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Old 26th Apr 2012, 13:11   #1
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ICO warns of second-hand data leaks

The Information Commissioner's Office has published a report warning of the risks in selling second-hand hardware.

http://www.bit-tech.net/news/bits/20...s-data-leaks/1
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Old 26th Apr 2012, 13:21   #2
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Bloody ne'er-do-well's
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Old 26th Apr 2012, 14:56   #3
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I always dismantle a customers (faulty) drive and smash the platters to be sure there is no chance of it being recovered.
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Old 26th Apr 2012, 15:03   #4
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It does seem ironic that the one time I was ever asked by a family member to retrieve deleted data, the computer had actually managed to wipe it permanently!

In my first year of Uni, I was housed in halls with a block of Computer Science students and one of the things they used to demonstrate was retrieving data from damaged or wiped hard disk drives. Since then I've always insisted on removing the drives from any old computers family and friends are disposing of.

In the end, what we used to do at Uni was actually remove the hard disk platters and use them as coasters on our desks. Over time the heat from mugs of coffees warped the data and rendered it unreadable...

...at least that was the theory!
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Old 26th Apr 2012, 15:23   #5
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I used to use a heavy crowbar to smash the hell out of the drives we used. Done the same on with my own old ones.
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Old 26th Apr 2012, 15:52   #6
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There was a thing on Bang Goes The Theory about this quite recently. Showing some of the more..physical ways of erasing data, or not, depending on what they tried. Didn't tell me anything I didn't already know, but it was interesting none the less.

It's still up on bbc iplayer if anyone is interested. Here.
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Old 26th Apr 2012, 15:53   #7
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Dban was great...until Hard Drives got so big, now even with the fastest (which is the least secure) wipe, it can take soooooooooo long to wipe Hdrives that are TB's in size.

..Choose the most secure method, and your talking literally days to wipe a disc.
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Old 26th Apr 2012, 19:59   #8
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And that kiddies is why you never sell an old hard drive, they are rarely worth enough to justify it. if it still works, add it to a backup array, if it's broken, why are you selling it?

Though those not tech-savvy enough to know how to properly wipe a hard drive are at risk.
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Old 26th Apr 2012, 20:28   #9
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And that kiddies is why you never sell an old hard drive, they are rarely worth enough to justify it. if it still works, add it to a backup array, if it's broken, why are you selling it?

Though those not tech-savvy enough to know how to properly wipe a hard drive are at risk.
Thing that gets me is hard drives cost MORE in Africa if they have data on them! Shocking. Get a good wipe program guys and turn those informations into zeros...or ones..w/e. Just wipe that ****. More user friendly than grabbing your local blow-torch and melting that baby.
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Old 26th Apr 2012, 22:53   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fizzban
Thing that gets me is hard drives cost MORE in Africa if they have data on them! Shocking. Get a good wipe program guys and turn those informations into zeros...or ones..w/e. Just wipe that ****. More user friendly than grabbing your local blow-torch and melting that baby.
Maybe more user friendly, but not as user fun! With proper PPE ofc... :P
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Old 27th Apr 2012, 09:40   #11
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In the words of Jamie Hyneman; When in doubt, C4.
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Old 27th Apr 2012, 09:48   #12
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In the words of Jamie Hyneman; When in doubt, C4.
Thermite: s'cheaper, doesn't go 'bang' and have SO19 knocking on your door, and is *very* pretty when it burns. It's also incredibly easy to make.

NOTE: Don't make it. It's fun, it's easy, but it's quite likely to result in a visit from the anti-terrorism squad - and while that sort of thing used to get you a slap on the wrist, these days the manufacturing of an "improvised explosive device" (what used to be known as "home-made fireworks") will likely get you a one-way ticket to Gitmo. Also, thermite is pretty vicious stuff - which is great for wrecking hard drives, but not so great for keeping fingers, toes and eyesight intact.
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Old 27th Apr 2012, 09:58   #13
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TBH, if I'm retiring a drive, hammer and nail does the job pretty well. No melty or boom, but a lot safer and much more legal.
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Old 27th Apr 2012, 09:59   #14
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I always zero my drives, do a deep scan just in case, then securely delete if it found anything (it never does.)

