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View Full Version : Computer Hygiene



Spookster
02-20-2003, 06:14 PM
Here is food for thought. How many of you actually sanitize your old harddrives before you throw them away or sell them or give them to someone?

It's scary to think that people in businesses and government organizations also fail to do this and end up leaking out people's personal/private information like account information or medical histories.

There have been several stories recently in the news about information being recovered on old harddrives.

Here are a few:

http://news.mysanantonio.com/story.cfm?xla=saen&xlb=110&xlc=929443

http://www.cnn.com/2003/TECH/ptech/02/10/computer.security.ap/index.html

http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/oig/hq/identity.html

jkd
02-20-2003, 06:33 PM
I don't get rid of them. :D

*has a 4gb quantum fireball sitting on dresser, a 2gb samsung floating around somewhere, and a 1.5gb nameless beast on the floor somewhere*

:)

jkd
02-20-2003, 06:36 PM
Oh, and one of those articles mentioned a "one-line command" in *nix to do.

I'm assuming something like
# dd if=/dev/null of=/dev/hda1

or what?

mouse
02-20-2003, 07:16 PM
A good formatting is enough if I'm passing the disk on to friends or family. If I were to sell a disk on a forum or auction sight I'd have junk written all over the disk 3-4 times, I *think* the pgp software that used[?] to be freely available had such a facility.

Feyd
02-20-2003, 09:49 PM
As a leftover to when I would disassemble :cough:destroy:cough: things as a child, I usually take them apart and do all manner of evil things to them...probably why I ended up with a darker hat, but hey, I can always claim it was abstract art focusing on the medium of the e-age.

sage45
02-20-2003, 10:50 PM
Opening up the hard drive does not take away it's ability to access or retrieve data... The vacuum inside allows for a pollutant free (dirt free) environment for the drive mechanism so that dirt will not interfere with the head to platten interaction of the drive... Funny thing is though, that you can damage the plattens all you want on the hard drive, but magnetically you may still be able to retrieve data, just a matter of having the right tools to do it with...

-sage-

mouse
02-20-2003, 11:09 PM
Do you reckon it's possible with optical media than? Surely if you can write crap all over a magnetic disk and still decipher what was on, then optical media where the 1010101's are burned on and off will be the same?

Quiet Storm
02-21-2003, 12:51 AM
...now prehead the oven to 450*

Place the high power magnets in each of the HD platters and place the entire disk in the oven.
Bake for 45 minutes.

Carefully remove and let cool.

Once cool, remove the magnets and place the HD plates in the microwave and nuke for 5 seconds each...

:D

Spookster
02-21-2003, 12:56 AM
Originally posted by Feyd
As a leftover to when I would disassemble :cough:destroy:cough: things as a child, I usually take them apart and do all manner of evil things to them...probably why I ended up with a darker hat, but hey, I can always claim it was abstract art focusing on the medium of the e-age.

That's what I usually do. Destroy the HD, take out the disks and sand them down. When I was an intel analyst that's what we had to do with HD's containing classified information to sanitize them before we throw them out.

oracleguy
02-21-2003, 01:34 AM
Thats why most companies, including Intel, take out the hard drives before they donate a computer.

You also can use a burn program on the hard drive. That writes data multiple times to every sector on the disk.

Feyd
02-21-2003, 04:34 AM
Yes, but these methods come nowhere near to what I do to those poor little innocent HDs no matter what manners of good or evil they contain...let's just say that creativity, boredom and an intense desire to blow things up can be very entertaining and secure at the same exact time. (and this is after experimenting with chemicals (twice), intease heat (at least 4 times, with direct heat or application of flame directly), magenets, drops from extreme height, etc.)




Man I miss those days.

Thejavaman1
02-22-2003, 08:35 AM
I don't throw stuff out. I think I still have a 80MB SCSI hard drive around here somewhere...

Kang He
02-22-2003, 11:49 PM
Oh my, I thought the question was regarding the physical cleaning of the HD :o.

Roelf
02-24-2003, 07:53 AM
fdisk, then remove all partitions. doesn't that do the trick?? I have never been able to take data from a disk that has no partitions left. Even when i re-create the partitions, the data is gone. I've tried to use different tools but never succeeded.

Spookster
02-24-2003, 04:54 PM
Originally posted by Roelf
fdisk, then remove all partitions. doesn't that do the trick?? I have never been able to take data from a disk that has no partitions left. Even when i re-create the partitions, the data is gone. I've tried to use different tools but never succeeded.

It's quite easy with the right tools. When you remove partitiions or delete files you aren't actually deleting the files off the disk. You just remove any reference to them....basically they are lost in the eyes of your computer. They are still there though. Data Recovery businesses take your HD and use tools that scan the disks for data and and attempt to reassemble it into usable files.

kwhubby
02-25-2003, 06:53 AM
oh... I got an old 2 gig hardrive that I opened up to look at it, those things that feyd suggested sounds fun and very effective!

Although I have a program that overwrites over each secter about 40 times or so with a bunch of special algorithems and pasorandom data. It claims that after 40 overwrites that its phisically imposible to recover the old magnetic data. Should I believe it or, just trash the hd with power tools and various other dangerous things when it gets old?

Spookster
02-25-2003, 08:19 AM
Originally posted by kwhubby
oh... I got an old 2 gig hardrive that I opened up to look at it, those things that feyd suggested sounds fun and very effective!

Although I have a program that overwrites over each secter about 40 times or so with a bunch of special algorithems and pasorandom data. It claims that after 40 overwrites that its phisically imposible to recover the old magnetic data. Should I believe it or, just trash the hd with power tools and various other dangerous things when it gets old?

Well you have to ask yourself.....which way would be more fun and stress relieving? :)

bcarl314
02-25-2003, 03:14 PM
I've heard that DOD requirements are to rewrite the disk 9 times. So, 40 should be more than enough.



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