Need to destroy old external Hard Drives

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
User avatar
abuss368
Posts: 21628
Joined: Mon Aug 03, 2009 2:33 pm
Location: Where the water is warm, the drinks are cold, and I don't know the names of the players!
Contact:

Re: Need to destroy old external Hard Drives

Post by abuss368 »

I smashed and placed in water. Destroyed. Maybe our fire pit would be better!
John C. Bogle: “Simplicity is the master key to financial success."
shess
Posts: 676
Joined: Wed May 17, 2017 12:02 am

Re: Need to destroy old external Hard Drives

Post by shess »

fogalog wrote: Wed Jul 29, 2020 5:52 pm I also agree with their point: most of the advice here is overkill. Hook the drives up to your mac, open Disk Utility and wipe the drives securely. That's it. That's all you need to do.
I agree - sure, some military facility might be able to get SOME data off your drive even after written over with zeros (or pseudo-random data), but if you are in the focus of a military facility, IMHO worrying about data at disposal time is already too late. They already exfiltrated your data.

Likewise, if you break the SATA connector, the only reason someone's going to hack together a fix is if they are targeting you specifically. Nobody is going to go to that work for a random dumpster find. Even if they are scanning dumpster drives for info, they can scan DOZENS of working drives in the same amount of time taken to fix your drive for scanning. Just not worth it. But if you want to be even more sure, pull off the entire board and dispose of it separately, because not having the board makes it harder to hack something together.

Lastly, with SSDs this is all out the window, the way SSDs work, you have to use a special secure-erase command at the SATA level. Maybe the erasure utility does that, maybe not. Just encrypt the disk from the get-go, even with a trivial password, which makes the drive look like random data. Again, you mostly just want to be harder to read than the other drives in the dumpster.
palanzo
Posts: 1408
Joined: Thu Oct 10, 2019 4:28 pm

Re: Need to destroy old external Hard Drives

Post by palanzo »

shess wrote: Wed Jul 29, 2020 6:38 pm
fogalog wrote: Wed Jul 29, 2020 5:52 pm I also agree with their point: most of the advice here is overkill. Hook the drives up to your mac, open Disk Utility and wipe the drives securely. That's it. That's all you need to do.
Just encrypt the disk from the get-go, even with a trivial password, which makes the drive look like random data. Again, you mostly just want to be harder to read than the other drives in the dumpster.
Using a trivial password is not a good idea. You may have medical or financial information on the SSD, not to mention emails. Why use a trivial password when a long passphrase is available.
oldfort
Posts: 1759
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2020 8:45 pm

Re: Need to destroy old external Hard Drives

Post by oldfort »

shess wrote: Wed Jul 29, 2020 6:38 pm
fogalog wrote: Wed Jul 29, 2020 5:52 pm I also agree with their point: most of the advice here is overkill. Hook the drives up to your mac, open Disk Utility and wipe the drives securely. That's it. That's all you need to do.
I agree - sure, some military facility might be able to get SOME data off your drive even after written over with zeros (or pseudo-random data), but if you are in the focus of a military facility, IMHO worrying about data at disposal time is already too late. They already exfiltrated your data.
Is the OP a member of ISIS? Why is what some military facility might allegedly be able to do part of this thread?
LunaLauren
Posts: 27
Joined: Thu Jul 16, 2020 3:42 pm

Re: Need to destroy old external Hard Drives

Post by LunaLauren »

I appreciated the heat suggestion. I think I'll buy some disposable foil pans and use the oven ;)

....but what about toxic fumes? lol
jarjarM
Posts: 276
Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2018 1:21 pm

Re: Need to destroy old external Hard Drives

Post by jarjarM »

LunaLauren wrote: Wed Jul 29, 2020 6:50 pm I appreciated the heat suggestion. I think I'll buy some disposable foil pans and use the oven ;)

....but what about toxic fumes? lol
Once you take away all the connectors/cables, modern HDD is air-tight seal since that's the only way the head will fly close enough to the disk w/o distrubance/crash. So by the time fumes is coming out of a air-tight case, you can dump it, grains on the disk are scrambled and you won't have to worry about anyone recover your top-secret vacation photos. :P
User avatar
abuss368
Posts: 21628
Joined: Mon Aug 03, 2009 2:33 pm
Location: Where the water is warm, the drinks are cold, and I don't know the names of the players!
Contact:

Re: Need to destroy old external Hard Drives

Post by abuss368 »

Try napalm! I had a friend who wanted to drive over an old hard drive!
John C. Bogle: “Simplicity is the master key to financial success."
palanzo
Posts: 1408
Joined: Thu Oct 10, 2019 4:28 pm

Re: Need to destroy old external Hard Drives

Post by palanzo »

abuss368 wrote: Wed Jul 29, 2020 7:41 pm Try napalm! I had a friend who wanted to drive over an old hard drive!
Driving over an old hard drive would do nothing. It's a solid Al chassis.
User avatar
abuss368
Posts: 21628
Joined: Mon Aug 03, 2009 2:33 pm
Location: Where the water is warm, the drinks are cold, and I don't know the names of the players!
Contact:

Re: Need to destroy old external Hard Drives

Post by abuss368 »

palanzo wrote: Wed Jul 29, 2020 7:43 pm
abuss368 wrote: Wed Jul 29, 2020 7:41 pm Try napalm! I had a friend who wanted to drive over an old hard drive!
Driving over an old hard drive would do nothing. It's a solid Al chassis.
That is what I told him. College buds!
John C. Bogle: “Simplicity is the master key to financial success."
Trader Joe
Posts: 1997
Joined: Fri Apr 25, 2014 6:38 pm

Re: Need to destroy old external Hard Drives

Post by Trader Joe »

RazzleNugent601 wrote: Wed Jul 29, 2020 8:19 am Over the years, through the use of many Macintosh computers, I have collected about a dozen external hard drives. They range in capacity from 100-500 gigabytes, and of various sizes between a paperback book to a hardcover book. Since one can buy a 2 terabyte drive today for $60, those old ones need to be recycled. Several of them have had some personal and financial information, and I know that erasure alone won’t make them secure if I give them to a metal recycler. I did take one apart, wearing safety goggles, and drilled a hole through the platter, but it took about an hour, and the removal of perhaps 20 screws with a variety of screwdrivers.

