Hard Drive Destruction Plan


[Wolf] emailed us to show us his Self destructing Hard Drive tutorial. He’s using thermite, like we did, but he’s put a little more effort into the delivery system. In the video, you can see a huge spray molten iron. This is because his “jet”, the block of wood hollowed out to focus the thermite on to the hard drive didn’t hold a seal at the top. Not too bad for try #1. He could probably build this to be more contained, but even then it will most likely turn into “entire self destructing office” if it were to actually be used. A little common sense goes a long way here folks, this is molten metal and is extremely hot and dangerous.

56 thoughts on “Hard Drive Destruction Plan

  1. This would be a lot more effective if he used a larger grain size for the thermite to limit the reaction speed. 90% of the energy was shot out the side and wasted.

    I think the best way to do this is to enclose the whole hard drive in a refractory box made from 5000 degree castable refractory with a vent to release the expanding gasses from the hard drive combustion (and for cables). Since hard drive cases are often zinc/aluminum/magnesium, some aluminum should be left out of the thermite as the hard drive will supply one of the reactive metals once it melts.

    With a refractory enclosure the heat would be greater and retained longer. As long as the enclosure remained intact I expect nothing would be left of the drive but slag.

  2. @Wolf

    I see your nozzle/deliver hopper is made from various woods, but did you consider using any clay / ceramics instead? I’m curious if that would solve your blowout problem on the last picture on page 3.

  3. > Isn’t destruction of evidence illegal?

    Only in fascist Amerikka. In many parts of the civilised world it’s not illegal trying to protect your ass from prosecution. Even trying to flee from prison isn’t technically illegal in the country I currently reside in.

  4. I came up with a better idea.
    Most modern HDDs have a 25Cxx or Spansion chip which stores all the pivot defect tables etc.

    This chip is absolutely crucial, if it is ever deleted the drive becomes essentially worthless.
    So, add internal wiring to the drive under the PCB with modwire or flexis, connecting to the 4 pin jumper used for selecting SATA modes.
    Use microcontroller which if the correct conditions are not met (ie password) upon powering up the drive, automatically overwrites the chip with garbage.

    For additional fun, have it do the “Click of Death” or “Musical Notes” malfunction mode, so it writes zeros all over the platters whenever powered.

    Came up with a way to make this wireless, integrate a near field chip into the drive so that you have to put the tag on top to make it work.

    Even better, have the chip reverse two of the motor drives which has the effect of causing an instant head crash as the platters spin backwards.

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