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Re: [tlug] Dealing with a possibly busted external HD

On Tue, Mar 21, 2017 at 9:59 AM, Curt Sampson <> wrote:
>> Smash the platters with a hammer or big screwdriver hit with a hammer.
> That's ok if your attackers are not very motivated (read: "downright
> lazy"), but doing that in a business that's dealing with things like
> 個人情報 puts you at risk of a lawsuit. NIST SP 800.88 is your friend
> here. Table 5-1 gives you your options.

Disclaimer: I work with a data recovery company, though not employee.
Disclaimer: I was until recently PCI DSS QSA professional, PCI DSS
standard specifically refers to quite a few NIST SPs.

While NIST SP 800.88 is fine for government and some selected
entities, it talks a lot more about what is right and verifiable than
what is practical.

The problem with "broken drives" is that it cannot be (reasonably
easy) verified whether they contain data or not, so only option is
physical destruction (including degaussing), to render them
non-operational. "using a certified degauss method/contractor or
shredder" meant it was verified/audited by a 3rd party to work right.

Modern (>400GB, multi-platter) drives are built to very fine
tolerances and later calibrated in factory once assembled. There is no
way to disassemble a platter packet and then put it back together,
even for the best equipped DR labs (unless held by a special clamp, as
a packet from the beginning). A bent/warped/broken platter cannot be
recovered, since it has to spin a few thousand RPM to be read.

So, the bottom line is: If you hammer a relatively blunt object
through your platters (sharpened minus driver), you both punch and
warp the platters, introducing sharp edges and particles. Anyone will
to invest a few million US to be able to recover some tiny bits fo
information (talking bytes, not even kilobytes) of those hundreds of
GB. If they are really lucky (and you not) they may recover a password
of some kind, a secret in other words. But hey, they'll need time and
you DO change tour passwords regularly, right?


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