I have seen 2 inch cube neodymium magnets advertised for around $70. I understand that such a powerful magnet, might be used to completely “fry” these drives, but I probably would still have to take the enclosure off each drive before using the magnet. I also understand that these strong magnetic fields can inadvertently wipe out watches, credit cards, some electronic devices, etc. Also, I know that there are warnings about using such magnets, in terms of fingers getting mashed. Might using such a magnet be safe to render these drives safe to send to a metal recycler? Does anyone have suggestions for safe disposal of these old hard drives?
Use a hammer.
000
Posts: 2842
Joined: Thu Jul 23, 2020 12:04 am

Re: Need to destroy old external Hard Drives

Post by 000 »

Lot of bad suggestions here.

Exercise for the reader: how does smashing the platter change the magnetic orientation of the bits on them?
rkhusky
Posts: 10220
Joined: Thu Aug 18, 2011 8:09 pm

Re: Need to destroy old external Hard Drives

Post by rkhusky »

000 wrote: Wed Jul 29, 2020 8:52 pm Lot of bad suggestions here.

Exercise for the reader: how does smashing the platter change the magnetic orientation of the bits on them?
Who can read the magnetic orientation of a piece of a platter? And why would they want to read your piece of platter?

Drilling and soaking in saltwater seems easy enough. Or maybe some muriatic acid that I have for the pool.
palanzo
Posts: 1408
Joined: Thu Oct 10, 2019 4:28 pm

Re: Need to destroy old external Hard Drives

Post by palanzo »

000 wrote: Wed Jul 29, 2020 8:52 pm Lot of bad suggestions here.

Exercise for the reader: how does smashing the platter change the magnetic orientation of the bits on them?
Do you have a concern with the magnetic orientation of the bits with a glass platter that breaks into small pieces?
oldfort
Posts: 1759
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2020 8:45 pm

Re: Need to destroy old external Hard Drives

Post by oldfort »

LunaLauren wrote: Wed Jul 29, 2020 6:50 pm I appreciated the heat suggestion. I think I'll buy some disposable foil pans and use the oven ;)

....but what about toxic fumes? lol
There are a lot of toxic fumes, which can be released when electronics burn. I wouldn't burn a hard drive.
jarjarM
Posts: 276
Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2018 1:21 pm

Re: Need to destroy old external Hard Drives

Post by jarjarM »

rkhusky wrote: Wed Jul 29, 2020 9:37 pm
000 wrote: Wed Jul 29, 2020 8:52 pm Lot of bad suggestions here.

Exercise for the reader: how does smashing the platter change the magnetic orientation of the bits on them?
Who can read the magnetic orientation of a piece of a platter? And why would they want to read your piece of platter?

Drilling and soaking in saltwater seems easy enough. Or maybe some muriatic acid that I have for the pool.
Once the head is off the actuator and no longer align, one would need a spin stand and a new head to read the platter. If the platter is smashed, then it’s extremely difficult to recover any useful info since the bits are written in sectors and without sector info it’s nearly impossible to decipher. Of course, heat is the end all.

Btw, I can’t believe this post got so much responses. Lots of HDD fanatics here :sharebeer
WildBill
Posts: 657
Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2016 10:47 pm
Location: San Antonio, Texas

Re: Need to destroy old external Hard Drives

Post by WildBill »

Howdy

Sledgehammer.

Brute force and ignorance trumps intelligent elegance every time. :wink: 8-)

Happy walloping

W B
"Through chances various, through all vicissitudes, we make our way." Virgil, The Aeneid
User avatar
btq96r
Posts: 194
Joined: Thu Dec 26, 2019 3:46 pm

Re: Need to destroy old external Hard Drives

Post by btq96r »

RazzleNugent601 wrote: Wed Jul 29, 2020 8:19 am Several of them have had some personal and financial information, and I know that erasure alone won’t make them secure if I give them to a metal recycler.
Do you think high speed data recovery criminals are a threat to root through your trash, grab the hard drives, and get something after a DBAN wipe?

A drill bit running straight through, or a rifle round are all you need if you're wanting to see some physical destruction. Magnets are a pain in the ass unless you have a degauzer you can use.

Nothing will be faster or easier than the drill bit. Run two or three through the disk if you like.
Ragnoth
Posts: 266
Joined: Sat Sep 17, 2016 8:10 am
Location: New York

Re: Need to destroy old external Hard Drives

Post by Ragnoth »

Drill a hole or two and throw it away. Even if it turns up in the dump, nobody but the Feds is going to be able/willing to do anything with it at that point.
srj
Posts: 59
Joined: Thu Apr 16, 2015 10:18 pm

Re: Need to destroy old external Hard Drives

Post by srj »

I don't think any of this is necessary. Except for very old drives (i.e. >20 years ago), a single pass of writing 0's will make it impossible for anyone to recover. This even includes data recovery experts.

There are some caveats, it's possible for drives to mark sectors as unusable. I'm not sure if DBAN has a mechanism for reaching those. I think partly for this reason modern HDDs and SSDs have an ATA "secure erase" instruction.
shess
Posts: 676
Joined: Wed May 17, 2017 12:02 am

Re: Need to destroy old external Hard Drives

Post by shess »

000 wrote: Wed Jul 29, 2020 8:52 pm Lot of bad suggestions here.

Exercise for the reader: how does smashing the platter change the magnetic orientation of the bits on them?
Running a scrubber over the data means that only a few corporations or government agencies could plausibly extract anything. Using a hammer is more fun!

The core problem this thread ignores is "What is the threat model?" If the threat model is that Jeff Bezos or Mossad is coming for your old hard drives, you are truly screwed and asking the wrong question. If your threat model is that Joe down at the electronics recycling center has a side gig harvesting credit card numbers off of hard drives, then taking a pliers to the SATA or IDE connector is all you really need to do.

Personally, I've had enough hard drives die in use (precluding scrubbing) that I started just encrypting my volumes, which also works for SSDs. Forget the key and they are unrecoverable, end of story.
000
Posts: 2842
Joined: Thu Jul 23, 2020 12:04 am

Re: Need to destroy old external Hard Drives

Post by 000 »

shess wrote: Wed Jul 29, 2020 11:00 pm
000 wrote: Wed Jul 29, 2020 8:52 pm Lot of bad suggestions here.

Exercise for the reader: how does smashing the platter change the magnetic orientation of the bits on them?
Running a scrubber over the data means that only a few corporations or government agencies could plausibly extract anything. Using a hammer is more fun!

The core problem this thread ignores is "What is the threat model?" If the threat model is that Jeff Bezos or Mossad is coming for your old hard drives, you are truly screwed and asking the wrong question. If your threat model is that Joe down at the electronics recycling center has a side gig harvesting credit card numbers off of hard drives, then taking a pliers to the SATA or IDE connector is all you really need to do.

