jessekornblum (jessekornblum) wrote,

Comments on Data Recovery

My friend cipherpunk posted a great article about data destruction. While I think he's on the right track, I'm not sure his advice is entirely practical for the everyday users. Sure, large organizations can have a dedicated data destruction coordinator who can oversee that every drive is overwritten or melted down. But for the rest of us, the amount of effort needed to securely wipe a drive should be the minimum necessary to protect us against the reasonable threat.

The reasonable threat, and to his credit cipherpunk does encourage people not to paranoid, is that your old drive will be bought and connected to a new system in an ordinary manner.

As such, here is my opinion on what to do with your used hard drive to protect your data:
  1. Smash the drive, broadside, four times with a hammer, halfway between the center and the edge of the drive at each of the compass points.
That's it! Aside from being some great stress relief, if you're lucky enough to hit the drive head it makes a really cool PING! sound. The hammer will also break the mechanism that spins the drive making it impossible to get any data out without taking the drive into a clean room. Only specialized forensic firms have such clean rooms and access to them isn't cheap. Unless you're carrying around secrets for nuclear weapons (and I hope you know you are) there's no need to go any further.

Yes, this method means that you won't be able to sell your old drive on EBay, but it will keep your credit card numbers, diary entries, and goat pr0n out of the hands of others. In my opinion, losing ten bucks on the sale of a used hard drive is worth the peace of mind.
Tags: forensics, geek
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