Destroying a computer hard drive

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by Sac Arrow, Jul 1, 2022.

  1. Sac Arrow

    Sac Arrow Touchdown! Greaser!

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    0E2D480D-BD58-4AB9-8DC4-634DAACD8A24.jpeg

    Okay I need to destroy a hard drive that I don't want bad guys to get banking information off of. For the life of me, I can't find a tool that will undo the screws on it.

    But, there is a seal, when penetrated, allows access inside, and I -think- I scraped the disc up pretty good with a screwdriver. For good measure I gave it a bunch of whacks to the top of the case with a hammer.

    Good enough? I don't feel like spending the time to drill in to it, or to place a shaped charge over it.
     
  2. GaryM

    GaryM Pattern Altitude

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    .223

    or similar or bigger
     
  3. MooneyDriver78

    MooneyDriver78 En-Route

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    It should take you about 3 minutes to drill a couple of holes in it.
     
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  4. Hang 4

    Hang 4 Pattern Altitude

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    Own a dog? Put in the trash in a dog poo bag, that has a good load of poo... Unless your last name is Gates or Musk, you should be good.
     
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  5. Dana

    Dana En-Route

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    I was thinking a 12GA slug...

    But most hard drives are held together with ordinary torx screws, you can get torx drivers anywhere. The actual disk inside makes a great emergency signaling mirror.
     
  6. pigpenracing

    pigpenracing En-Route

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    You don't own a torx wrench set?
    If it was mine I would get a blow torch and burn the **** out of it :)
    That sounds like fun to me.
     
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  7. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I just run a drill bit through mine

    What not to do (ask my neighbor how he found out): Don’t hit it with a hammer while it’s sitting on the corner of an expensive granite countertop.
     
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  8. Sac Arrow

    Sac Arrow Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Not one that goes that small for sure.
     
  9. Pugs

    Pugs Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    I've had the opportunity to destroy a few that needed to be really securly destroyed so we did a lot of testing.

    Drill press or nail gun (sans nail just plunter) enough that it shatters the platter or bends the media enough that it can't be spun so for those be sure and hit it enough times.
     
  10. Sac Arrow

    Sac Arrow Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Well that is what I am thinking. I'm pretty sure I'm there with the hammer whacks.
     
  11. wanttaja

    wanttaja En-Route

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    Torx screws. They're under the label. Peel the label off, there should be 4 to 6 under it.

    I disassemble the drive, remove each platter, clamp one side in a vise and bend the free side to 90 degrees. Doubt any could read it. Sometimes the platters are plastic and shatter.

    Ron Wanttaja
     
  12. Mxfarm

    Mxfarm Line Up and Wait

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    clay pigeon it.
     
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  13. Dan Thomas

    Dan Thomas Final Approach

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    There are supermagnets in there. They are part of the record/read arm movement. In old, larger drives the magnets are fairly large. I have one I used occasionally, looking for missing tools in airplane bellies. A bit of masking tape so it doesn't scratch and run it over the exterior surface. It will find the tool or hardware or whatever so you can go straight to it. Don't get it anywhere near any instruments. Or the belly of any airplane that has Amsafe airbag restraints. It will set them off.

    And it's fun just to put it on the anvil of my vise and challenge people to pull it off.
     
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  14. LesGawlik

    LesGawlik Line Up and Wait

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    Visit Chappequa. I've heard there are experts there.
     
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  15. Arm3

    Arm3 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Add some tannerite and it sounds like a good time.

    Or Sac you could recreate the printer scene from Office Space with the drive.
     
  16. Sac Arrow

    Sac Arrow Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Yeah but, like I say. I don't have access to tannerite or C4 or gelignite. The neighbors get uptight when I deploy shaped charges in the back yard. I know, restrictive CC'RS.
     
  17. L J Donelson

    L J Donelson Pre-takeoff checklist

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    What @Dan Thomas said, those magnets are awesome and very useful. I've pulled apart many drives and have several here to open.
     
  18. Clip4

    Clip4 Final Approach

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    Cutting torch.
     
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  19. Doug Reid

    Doug Reid Cleared for Takeoff

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    Ask anyone named Clinton.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2022
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  20. masloki

    masloki Cleared for Takeoff

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    Drill press. A couple dozen taps and done.
     