Personally, I've had enough hard drives die in use (precluding scrubbing) that I started just encrypting my volumes, which also works for SSDs. Forget the key and they are unrecoverable, end of story.
The OP did not mention their threat model. The suggestion that a hammer will destroy the underlying data is false, hence my post.
DiamondplateDave
Posts: 133
Joined: Sat Jun 06, 2015 10:23 pm

Re: Need to destroy old external Hard Drives

Post by DiamondplateDave »

As others have stated, Mac OS includes a "Secure Erase" option in Disk Utility. I think running the 3 or 7 pass erase should defeat anybody not having access to a scanning electron microscope or other very high-tech equipment (read: TLAs). If possible, I would do this before physically destroying the drive, if one really feels that is necessary.
My friend had her desktop computer stolen, some years back, from her house by tweakers. It had a Windows password set, but I'm not sure the drive was encrypted. They also stole some of her paperwork-bills, etc, meaning they may have had some mischief planned. I don't think anything ever came of it, but it made me think of how much difficulty would ensue if my iMac were to be stolen. I decided to encrypt my drive, but first to make a complete backup of just my data, in addition to my Time Machine Backup. So I ordered a new desktop hard drive, and connected it to a USB-SATA adapter. I then ran it for about a week to make sure it wouldn't be failing out of the box. Formatted it, erased it, copied random files to it, formatted it again. OK, it works.
So I copied my data over to the new, unencrypted backup drive. Worked fine for several days, then-dead. Tried new USB-SATA interface, tried when it was cold, tried when it was warm-nope. Tried the freezer. Nope. So, I had a brand-new $100 hard drive, under warranty, that had all my data- taxes, investments, photos, passwords, etc. The manufacturer claimed they scrubbed any drive returned to them. Great! Oh, but people on-line are claiming they received replacement drives that had other people's files on them? uh.... I was pretty close to just destroying the drive and eating the $100, which would have been a rather painful loss at the time. I finally wound up using a giant color TV degaussing coil I had gotten when I purchased a TV repair shop. I don't know if it worked, but I sent the drive back and got a replacement.
TL;DR Encrypt your drives NOW, and you won't have to worry about what happens to them later if they need repair, RMA, are stolen, etc. Just physically getting a drive out to destroy it can be a fair amount of work, and you can't erase a working drive in a dead computer, nor a dead drive itself.
boomer_techie
Posts: 422
Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2019 6:47 am

Re: Need to destroy old external Hard Drives

Post by boomer_techie »

The Electrician wrote: Wed Jul 29, 2020 8:41 am I use CCleaner (free version) from Piriform https://www.ccleaner.com/ (also available for Mac)
It has many functions that you may or may not want to avoid but one of the more useful Tools is "Drive Wiper" which performs overwrites on the free space or entire selected drive. Options of 1, 3, 7 or 35 overwrites are available depending on whether you have minor or extreme secrecy issues.
Apple's built in Disk Utility can overwrite a disk a selected number of times. I feel 1 pass is enough: At that point, the only way to recover anything is with a custom drive controller and electronics. The only part of your data remaining would be "overspray" off the side of the data tracks. (A modern drive isn't going to be able to record a data track at exactly the same spot as the previously recorded track.) That will be well into three letter agency territory...
andypanda
Posts: 520
Joined: Sun Nov 12, 2017 9:11 pm
Location: Richmond, Virginia

Re: Need to destroy old external Hard Drives

Post by andypanda »

"Who has an oxy-acetylene torch laying around?"

The farmer who lives next door to us. My buddy the self-employed plumber. A car restorer I know. Anybody with a well equipped shop.

"The oxy-acetylene torch setup is one of the most affordable versatile tools in any shop. With it, a competent operator can heat, weld, braze, silver-solder, and cut. We've used it for all of the above, but it's most often used to heat steel for bending and to cut."

Tool School: Break Out the Torch | Popular Science
www.popsci.com › basic-skills-oxy-acetylene-cutting,

Heck, my wife's undergrad degree is in sculpture and she used to have a MIG welder, but she always wanted an oxy-acetylene setup to cut thick metal.
$149 at Harbor Freight for a cheap starter kit, plus the cost of the gas.

www.harborfreight.com/oxygen-and-acetyl ... 98958.html
wfrobinette
Posts: 1344
Joined: Fri Feb 20, 2015 3:14 pm

Re: Need to destroy old external Hard Drives

Post by wfrobinette »

andypanda wrote: Thu Jul 30, 2020 9:11 am "Who has an oxy-acetylene torch laying around?"

The farmer who lives next door to us. My buddy the self-employed plumber. A car restorer I know. Anybody with a well equipped shop.

"The oxy-acetylene torch setup is one of the most affordable versatile tools in any shop. With it, a competent operator can heat, weld, braze, silver-solder, and cut. We've used it for all of the above, but it's most often used to heat steel for bending and to cut."

Tool School: Break Out the Torch | Popular Science
www.popsci.com › basic-skills-oxy-acetylene-cutting,

Heck, my wife's undergrad degree is in sculpture and she used to have a MIG welder, but she always wanted an oxy-acetylene setup to cut thick metal.
$149 at Harbor Freight for a cheap starter kit, plus the cost of the gas.

www.harborfreight.com/oxygen-and-acetyl ... 98958.html
Anecdotal evidence doesn't mean there are millions of these things around. I bet less that 1% of the homes have one.
wfrobinette
Posts: 1344
Joined: Fri Feb 20, 2015 3:14 pm

Re: Need to destroy old external Hard Drives

Post by wfrobinette »

Whenever I want to see paranoia I come into this type of thread.

1. If it works erase it with any of the free software out there. At least just delete everything.
2. If it works drill a hole or two, hammer it whatever to break it.
3. If it doesn't work drill a hole or two, hammer it whatever to break it.

Take it to recycling and forget all about it.
illumination
Posts: 873
Joined: Tue Apr 02, 2019 6:13 pm

Re: Need to destroy old external Hard Drives

Post by illumination »

tibbitts wrote: Wed Jul 29, 2020 11:59 am Since nobody has identified data they have that would actually matter if lost and that isn't available to malicious actors through far less difficult means, I'm convinced that Bogleheads are just using this as an excuse to let out some frustration by doing physical violence to defenseless electronics. I guess everybody needs a hobby, and it's more convenient than hunting down a seal pup to beat with a club.

I don't think this is where the majority of identity theft occurs and it's probably overly cautious, but I absolutely have all sorts of electronic copies of things like my tax returns on a hard drive that someone could have a field day with.

I went through someone stealing my identity and actually file a fraudulent tax return in my name to get the refund. It was absolute mess that took years to straighten out. I actually believe my "old" accountant did not have proper cyber security and they hacked into his files.

