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What are you doing with your old hard drive platters?


vailixi
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I have seen a few things people have made with old hard drives? Tesla turbines being among the coolest.

Lately I've been getting into locks and whatnot and I thought it might be cool to make a wheel pack for a combination lock from some hard drive platters.

What are you doing wit your had old hard drives?

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Don't know about the platters, but tomorrow I'll be manning a booth with a few other people from my hackerspace and we brought about 50 of the magnets that we ripped out of some old harddisks. One of the ladies makes all sorts of funky shit using scrap metal and such. Quite curious to see what she'll come up with. One such example is earrings made from resistors and the metal rings that separate the harddisk platters.

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Went to a shooting range in Michigan a while back, guess what I found? somebody had taken their laptop/netbook out there and blew it full of holes... Wonder what was on that computer? Doesn't matter to me, forensically destroying data requires a disproportionate amount of force, especially since windows doesn't actually delete the data by default, it just deallocates the space, bits still intact. Picked up and still have the 'END' key cuz I thought it was so funny and unique.

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It's not just windows doing that though. It's basic filesystem 101: overwriting the reference in the index is a HECK of a lot faster/easier than overwriting a potentially huge amount of bits you just said you weren't interested in keeping around any more. Given enough time your use of the drive will achieve this any ways.

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You're right, and I knew other OS's did it too, it was not an oversight on my part. It would require a lot of wait time in order to re-write the bits, hard drives are comparatively slow. Now what you have said about time overwriting all bits, that is kind of true, but you have to take into account that hard drives are terrabytes these days. It could take months for a file to be overwritten, if ever (depends on your file system usage). I have taken a forensics class, the problem is if you decide to give one away (don't do it) there will be lots of info left on the drive. You should do some kind of forensic overwrite.

An interesting idea would be to have special file metadata which could tell the OS which files are actually sensitive, but this would probably require API rewrites, etc.

I remember I used autopsy once to do a forensic analysis of one of my own flash drives for a class, and I discovered a lot more data than probably should have been there, and it was only a 2 gb one.

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Okay, fun little game time.

Find a broken block of large-ish (bulky but possible to carry on your own without too much hassle) hardware on craigslist or some such that someone not too far from you allows you to pick up for free or a very modest fee (like $5 tops). Pack a screw driver, drive up, pick it up and head straight to your local dump/recycling thingamajig. The dutch word is "Grof vuil" which according to wikipedia has "bulky refuse" as an english equivalent and although it's a near-literal translation I never encountered a brit uttering those words so... yeah. Here in the netherlands this is a site with various containers for each of the types of refuse. The big containers for shit like old plywood are open at the top, the containers for electrics have their opening at the front and typically only 1 door is open and there's maybe 3 people of staff on site busy not giving a shit about what you're doing so long as you don't take too long. You should be able to get a good 15-25 minutes in that container without any interference from anybody.

Dump that chunk of hardware in an empty corner, then grab any PC you can find. There should be several. Whip out your screwdriver and take out all the old harddisks. It's fine if you walk back and forth between your car and the dumpster so long as the crew there don't see that what you take away is larger in volume than what you leave behind (so if you have multiple pieces, all the better. Just make sure you don't have so much shit they'll feel obliged to help you. In my experience the people working there are really helpful like that, which is nice at any other time, not this time). Take the disks home and rummage through the data on there.

I'm telling you, the stuff you'll find....

An alternative that might be cheaper and less of a hassle is to just walk up to one of the staff and say you're looking for some old, broken harddisks for a school project (you want to show kids how a harddisk works on the inside or something). Unless you've got a jackass who's on the wrong side of his morning coffee you stand a good chance to be allowed in and grab a few.

The bonus here is that the people you end up targeting will not know you, the first thing on their mind is a virus or clicking on something in an email or having their CC skimmed somewhere. The people that know you took some disks don't know you and even if they did keep records they couldn't tell anybody what box you took the harddisks from, if they even remembered (hell, ADMITTED) that.

Edited by cooper
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