how safe it 
> is to return a
> failed drive.  this one was part of a RAID 1 array so it's 
> theoretically
> readable if it spins up for a bit.  Would a single drive from 
> a RAID 5 array
> have recoverable data?
> Since the drives have failed, I don't expect to see them on 
> Ebay, but we are
> concerned about the risk.
> Thanks,
> Sue Young, CISSP
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