Years ago, my wife made the mistake of mailing a check and placing it in our mailbox the night before, someone came by and stole it, made copies and started writing bogus checks off of it.

Identity theft and fraud like this is an epidemic, and people now keep their "life" on their computers. I don't think there's much downside someone spending a few minutes once every so many years properly destroying a discarded hard drive.
tibbitts
Posts: 11969
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 6:50 pm

Re: Need to destroy old external Hard Drives

Post by tibbitts »

illumination wrote: Thu Jul 30, 2020 11:30 am
tibbitts wrote: Wed Jul 29, 2020 11:59 am Since nobody has identified data they have that would actually matter if lost and that isn't available to malicious actors through far less difficult means, I'm convinced that Bogleheads are just using this as an excuse to let out some frustration by doing physical violence to defenseless electronics. I guess everybody needs a hobby, and it's more convenient than hunting down a seal pup to beat with a club.

I don't think this is where the majority of identity theft occurs and it's probably overly cautious, but I absolutely have all sorts of electronic copies of things like my tax returns on a hard drive that someone could have a field day with.

I went through someone stealing my identity and actually file a fraudulent tax return in my name to get the refund. It was absolute mess that took years to straighten out. I actually believe my "old" accountant did not have proper cyber security and they hacked into his files.

Years ago, my wife made the mistake of mailing a check and placing it in our mailbox the night before, someone came by and stole it, made copies and started writing bogus checks off of it.

Identity theft and fraud like this is an epidemic, and people now keep their "life" on their computers. I don't think there's much downside someone spending a few minutes once every so many years properly destroying a discarded hard drive.
I don't know that there is downside, since recycling apparently can be done no matter how physically damaged a drive is. But why not extend the concept to crushing and melting down a car you want to replace with a new model? How can you be absolutely certain you wiped that garage door opener code from your car? How about that tiny slip of paper with your account number on it that might have slipped under the carpet or into a crevice that you didn't notice? Better to be safe, no?
illumination
Posts: 873
Joined: Tue Apr 02, 2019 6:13 pm

Re: Need to destroy old external Hard Drives

Post by illumination »

tibbitts wrote: Thu Jul 30, 2020 12:13 pm
illumination wrote: Thu Jul 30, 2020 11:30 am
tibbitts wrote: Wed Jul 29, 2020 11:59 am Since nobody has identified data they have that would actually matter if lost and that isn't available to malicious actors through far less difficult means, I'm convinced that Bogleheads are just using this as an excuse to let out some frustration by doing physical violence to defenseless electronics. I guess everybody needs a hobby, and it's more convenient than hunting down a seal pup to beat with a club.

I don't think this is where the majority of identity theft occurs and it's probably overly cautious, but I absolutely have all sorts of electronic copies of things like my tax returns on a hard drive that someone could have a field day with.

I went through someone stealing my identity and actually file a fraudulent tax return in my name to get the refund. It was absolute mess that took years to straighten out. I actually believe my "old" accountant did not have proper cyber security and they hacked into his files.

Years ago, my wife made the mistake of mailing a check and placing it in our mailbox the night before, someone came by and stole it, made copies and started writing bogus checks off of it.

Identity theft and fraud like this is an epidemic, and people now keep their "life" on their computers. I don't think there's much downside someone spending a few minutes once every so many years properly destroying a discarded hard drive.
I don't know that there is downside, since recycling apparently can be done no matter how physically damaged a drive is. But why not extend the concept to crushing and melting down a car you want to replace with a new model? How can you be absolutely certain you wiped that garage door opener code from your car? How about that tiny slip of paper with your account number on it that might have slipped under the carpet or into a crevice that you didn't notice? Better to be safe, no?


Sorry, I just don't think that's an apples to apples analogy. We all have different assessments of risk, I would argue a hard drive can be the "keys to the kingdom" for many people. Somebody getting into my garage under absurd circumstances is not. You can get into my house with a rock through the window, yet I still lock my doors.

I have a family member for instance that literally has a file on his computer labeled "passwords" with every password to every financial account on their computer. He's also somewhat senile, somebody could clean him out and he'd never know.

If it was a bit outlay of money or time, I could see taking issue with it, but this is like saying it's too much trouble to say put something through a paper shredder. Even if it's rare, people do go through trash to find this information. A functioning hard drive in a trash can could lead to the same result. Why not take a few seconds and just destroy it? But nobody is being forced to do any of this if you don't want to.
palanzo
Posts: 1408
Joined: Thu Oct 10, 2019 4:28 pm

Re: Need to destroy old external Hard Drives

Post by palanzo »

illumination wrote: Thu Jul 30, 2020 12:49 pm
tibbitts wrote: Thu Jul 30, 2020 12:13 pm
illumination wrote: Thu Jul 30, 2020 11:30 am
tibbitts wrote: Wed Jul 29, 2020 11:59 am Since nobody has identified data they have that would actually matter if lost and that isn't available to malicious actors through far less difficult means, I'm convinced that Bogleheads are just using this as an excuse to let out some frustration by doing physical violence to defenseless electronics. I guess everybody needs a hobby, and it's more convenient than hunting down a seal pup to beat with a club.

I don't think this is where the majority of identity theft occurs and it's probably overly cautious, but I absolutely have all sorts of electronic copies of things like my tax returns on a hard drive that someone could have a field day with.

I went through someone stealing my identity and actually file a fraudulent tax return in my name to get the refund. It was absolute mess that took years to straighten out. I actually believe my "old" accountant did not have proper cyber security and they hacked into his files.

Years ago, my wife made the mistake of mailing a check and placing it in our mailbox the night before, someone came by and stole it, made copies and started writing bogus checks off of it.

Identity theft and fraud like this is an epidemic, and people now keep their "life" on their computers. I don't think there's much downside someone spending a few minutes once every so many years properly destroying a discarded hard drive.
I don't know that there is downside, since recycling apparently can be done no matter how physically damaged a drive is. But why not extend the concept to crushing and melting down a car you want to replace with a new model? How can you be absolutely certain you wiped that garage door opener code from your car? How about that tiny slip of paper with your account number on it that might have slipped under the carpet or into a crevice that you didn't notice? Better to be safe, no?


Sorry, I just don't think that's an apples to apples analogy. We all have different assessments of risk, I would argue a hard drive can be the "keys to the kingdom" for many people. Somebody getting into my garage under absurd circumstances is not. You can get into my house with a rock through the window, yet I still lock my doors.

I have a family member for instance that literally has a file on his computer labeled "passwords" with every password to every financial account on their computer. He's also somewhat senile, somebody could clean him out and he'd never know.

