[unisog] Wiping hard drives before computer transfer

Jonathan Glass jonathan.glass at oit.gatech.edu
Mon Nov 28 14:29:45 GMT 2005

Bradley Ellis wrote:
> Hi,
> In a lot of ways, I like to make life simple - So when disposing
> of failed disks the following come to mind:
> 	Is the drive still working ?
> 		- Disk wiping can be used easily.
> 	Does the drive contain really confidential stuff ?
> 		- consider physical disk destruction.
> 	How much does wiping vs destruction and replacement cost ?
> 	Taking into consideration people's time, certification 
> 	efforts that the data has been removed, etc.
> In many cases - replacing the $AU80 hdd with another and
> physically destorying the old disk with a destruction service
> is cheaper overall than the efforts to the wipd disk to any 
> reasonable degree.
> This to me simplifies the whole process and saves having to
> worry about:
> 	* Encoding format as different formats may need different
> 	  input streams for optimal erasure.
> 	* Off track data leakage - the data stored in the areas a
> 	little either side of the track. (Disk heads are accurate,
> 	but there is nearly always so off track data leakage.
> 	* Potential Recovery due to partial overwrites.
> Sure Disk erasure commands that are part of proposal's where
> the drive electronics can perform an erase the disk in a couple 
> of modes are interesting and may offer some benefits.
> But even when (if) this becomes main stream, I stil like the 
> idea of keeping things simple from a daily operations point of view.
> The forensics discussions are fun, but I wouldn't want to have 
> them everyday.
> Regards,
> Brad.

Interesting that you'd mention this.  We've just taken the step of 
mandating all harddrives be physically destroyed, and are in the process 
of providing the campus technical community with access to a shredder 
capable of destroying disks and backup tapes (CDs, etc, etc).

Jonathan Glass
GT/OIT Information Security

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