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Optical disc destruction techniques


darkwolf
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I recently had to destroy backups of a confidential computer data (that being one of my jobs with the military, I can't let anyone get their hands on our data lol) and was curious what various methods people have used in the past to destroy their discs. I would also like to hear how people destroy old hdds as that too is an occasional thing I must do.

To start off I'll tell how I destroyed the discs this time and how we usually destroy hdds. To destroy the optical discs I actually took them one at a time and took a MAPP torch to them and melted them down, granted it wasn't the most efficient method as it used most of the bottle of gas I was using and took a considerable amount of time but it was most entertaining in a weird way. lol To destroy hdds we usually just take them out on a hard surface and beat them repeatedly with a heavy hammer. Granted this too can be relatively entertaining and can also be good stress relief IMO there is probably a better way to go about this.

Next time I go to do this I will try to make sure I have a camera around and take a couple pics if anyone is interested although with any imagination (which everyone here should have as you can't be a hacker without one) you should be able to picture the results of the methods I mentioned.

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I recently had to destroy backups of a confidential computer data (that being one of my jobs with the military, I can't let anyone get their hands on our data lol) and was curious what various methods people have used in the past to destroy their discs. I would also like to hear how people destroy old hdds as that too is an occasional thing I must do.

To start off I'll tell how I destroyed the discs this time and how we usually destroy hdds. To destroy the optical discs I actually took them one at a time and took a MAPP torch to them and melted them down, granted it wasn't the most efficient method as it used most of the bottle of gas I was using and took a considerable amount of time but it was most entertaining in a weird way. lol To destroy hdds we usually just take them out on a hard surface and beat them repeatedly with a heavy hammer. Granted this too can be relatively entertaining and can also be good stress relief IMO there is probably a better way to go about this.

Next time I go to do this I will try to make sure I have a camera around and take a couple pics if anyone is interested although with any imagination (which everyone here should have as you can't be a hacker without one) you should be able to picture the results of the methods I mentioned.

You know many office and even high-end home document shredders shred CD as well, but you're way does sound VERY entertaining haha :lol:

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If this is one of your specific duties of your job in the military, shouldn't you already be up to date on every possible method of data disposal? I would think that the U.S. government would have better methods for hard drive data disposal besides smashing them with hammers. Don't they wipe the data numerous times, and use a high powered degausser at least? or am I completely out of the loop here when it comes to government data.

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The US Gov does have destruction methods in writing that are to be followed to the T. If it cant be properly destroyed on site, stuff can be sent to the NSA for propper destruction.

My personal favorite way to destroy CD's is the lay them shiny side up on asfault and step on and grind it around, that was the film is shreded in to ity bity peices, then I'll either shred or snap the plastic by bending.

http://www.sdisac.com/nsa-destruct.html

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I like to disassemble them atom by atom and rearrange the particles into cupcakes.

</sarcasm>

Melt, boil, shotgun, snap, thermite, shred, ... all good options.

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Just shred them and incinerate the remains. As for hard disks, DBAN/EBAN (or if you have a lot of disks to process invest in a degausser) + drilling the platters. Its not fool proof, so if its *really* important, get the disks shredded or crushed as well. However, someone with an electron microscope and time to burn will be able to recover data from the shards.

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Setp one: Get one of those boxes the bomb squad uses to set off bombs in a safe environment.

Step two: put all the stuff inside with enough explosive material to vaporize any remains.

If anything is left, you didn't use enough explosives, repeat steps one and two.

<j/k>

I would think there are already procedures in place that specify how and what to do with sensitive matertials. Drilling holes or snapping them in peices is not 100% effective, but it does help. I would get some sort of shredder(not like a paper shredder, but like a rock crusher that makes cement powder) and grind them down into a dust(the optical discs). As for HDD, removal of the platters and destroying them by either by grinding them up(ceramic ones) and melting down the metal parts. The controllers and other hardware should be of no use and recycled if you have to replace the controller on a failed drive, but most likely just useless unless you want the electronic components for some other project. What for, I have no idea...

What about SSD's? How do you melt down silicone drives for proper destruction of sensitive material?