If it was a bit outlay of money or time, I could see taking issue with it, but this is like saying it's too much trouble to say put something through a paper shredder. Even if it's rare, people do go through trash to find this information. A functioning hard drive in a trash can could lead to the same result. Why not take a few seconds and just destroy it? But nobody is being forced to do any of this if you don't want to.
+1 Basic security protocols. The analogy above is absurd.
tibbitts
Posts: 11969
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 6:50 pm

Re: Need to destroy old external Hard Drives

Post by tibbitts »

illumination wrote: Thu Jul 30, 2020 12:49 pm
tibbitts wrote: Thu Jul 30, 2020 12:13 pm
illumination wrote: Thu Jul 30, 2020 11:30 am
tibbitts wrote: Wed Jul 29, 2020 11:59 am Since nobody has identified data they have that would actually matter if lost and that isn't available to malicious actors through far less difficult means, I'm convinced that Bogleheads are just using this as an excuse to let out some frustration by doing physical violence to defenseless electronics. I guess everybody needs a hobby, and it's more convenient than hunting down a seal pup to beat with a club.

I don't think this is where the majority of identity theft occurs and it's probably overly cautious, but I absolutely have all sorts of electronic copies of things like my tax returns on a hard drive that someone could have a field day with.

I went through someone stealing my identity and actually file a fraudulent tax return in my name to get the refund. It was absolute mess that took years to straighten out. I actually believe my "old" accountant did not have proper cyber security and they hacked into his files.

Years ago, my wife made the mistake of mailing a check and placing it in our mailbox the night before, someone came by and stole it, made copies and started writing bogus checks off of it.

Identity theft and fraud like this is an epidemic, and people now keep their "life" on their computers. I don't think there's much downside someone spending a few minutes once every so many years properly destroying a discarded hard drive.
I don't know that there is downside, since recycling apparently can be done no matter how physically damaged a drive is. But why not extend the concept to crushing and melting down a car you want to replace with a new model? How can you be absolutely certain you wiped that garage door opener code from your car? How about that tiny slip of paper with your account number on it that might have slipped under the carpet or into a crevice that you didn't notice? Better to be safe, no?


Sorry, I just don't think that's an apples to apples analogy. We all have different assessments of risk, I would argue a hard drive can be the "keys to the kingdom" for many people. Somebody getting into my garage under absurd circumstances is not. You can get into my house with a rock through the window, yet I still lock my doors.

I have a family member for instance that literally has a file on his computer labeled "passwords" with every password to every financial account on their computer. He's also somewhat senile, somebody could clean him out and he'd never know.

If it was a bit outlay of money or time, I could see taking issue with it, but this is like saying it's too much trouble to say put something through a paper shredder. Even if it's rare, people do go through trash to find this information. A functioning hard drive in a trash can could lead to the same result. Why not take a few seconds and just destroy it? But nobody is being forced to do any of this if you don't want to.
People here aren't talking about taking "a few seconds"; they're talking about extraordinarily destructive measures: torches, bullets, melting in a furnace. A "few seconds" would be starting a procedure to wipe the drive and leaving it to run, then taking the drive to recycle. All this discussion is about the opportunity for data loss between between wiping the drive and recycling it (or during the recycling process.)

Do you really think someone forgetting to erase the garage door code from their car (and then forgetting to reset the code on their opener) is less likely than a criminal extracting data from a properly-wiped hard drive? For most of us the garage is probably half the line of defense for all the data in our houses, and many of us actually keep data (including in the form of hard drives) in our garages.
palanzo
Posts: 1408
Joined: Thu Oct 10, 2019 4:28 pm

Re: Need to destroy old external Hard Drives

Post by palanzo »

tibbitts wrote: Thu Jul 30, 2020 1:18 pm
illumination wrote: Thu Jul 30, 2020 12:49 pm
tibbitts wrote: Thu Jul 30, 2020 12:13 pm
illumination wrote: Thu Jul 30, 2020 11:30 am
tibbitts wrote: Wed Jul 29, 2020 11:59 am Since nobody has identified data they have that would actually matter if lost and that isn't available to malicious actors through far less difficult means, I'm convinced that Bogleheads are just using this as an excuse to let out some frustration by doing physical violence to defenseless electronics. I guess everybody needs a hobby, and it's more convenient than hunting down a seal pup to beat with a club.

I don't think this is where the majority of identity theft occurs and it's probably overly cautious, but I absolutely have all sorts of electronic copies of things like my tax returns on a hard drive that someone could have a field day with.

I went through someone stealing my identity and actually file a fraudulent tax return in my name to get the refund. It was absolute mess that took years to straighten out. I actually believe my "old" accountant did not have proper cyber security and they hacked into his files.

Years ago, my wife made the mistake of mailing a check and placing it in our mailbox the night before, someone came by and stole it, made copies and started writing bogus checks off of it.

Identity theft and fraud like this is an epidemic, and people now keep their "life" on their computers. I don't think there's much downside someone spending a few minutes once every so many years properly destroying a discarded hard drive.
I don't know that there is downside, since recycling apparently can be done no matter how physically damaged a drive is. But why not extend the concept to crushing and melting down a car you want to replace with a new model? How can you be absolutely certain you wiped that garage door opener code from your car? How about that tiny slip of paper with your account number on it that might have slipped under the carpet or into a crevice that you didn't notice? Better to be safe, no?


Sorry, I just don't think that's an apples to apples analogy. We all have different assessments of risk, I would argue a hard drive can be the "keys to the kingdom" for many people. Somebody getting into my garage under absurd circumstances is not. You can get into my house with a rock through the window, yet I still lock my doors.

I have a family member for instance that literally has a file on his computer labeled "passwords" with every password to every financial account on their computer. He's also somewhat senile, somebody could clean him out and he'd never know.

If it was a bit outlay of money or time, I could see taking issue with it, but this is like saying it's too much trouble to say put something through a paper shredder. Even if it's rare, people do go through trash to find this information. A functioning hard drive in a trash can could lead to the same result. Why not take a few seconds and just destroy it? But nobody is being forced to do any of this if you don't want to.
People here aren't talking about taking "a few seconds"; they're talking about extraordinarily destructive measures: torches, bullets, melting in a furnace. A "few seconds" would be starting a procedure to wipe the drive and leaving it to run, then taking the drive to recycle. All this discussion is about the opportunity for data loss between between wiping the drive and recycling it (or during the recycling process.)

