Drive Slagging

Maybe you wiped your iPhone by filling the hard drive with music, or maybe you used a more sophisticated method. In either case, your phone is clean, but the hard drive in your computer is still chock full of evidence of your misdeeds (or just personal emails to your mother). If you fear forensic analysis will expose your wheelings and dealings, then a full format is not enough; you’re going to have to obliterate the plates inside the hard drive.

To that end, [Eecue] posted this worklog of slagging a hard drive. Using a propane powered furnace, he melted most of the drive’s components by placing it in a steel crucible which was lowered into the furnace. After a few minutes everything but the steel casing and a few bits of woven fiberglass from the PCB were melted down completely. You can see the entire process in [Eecue]’s drive slagging photo album.

With solid state drives becoming popular and their inherent difficulty of assured erasure, physical destruction is looking like a lot more reasonable option. As you readers have stated in the past: it’s certainly a lot more fun.

12 thoughts on “Drive Slagging

  1. In the olden days we just used thermite. Not as fun but hella fast.

    Oh and jaun: good try at redeeming yourself. The post is good (i’ll let this one slide) but it not up to the old hardware hacks. Try finding more things to the hardware side. (And yes if _I_ find any I will tip you off to it.)

  2. Um platters are today not solid metal. You can shatter them quite easy.

    a sledge hammer to a hard drive is incredibly effective. nail it a few times and then shake out the pieces and throw them away randomly.

  3. wtf!!! dont do that! thats destroying evidence. any idea how long u can be locked away for that without even having done anything _else_ wrong? omg!! just dont do it!!!!! sell it to someone who can use it!!!

  4. Having destroyed many hard drives in the past few weeks, I agree that overkill is fun, but not always necessary.

    All the boogie-man-exotic techniques (MFM, MSTM, etc) would rely on the attacker being able to access many areas of the platter with a device that effectively have a “depth of field” (a bit of a misnomer, but an apt analogy) on the order of nanometers. If the platter is flat and undamaged, it’s feasable to mount the thing for easy analysis.

    Beat the platter a few times, and it’s too warped to effectively scan. And in my experience, many modern drives still use solid platters. IBM/Hitachi seems to be the main exception. If the platter isn’t solid, it’ll shatter… even better.

    An even better idea though: use Darkik’s Boot & Nuke (or similar) with a DoD-style wipe, and give the drive to a local charity. Organizations that reuse computers are often short on suitable hard drives due to paranoid nerds. Wipe/donate is even acceptable for many financial institutions.

Leave a Reply

Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.