ShmooCon 2008: Hard Drive Highlights

Today wrapped up with a talk on recovering data from solid state hard drives by [Scott Moulton]. The talk focused on the differences in data storage between SSD and platter technology. I did come away with a few interesting bits of knowledge. In an effort to extend device life, flash based drives store changed data to a new location, leaving the old data intact until a garbage removal subroutine gets around to clearing it out. Probably the best way to recover data from them will be altering or replacing the controller chip so you can access old data.

Yesterday I caught an interesting talk on recovering passwords from drive images by [David Smith]. He found that he could take a system image, strip out all the strings that were stored by various programs and use them to build a dictionary of possible passwords. By limiting string lengths and matching for known password policies, he was able to further filter his dictionary for likely passwords.

Toaster Oven Reflow Controller

[Nathan] sent in his toaster oven reflow controller. He’s using a Triac to drive the heating elements, a thermocouple to monitor temperature and a PIC controller to run the show. I’m giving him extra points for style on the control pad. Hopefully he’ll have time to put out a complete write up when he’s got it finished. You can check out the project photos here.