Do you really think someone forgetting to erase the garage door code from their car (and then forgetting to reset the code on their opener) is less likely than a criminal extracting data from a properly-wiped hard drive? For most of us the garage is probably half the line of defense for all the data in our houses, and many of us actually keep data (including in the form of hard drives) in our garages.
Most people don't know how to securely delete the data on a hard drive. If you are interested search for the security papers on the recovery of data from drives that were "wiped" and then sold on eBay.
andypanda
Posts: 520
Joined: Sun Nov 12, 2017 9:11 pm
Location: Richmond, Virginia

Re: Need to destroy old external Hard Drives

Post by andypanda »

"Anecdotal evidence doesn't mean there are millions of these things around. I bet less that 1% of the homes have one."

I agree. That means the odds are good that if you have 100 or 200 friends, neighbors, tradesmen, or even gun club or country club members, you know someone who has an oxy-acetylene torch.

Here's a computer forum thread with before and after pics of a torched drive. :sharebeer

www.overclock.net/forum/20-hard-drives- ... atter.html

______________

All this talk of useful tools reminds me of the scene in The Spirit of St. Louis with Jimmy Stewart. Lindbergh shows up at the plane factory in California to try to order a plane. He finds the owner cooking tiny flounder/sanddabs on a piece of metal with a welding torch.

It's the 2nd pic down here https://casabouquet.com/lisas-home-bijo ... -st-louis/
illumination
Posts: 873
Joined: Tue Apr 02, 2019 6:13 pm

Re: Need to destroy old external Hard Drives

Post by illumination »

tibbitts wrote: Thu Jul 30, 2020 1:18 pm
illumination wrote: Thu Jul 30, 2020 12:49 pm
tibbitts wrote: Thu Jul 30, 2020 12:13 pm
illumination wrote: Thu Jul 30, 2020 11:30 am
tibbitts wrote: Wed Jul 29, 2020 11:59 am Since nobody has identified data they have that would actually matter if lost and that isn't available to malicious actors through far less difficult means, I'm convinced that Bogleheads are just using this as an excuse to let out some frustration by doing physical violence to defenseless electronics. I guess everybody needs a hobby, and it's more convenient than hunting down a seal pup to beat with a club.

I don't think this is where the majority of identity theft occurs and it's probably overly cautious, but I absolutely have all sorts of electronic copies of things like my tax returns on a hard drive that someone could have a field day with.

I went through someone stealing my identity and actually file a fraudulent tax return in my name to get the refund. It was absolute mess that took years to straighten out. I actually believe my "old" accountant did not have proper cyber security and they hacked into his files.

Years ago, my wife made the mistake of mailing a check and placing it in our mailbox the night before, someone came by and stole it, made copies and started writing bogus checks off of it.

Identity theft and fraud like this is an epidemic, and people now keep their "life" on their computers. I don't think there's much downside someone spending a few minutes once every so many years properly destroying a discarded hard drive.
I don't know that there is downside, since recycling apparently can be done no matter how physically damaged a drive is. But why not extend the concept to crushing and melting down a car you want to replace with a new model? How can you be absolutely certain you wiped that garage door opener code from your car? How about that tiny slip of paper with your account number on it that might have slipped under the carpet or into a crevice that you didn't notice? Better to be safe, no?


Sorry, I just don't think that's an apples to apples analogy. We all have different assessments of risk, I would argue a hard drive can be the "keys to the kingdom" for many people. Somebody getting into my garage under absurd circumstances is not. You can get into my house with a rock through the window, yet I still lock my doors.

I have a family member for instance that literally has a file on his computer labeled "passwords" with every password to every financial account on their computer. He's also somewhat senile, somebody could clean him out and he'd never know.

If it was a bit outlay of money or time, I could see taking issue with it, but this is like saying it's too much trouble to say put something through a paper shredder. Even if it's rare, people do go through trash to find this information. A functioning hard drive in a trash can could lead to the same result. Why not take a few seconds and just destroy it? But nobody is being forced to do any of this if you don't want to.
People here aren't talking about taking "a few seconds"; they're talking about extraordinarily destructive measures: torches, bullets, melting in a furnace. A "few seconds" would be starting a procedure to wipe the drive and leaving it to run, then taking the drive to recycle. All this discussion is about the opportunity for data loss between between wiping the drive and recycling it (or during the recycling process.)

Do you really think someone forgetting to erase the garage door code from their car (and then forgetting to reset the code on their opener) is less likely than a criminal extracting data from a properly-wiped hard drive? For most of us the garage is probably half the line of defense for all the data in our houses, and many of us actually keep data (including in the form of hard drives) in our garages.

This was your quote
tibbitts wrote: Wed Jul 29, 2020 8:57 am I don't understand what information people have on their computers that they're so concerned about.
I don't feel comfortable destroying electronics by hammering, drilling, etc. - it just makes me sad.

Smacking something with a hammer or putting a drill bit through is not a big deal, it's like 10 seconds. You can retrieve data that's been simply erased, that's the equivalent of tearing a piece of paper in half instead of shredding it. There's software though and other means I would be comfortable using without destroying it, but most people just want the extra insurance, aren't very technically proficient, and it has no cost.

The things like shooting bullet is just more for the fun of it, I don't think anyone really believes that's the only effective or efficient way to deal with it.

The analogy to selling a car and your garage door opener, sorry, but it's a silly comparison. I shred important documents before throwing them away even though you could make the case I'm vulnerable to a break in before I shred them. I guess we just don't see eye to eye and your time is way more valuable than mine. I understand there's always other vulnerabilities, but if I can easily deal with one, I will.
tibbitts
Posts: 11969
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 6:50 pm

Re: Need to destroy old external Hard Drives

Post by tibbitts »

palanzo wrote: Thu Jul 30, 2020 2:11 pm
tibbitts wrote: Thu Jul 30, 2020 1:18 pm
illumination wrote: Thu Jul 30, 2020 12:49 pm
tibbitts wrote: Thu Jul 30, 2020 12:13 pm
illumination wrote: Thu Jul 30, 2020 11:30 am


I don't think this is where the majority of identity theft occurs and it's probably overly cautious, but I absolutely have all sorts of electronic copies of things like my tax returns on a hard drive that someone could have a field day with.

I went through someone stealing my identity and actually file a fraudulent tax return in my name to get the refund. It was absolute mess that took years to straighten out. I actually believe my "old" accountant did not have proper cyber security and they hacked into his files.

Years ago, my wife made the mistake of mailing a check and placing it in our mailbox the night before, someone came by and stole it, made copies and started writing bogus checks off of it.

