[svlug] Hard drive destruction

Karen Shaeffer shaeffer at neuralscape.com
Thu Sep 10 21:56:30 PDT 2015

On Thu, Sep 10, 2015 at 09:21:24PM -0700, Luke S. Crawford wrote:
> .
> As a sysadmin of a VPS provider,  the lines are pretty clear.  It is my 
> responsibility to provide reliable access to a block device, and to 
> insure that unauthorized parties can not read or write to that block 
> device.   Sarah is extending this to the disks after they've finally 
> failed and the warranty is done, which is good, I think.

Hi Luke and Sarah,
Well, if you want to fully erase the data on a failed disk platter, there
are two certain ways to do that. One is a chemical etch that will corrode
the media surface. Another more easy method is the application of sustained
heat. Not sure of the required temperature, but magnetic media is very
sensitive to exposure to heat. If you took a failed disk and put it on a grill
in an outside area, and the grill was like 350 or 400 degrees, then you
will destructively anneal that media, leaving no trace of the history of
data that once resided there. Wouldn't be hard to learn what temperature
and time duration is required. Heating a disk drive would almost assuredly
cause off gassing of toxic vapors, so I wouldn't do it indoors.

Adapt and thrive,
Karen Shaeffer                 Be aware: If you see an obstacle in your path,
Neuralscape Services           that obstacle is your path.        Zen proverb

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