  21. Daleandee

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    *** Shots Fired *** :rofl:
     
  22. cowman

    cowman En-Route PoA Supporter

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    A hole drilled through the platters will do it. The heads float on an air cushion and if there’s a hole the air cushion can’t form and the heads will crash. This defeats most professional data recovery methods on the off chance someone would try.
     
  23. FormerHangie

    FormerHangie En-Route

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    Two pound hammer, breaks the disk. The NSA could probably put it back together, but they aren't interested in you and me.

    Back in the day there was something called a bulk demagnitizer that would do the trick, but with magnetic tapes becoming extinct, you'll never find one.
     
  24. Sac Arrow

    Sac Arrow Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Yep. I'm not worried about the NSA. I'm worried about Yuri in the Balkans.
     
  25. Charlie Golf

    Charlie Golf Pattern Altitude

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    1. My first thought was the same as some others here. :)

    Next thought... target practice.
     
  26. Sac Arrow

    Sac Arrow Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The range won't allow hard targets. Trust me, that was my first thought.
     
  27. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Touchdown! Greaser!

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    You need to move. ;)
     
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  28. Dana

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    They're still quite common in the industrial world, used for demagnetizing tools and such, usually called a "degausser".
     
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  29. Shepherd

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    Punch holes in it.
     
  30. ateamer

    ateamer Line Up and Wait

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    Put the drive in a trash bag, set it on the ground, and hit it a few times with a sledgehammer. Get your hips into it and accelerate through impact.
     
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  31. Deelee

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    It's almost the 4th of July.... Just sayin'...
     
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  32. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Pretend it’s a vampire…Drive stakes through it. :cool: If you can find a shaker who trusts you. :eek:
     
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  33. Spring Ford

    Spring Ford Line Up and Wait

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    A friend of a friend, yes really;-) recently sold a HDD on ebay or some such. They did "erase" the files, likely either a quick format or just "deleted" the files, don't know. Pretty sure it wasn't a low level format or better.

    Got a message from buyer, "we found some of your data, would you like to buy it back?" Friend of friend says - no thanks.

    Changed to, "we have gone to a lot of trouble to help you, unless you pay we will need to look for a buyer".

    Haven't heard more, don't really want to know, but it is a lesson. The seller knows enough to know better but didn't action it.
     
  34. Albany Tom

    Albany Tom Pattern Altitude

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    In reality? If you make it not spin, or take the electronics off of it or destroy the connectors, whatever information you have on it isn't worth the cost or effort for anybody trying to recover it.

    Holes in it would make it more of a PITA for someone in the business to recover. Driving a pin punch straight through it would make it a real pain to spin. I don't think scratches would do much of anything. External magnets likely the same. The local density on those are high. The only current generally acceptable industry methods are physically shredding the disks or incinerating them. I think most platters are still aluminum. Destroy the aluminum, or the coating, and the data is irretrievable.

    source: https://nvlpubs.nist.gov/nistpubs/SpecialPublications/NIST.SP.800-88r1.pdf

    As to selling a drive? There's no 100% method to remove the data from a drive and still have it operative.
     
  35. Initial Fix

    Initial Fix Line Up and Wait PoA Supporter

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    If you are really worried, take it apart. Then blow torch the platters a good 10 seconds. That resets the magnetic flux to prevent some state nation from seeing your POA posts - or anything really. Safety glasses too !
     
  36. Lindberg

    Lindberg Final Approach

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    Just throw it in the back of your closet and forget about it.
     
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  37. chartbundle

    chartbundle Pattern Altitude

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    I like a 45... but I'm sure 9mm would work too.

    For functional drives that you want to sell or reuse "dban" is a common free tool that will get you close enough to perfect unless the CIA wants your data. Just remember to make the drive you're wiping is the only one in the system.
     
  38. Lawson_Stone

    Lawson_Stone Filing Flight Plan

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    A big magnet would destroy or scramble all the data on the drive.
     
  39. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    The way we did it in the military was to use a device called a disintegrator (being disintegrated makes me very, very, angry). Big 3HP grinder that you could chuck a variety of media into and pulverize it. There are companies that will take your drive and feed it into one of those.
     
  40. Salty

    Salty Touchdown! Greaser!

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