Identity theft and fraud like this is an epidemic, and people now keep their "life" on their computers. I don't think there's much downside someone spending a few minutes once every so many years properly destroying a discarded hard drive.
I don't know that there is downside, since recycling apparently can be done no matter how physically damaged a drive is. But why not extend the concept to crushing and melting down a car you want to replace with a new model? How can you be absolutely certain you wiped that garage door opener code from your car? How about that tiny slip of paper with your account number on it that might have slipped under the carpet or into a crevice that you didn't notice? Better to be safe, no?


Sorry, I just don't think that's an apples to apples analogy. We all have different assessments of risk, I would argue a hard drive can be the "keys to the kingdom" for many people. Somebody getting into my garage under absurd circumstances is not. You can get into my house with a rock through the window, yet I still lock my doors.

I have a family member for instance that literally has a file on his computer labeled "passwords" with every password to every financial account on their computer. He's also somewhat senile, somebody could clean him out and he'd never know.

If it was a bit outlay of money or time, I could see taking issue with it, but this is like saying it's too much trouble to say put something through a paper shredder. Even if it's rare, people do go through trash to find this information. A functioning hard drive in a trash can could lead to the same result. Why not take a few seconds and just destroy it? But nobody is being forced to do any of this if you don't want to.
People here aren't talking about taking "a few seconds"; they're talking about extraordinarily destructive measures: torches, bullets, melting in a furnace. A "few seconds" would be starting a procedure to wipe the drive and leaving it to run, then taking the drive to recycle. All this discussion is about the opportunity for data loss between between wiping the drive and recycling it (or during the recycling process.)

Do you really think someone forgetting to erase the garage door code from their car (and then forgetting to reset the code on their opener) is less likely than a criminal extracting data from a properly-wiped hard drive? For most of us the garage is probably half the line of defense for all the data in our houses, and many of us actually keep data (including in the form of hard drives) in our garages.
Most people don't know how to securely delete the data on a hard drive. If you are interested search for the security papers on the recovery of data from drives that were "wiped" and then sold on eBay.
I agree that this is a problem, but the weakness in the studies/reports I've seen is that the ebay or craigslist(!) sellers, generally individuals or small or very small businesses, "claimed" the drives had been wiped. Well, the dealers I bought my manufacturer-certified cars from claimed to have performed oil changes on them to, but in 66% of the cases hadn't. With the drive sellers, you have not just the intent to wipe the drive that might be missing (as was the case with the car dealers I'm sure), but also the knowledge/skill that could be deficient.

My guess is that every Boglehead who uses an external drive or replaces his/her own internal hard drive is fully capable of properly destroying the data on a drive without physically destroying the device, as long as the drive is still operational.
oldfort
Posts: 1759
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2020 8:45 pm

Re: Need to destroy old external Hard Drives

Post by oldfort »

000 wrote: Wed Jul 29, 2020 11:02 pm
shess wrote: Wed Jul 29, 2020 11:00 pm
000 wrote: Wed Jul 29, 2020 8:52 pm Lot of bad suggestions here.

Exercise for the reader: how does smashing the platter change the magnetic orientation of the bits on them?
Running a scrubber over the data means that only a few corporations or government agencies could plausibly extract anything. Using a hammer is more fun!

The core problem this thread ignores is "What is the threat model?" If the threat model is that Jeff Bezos or Mossad is coming for your old hard drives, you are truly screwed and asking the wrong question. If your threat model is that Joe down at the electronics recycling center has a side gig harvesting credit card numbers off of hard drives, then taking a pliers to the SATA or IDE connector is all you really need to do.

Personally, I've had enough hard drives die in use (precluding scrubbing) that I started just encrypting my volumes, which also works for SSDs. Forget the key and they are unrecoverable, end of story.
The OP did not mention their threat model. The suggestion that a hammer will destroy the underlying data is false, hence my post.
The OP did not mention whether their threat model included being kidnapped and tortured for their password either. I bet the OP has greater odds of being kidnapped than someone attempting to read the magnetic orientation of the bits on a hard drive sent to recycling. Sometimes, these discussions truly trend in the tin-foil hat direction.
Normchad
Posts: 1323
Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2011 7:20 am

Re: Need to destroy old external Hard Drives

Post by Normchad »

I truly love the idea of bad state actors collecting my drives out of the trash. I picture them piecing platters back together, figuring out the destroyer sectormap. Spending countless hours and money,only to fully recover the incredibly boring contents if my life.

Hundreds of accidental pictures of my feet, my parking spot number in various airports, etc.

I encourage them to do it.....
000
Posts: 2842
Joined: Thu Jul 23, 2020 12:04 am

Re: Need to destroy old external Hard Drives

Post by 000 »

To those who play cybersecurity expert on the internet -- we don't know what new technologies will exist in the future that may make data recovery from hard drives even easier than it is today.

Avoiding performing a software wipe because "it takes too long" and "a hammer is enough" is IMO irresponsible advice. Whether degaussing or other advanced physical destruction techniques are warranted is something for the OP to answer for himself.
toast0
Posts: 150
Joined: Fri Dec 12, 2014 1:41 am
Location: Puget Sound

Re: Need to destroy old external Hard Drives

Post by toast0 »

000 wrote: Wed Jul 29, 2020 8:52 pm Lot of bad suggestions here.

Exercise for the reader: how does smashing the platter change the magnetic orientation of the bits on them?
Hitting a magnetized piece of metal randomizes the magnetic domains and demagnetizes it. Hammering the platters directly could plausibly randomize the magnetic domains. Assuming the platter doesn't shatter, bending it will make it hard to use. I don't know how plausible it is for hammering the case of the drive to randomize the magnetic domains; but you would probably damage the heads anyway. That said, if I were going for physical destruction, I think shredding, puncturing, or baking seem like the least effort for most destruction.
oldfort
Posts: 1759
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2020 8:45 pm

Re: Need to destroy old external Hard Drives

Post by oldfort »

000 wrote: Thu Jul 30, 2020 5:22 pm To those who play cybersecurity expert on the internet -- we don't know what new technologies will exist in the future that may make data recovery from hard drives even easier than it is today.

