Data Destruction

4 minutes
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There is a point where every piece of mass storage has to go. And that's what this episode is all about data destruction. Now you got to be careful because on the security Plus you'll hear another term media sanitation. For me, if I'm going to destroy the data on something, I will also be sanitizing the media. So to me, these terms are synonymous. Now we've got three levels of data destruction that I want to talk about.

The first one I want to talk about is clearing. Clearing simply means to use some internal command within the mass storage device to make the data go away. The most classic example of this would be running an erase command from the command prompt of a hard drive to erase it on there. Now, we all know that simply running erase commands isn't enough. There are studies that show that you can actually erase a hard drive up to seven times and still Be able to get the data now I personally have never seen that. However, it might be an old wives tale, but it does happen.

So pretty much today what we do more than anything else is we use wiping programs, wiping programs will begin at the very beginning of a drive and begin to write either all zeros or all ones are random ones and zeros from the beginning of the drive to the end of the drive. Therefore, we are completely destroying the data. The nice part about clear is clear means that you'll still be able to use the drive for something else. Because the next level is what we call purge. purge means to do something to the device externally to make the data go away. And probably one of the best examples of a purge is a degausser.

A decal, sir is a machine with a really strong magnetic field. And you take your mass storage device and you put it into the Mauser for a certain amount of time. And when it comes out of the degausser all of the data is destroyed. However, purge also means that the device is basically not useful anymore. So once you run it through a degausser, you're going to just throw it in the trash because it's no longer any good. Another example of a purge would be something like a crypto erase.

In this case, let's just say we've got a hard drive that's completely encrypted. If we destroy the keys for that drive, we are no longer able to access that data. In essence, we have purged the drive because it's completely useless. Now granted, we could wipe it, but you have no access to the drive. And the data is in essence destroyed because it's not recoverable. The last one, and the most fun one is destroy, oh, maybe I wasn't thinking about that type of destruction.

Now with destroy what we're talking about is to actually ruin the media in such a way that is no longer functional. So probably, this is thinking I would be careful about on the security Plus, and that is when we're talking about data destruction. Don't forget that life is more than hard drives. You can have paper media, you can have tape, media, floppy disk. So they think about all these things which may be dated, but it's on the exam. So when we're talking about destroying number one is burning.

That's right. You can take paper and you can put your Bic lighter on there and burn it up. That is a great way to destroy it. And the media is completely ruined from that point on unless you can write on ashes. Second, and this is also with paper and that is pulping. pulping simply means to take whatever paper you have, and soak it in water and grind it up a little bit, turn it into mush, and it's absolutely useless.

But for most people, when we're talking about destroying media, we're talking about something a little bit more exciting. For example. This is a shredded hard drive. This has been Run through a machine in such a way that it simply tears it apart, shreds it into these little, very sharp little pieces that no one's ever going to be able to use. The one level down from shredding is pulverizing. With pulverizing, we have another kind of machine that doesn't just shred it into pieces, but actually grinds it down into little teeny tiny individual pieces.

Trust me when you're talking about shredding or pulverizing, I'm pretty sure agree. We're never going to be able to use these devices again.

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