Wiping data from a hard drive.

Kent Borg kentborg at borg.org
Wed Aug 25 15:13:15 UTC 2010

Basil Chupin wrote:
> wipe the HD clean 

There are several degrees of "clean", depending on who is going to try
to recover your data and how motivated s/he might be:

  Degree 0.  Damage it enough that it won't work when plugged
in--possibly it already did that itself.  That will prevent the casual
finder from plugging it in and recovering your data with software
tools.  This protects you from someone with some time and close to zero
money, and it is easy to do to a tall stack of drives.

  Degree 1.  Hurt it enough that all the platters are bent and the
surfaces are damaged.  This is the cheap and easy (and possibly
satisfying) sledge hammer solution.  It will make it much more expensive
to recover any data using one of the commercial services that
specializes in such recovery.  This protects you from someone willing to
spend a few thousand dollars, and it is easy to do to a few drives.

  Degree 2.  Make sure any ICs on the controller board which might have
cached any data are throughly crushed, make sure all the platters and
all platter surfaces are *very* badly damaged.  This will protect you
against major government agencies with millions of dollars to spend, and
it involves significant effort to process just a single drive.  (Note:
if these people are really after you there might be much easier ways for
them to get what they want and you are in big trouble in general...)


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