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The government procedures are not ALWAYS followed to a T*

Destroying CD/DVD's

1. Sand Paper to the data side

2. Place in Acetone

3. Smash

HHD's

1. Overwrite data 3X times

2. Disassemble HHD

3. Remove Platters

4. Sand Paper to platters

5. Smash Platters.

*Military brat growing up and bought many second hand PC's form the supply room. Usually the HHDs are taken out completely, but there are always circumstances of user error. Honestly the military has some of the most unsecure computer USERS, i.e. the E-4 who takes his work laptop home and downloads porn(of course after they return it their actions are normally found out).

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You see, I'm a big gearhead as well as a IT guy. So, I have all kinds of cool toys in my personal shop to destr.. err.. make repairs.

If I have something I need to make absolutely sure nobody else can use, I typically employ the hot wrench. Or, Oxy/Acetylene cutting torch for non-gearheads.

My bench grinder does a fine job of making powder out of discs and platers as well.

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Sorry it took so long to reply to anyone, I've been busy the last several days. I actually just spent the last few minutes to catch up and I couldn't help but laugh at some of them esp. the whole blowing the sh*t up (good one digip lol).

As far as specific ways to handle sensitive data it pretty much boils down to the unit as to specifics but essentially it's just a matter of making sure its destroyed. I have personally witnessed the most heinous of crimes against technology when the supply sgt couldn't open a computer case (some new HP with hidden locks so that idiots like him couldn't f*up the hardware) took an 8lb sledge hammer and beat the whole comp to a pulp just to make sure the hdd was no longer intact.

As far as ssds I haven't seen any in any of the comps I have had to fix/upgrade at any point in my career thus far (maybe one day but hopefully not).

One last thing for now I recently seen (somewhere I can't recall at the moment) that electron microscopes aren't able to see the data on a hdd anymore due to the fact that there is so little room between bits that it can't focus and get a proper reading like once upon a time. I will go back over some of the places I've been recently and see if I can find out where it was and I'll link back to it.

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Sorry it took so long to reply to anyone, I've been busy the last several days. I actually just spent the last few minutes to catch up and I couldn't help but laugh at some of them esp. the whole blowing the sh*t up (good one digip lol).

As far as specific ways to handle sensitive data it pretty much boils down to the unit as to specifics but essentially it's just a matter of making sure its destroyed. I have personally witnessed the most heinous of crimes against technology when the supply sgt couldn't open a computer case (some new HP with hidden locks so that idiots like him couldn't f*up the hardware) took an 8lb sledge hammer and beat the whole comp to a pulp just to make sure the hdd was no longer intact.

As far as ssds I haven't seen any in any of the comps I have had to fix/upgrade at any point in my career thus far (maybe one day but hopefully not).

One last thing for now I recently seen (somewhere I can't recall at the moment) that electron microscopes aren't able to see the data on a hdd anymore due to the fact that there is so little room between bits that it can't focus and get a proper reading like once upon a time. I will go back over some of the places I've been recently and see if I can find out where it was and I'll link back to it.

Chris Gerling talked about this in Episode 406

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If this is one of your specific duties of your job in the military, shouldn't you already be up to date on every possible method of data disposal? I would think that the U.S. government would have better methods for hard drive data disposal besides smashing them with hammers. Don't they wipe the data numerous times, and use a high powered degausser at least? or am I completely out of the loop here when it comes to government data.

I have actually used a hammer to destroy HDDs at work (Police Dept.) though I thought it was a bad idea because I knew the platters were not getting damaged enough. Now I use a program called BCWipe. it writes all 1's then all 0's to the drive 7 times to ensure that data has been overwritten but I still run the program 2 - 3 times just to be sure. I have actually had somone at the Department suggest that I take the HDD's to our repair shop and use their drill press to drill sevral holes through the platters.

As for the CD's I havent had to destroy any for work but I have a shredder at home that will shred a CD. or you could just throw them in a metal trash can with some shredded paper documents and set them on fire.

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You only need to fill the drive with randomness then with zeros. After doing this even a spinrite style analysis of each sector would not be able to do any thing. Just doing all ones then all zeros a couple of times isn't as good as one pass of randomness then one pass of zeros, at least for the amount of time it takes if nothing else.

The idea been that if you try to figure out what the zeros used to be, you will just get the randomness back. Where as with doing paten based erasure it may be possible (but only very slightly) to 'see' past the patterns to retrieve the data.

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