The kind of people with the tools to get past a zero write and actually be able to do something with the information are not likely to be buying up drives off eBay for their nefarious purpose, so I am pretty confident I've nothing to worry about.

That said, at least most people at least attempt to delete the data.

I bought a PS3 hard drive that was clearly someone's porn storage device and even worse a Samsung Galaxy that spent a large amount of it's life producing amateur porn! I swiftly deleted it all after watching it.
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Old 27th Apr 2012, 15:16   #15
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Samsung Galaxy that spent a large amount of it's life producing amateur porn! I swiftly deleted it all after watching it.
Made me giggle!


Im currently using a Recuva to rescue some data from a formatted drive.

Takes an age to scan but once its finished its amazing what you can find.

This drive had been re-formatted re-partitioned and a fresh copy of windows and all his app installed.

id say I've found about 85% of the original content!
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Old 28th Apr 2012, 21:09   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hustler
Choose the most secure method, and your talking literally days to wipe a disc.
You only need to overwrite the data on your HDD with zeros to make it unrecoverable.

The hard drives own internal secure erase feature is also a lot quicker than the methods DBAN uses. IIRC, I wiped a 2TB drive in approx. 1 hour using HDDErase.
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Old 28th Apr 2012, 21:23   #17
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try googling for the swedish company that can recover data from any drive - they boast recovering data from hard drives that have been driven over by lorries , smashed to pieces and set on fire.

the US government approved method of destroying a data hard drive? dropping into acid till it melts. Overwriting xxx amount of times can still be read with enough effort.
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Old 29th Apr 2012, 04:20   #18
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I usually use hdparm to erase drives. The only tricky thing: modern BIOSes tend to send the "freeze security state" command before handing control to the OS boot loader. You'll often either have to hotplug the drive (works fine for AHCI), or use a secondary SATA controller that doesn't send the "freeze" command.

Commands to run (using a random drive as an example, and replacing the serial number with "serialnumberhere"):
hdparm -I /dev/disk/by-id/ata-ST9500420AS_serialnumberhere
Capital i, not lowercase L. That will tell you something like this at the bottom:
Security:
Master password revision code = 65534
supported
not enabled
not locked
not frozen
not expired: security count
supported: enhanced erase
102min for SECURITY ERASE UNIT. 102min for ENHANCED SECURITY ERASE UNIT.

Then:
hdparm --security-set-pass SOMEPASSWORDHERE /dev/disk/by-id/ata-ST9500420AS_serialnumberhere
time hdparm --security-erase SOMEPASSWORDHERE /dev/disk/by-id/ata-ST9500420AS_serialnumberhere
You can instead do --security-erase-enhanced, if the drive supports it.

I run it through "time" -- if the thing takes way longer than it states it should, I'd imagine the drive is unhealthy. (One time I saw two different drives drives report a 30-minute erase, with me present, as taking 450 minutes -- likely due to clock changes.)

EDIT: Also, there is an hdparm for Windows, but nowadays Windows sends the "freeze" command to all drives, as well -- even on alternate SATA controllers, I believe. Hence, you need the Linux hdparm.

Last edited by DanaG; 29th Apr 2012 at 04:29.
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Old 30th Apr 2012, 01:50   #19
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Well, wouldn't it be easier to just encrypt the whole drive and be done with it? Set the key to be as long as possible and just bash away at the keyboard like Shakespeare's monkeys. If anyone's going to throw that much resources at recovering your data, you're screwed either way.
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Old 1st May 2012, 22:05   #20
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Well, wouldn't it be easier to just encrypt the whole drive and be done with it? Set the key to be as long as possible and just bash away at the keyboard like Shakespeare's monkeys. If anyone's going to throw that much resources at recovering your data, you're screwed either way.
If your operating system supports seamless encryption well (like OSX), then encryption is a good idea if you can stomach the performance loss.
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