Avoiding performing a software wipe because "it takes too long" and "a hammer is enough" is IMO irresponsible advice. Whether degaussing or other advanced physical destruction techniques are warranted is something for the OP to answer for himself.
Software wipes are reasonable and in a lot of ways easier than a hammer. Worrying someone might warehouse your used hard drive for thirty years instead of turning it into scrap metal waiting for some new technology to allow them to get what, your SSN isn't.
000
Posts: 2842
Joined: Thu Jul 23, 2020 12:04 am

Re: Need to destroy old external Hard Drives

Post by 000 »

oldfort wrote: Thu Jul 30, 2020 5:40 pm Worrying someone might warehouse your used hard drive for thirty years instead of turning it into scrap metal waiting for some new technology to allow them to get what, your SSN isn't.
I have not suggested this will happen. But future junk pickers might find your old hard drive. As with all risk/reward questions, each person needs to decide on their own what will be best for them.
Normchad
Posts: 1323
Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2011 7:20 am

Re: Need to destroy old external Hard Drives

Post by Normchad »

I will personally buy a super delicious Taco Bell dinner for the first person that PMs me, and recovers the data from the SSD I mail to their home.
livesoft
Posts: 73369
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 8:00 pm

Re: Need to destroy old external Hard Drives

Post by livesoft »

Many of these ideas look like work and no fun. Would driving over them a couple of times be enough to break them up enough?
Wiki This signature message sponsored by sscritic: Learn to fish.
rgs92
Posts: 2781
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2009 8:00 pm

Re: Need to destroy old external Hard Drives

Post by rgs92 »

I would just format the drives if you can get them working.
User avatar
Rowan Oak
Posts: 668
Joined: Mon May 09, 2016 2:11 pm
Location: Yoknapatawpha

Re: Need to destroy old external Hard Drives

Post by Rowan Oak »

BolderBoy wrote: Wed Jul 29, 2020 11:34 am
vitaflo wrote: Wed Jul 29, 2020 10:40 amHonestly all you need to do is encrypt the drive with a randomly long password. No need to destroy it. Nobody's going to get the data off it.
+1. I've been doing it this way for years.
And for SSDs (solid state drives) encryption is a critical step since "wiping" the drive by writing random 1s and 0s isn't enough.

A fairly secure method is first encrypting the entire drive then deleting all data on the drive then encrypt the drive again using a different password never keeping a record of the encryption keys/passwords.

Consider using strong encryption passwords such as these:

64 random hexadecimal characters (0-9 and A-F):
1FBF8998E3D2A2E059CF17ED030A6ADE4801EF8EFA7C9044381CE6567443B6A5

63 random printable ASCII characters:
2]h^?`xokvWe^o&8z>g5O3.?[6-|=>yqYUR7,kYV^4*n7Y"95ZJPrG{{q"MqP,B

63 random alpha-numeric characters (a-z, A-Z, 0-9):
MEliqnpKCoxOvIBtGwF0M7RrosdzL0jwZq3jbCvUmwMmPFAYbBpLwQawQE4X6gS
“If you can get good at destroying your own wrong ideas, that is a great gift.” – Charlie Munger
oldfort
Posts: 1759
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2020 8:45 pm

Re: Need to destroy old external Hard Drives

Post by oldfort »

000 wrote: Thu Jul 30, 2020 5:43 pm
oldfort wrote: Thu Jul 30, 2020 5:40 pm Worrying someone might warehouse your used hard drive for thirty years instead of turning it into scrap metal waiting for some new technology to allow them to get what, your SSN isn't.
I have not suggested this will happen. But future junk pickers might find your old hard drive. As with all risk/reward questions, each person needs to decide on their own what will be best for them.
What's left to find after recycling? What hasn't been reused, melted down, pulverized, or shredded and mixed together with a thousand other hard drives by the time the recycling process is finished?
000
Posts: 2842
Joined: Thu Jul 23, 2020 12:04 am

Re: Need to destroy old external Hard Drives

Post by 000 »

oldfort wrote: Thu Jul 30, 2020 8:16 pm
000 wrote: Thu Jul 30, 2020 5:43 pm
oldfort wrote: Thu Jul 30, 2020 5:40 pm Worrying someone might warehouse your used hard drive for thirty years instead of turning it into scrap metal waiting for some new technology to allow them to get what, your SSN isn't.
I have not suggested this will happen. But future junk pickers might find your old hard drive. As with all risk/reward questions, each person needs to decide on their own what will be best for them.
What's left to find after recycling? What hasn't been reused, melted down, pulverized, or shredded and mixed together with a thousand other hard drives by the time the recycling process is finished?
You need to do more research on what some of these "recycling" places are doing...
oldfort
Posts: 1759
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2020 8:45 pm

Re: Need to destroy old external Hard Drives

Post by oldfort »

000 wrote: Thu Jul 30, 2020 8:17 pm
oldfort wrote: Thu Jul 30, 2020 8:16 pm
000 wrote: Thu Jul 30, 2020 5:43 pm
oldfort wrote: Thu Jul 30, 2020 5:40 pm Worrying someone might warehouse your used hard drive for thirty years instead of turning it into scrap metal waiting for some new technology to allow them to get what, your SSN isn't.
I have not suggested this will happen. But future junk pickers might find your old hard drive. As with all risk/reward questions, each person needs to decide on their own what will be best for them.
What's left to find after recycling? What hasn't been reused, melted down, pulverized, or shredded and mixed together with a thousand other hard drives by the time the recycling process is finished?
You need to do more research on what some of these "recycling" places are doing...
Have you ever done what you're talking about, gone to a landfill, grab some random hard drive, which has been sitting there 15 years, and successfully gotten useful data off of it?
000
Posts: 2842
Joined: Thu Jul 23, 2020 12:04 am

Re: Need to destroy old external Hard Drives

Post by 000 »

oldfort wrote: Thu Jul 30, 2020 8:20 pm
000 wrote: Thu Jul 30, 2020 8:17 pm
oldfort wrote: Thu Jul 30, 2020 8:16 pm
000 wrote: Thu Jul 30, 2020 5:43 pm
oldfort wrote: Thu Jul 30, 2020 5:40 pm Worrying someone might warehouse your used hard drive for thirty years instead of turning it into scrap metal waiting for some new technology to allow them to get what, your SSN isn't.
I have not suggested this will happen. But future junk pickers might find your old hard drive. As with all risk/reward questions, each person needs to decide on their own what will be best for them.
What's left to find after recycling? What hasn't been reused, melted down, pulverized, or shredded and mixed together with a thousand other hard drives by the time the recycling process is finished?
You need to do more research on what some of these "recycling" places are doing...
Have you ever done what you're talking about, gone to a landfill, grab some random hard drive, which has been sitting there 15 years, and successfully gotten useful data off of it?
No, but I have posted in this thread to educate about some risks that were being ignored.
oldfort
Posts: 1759
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2020 8:45 pm

Re: Need to destroy old external Hard Drives

Post by oldfort »

000 wrote: Thu Jul 30, 2020 8:21 pm
oldfort wrote: Thu Jul 30, 2020 8:20 pm
000 wrote: Thu Jul 30, 2020 8:17 pm
oldfort wrote: Thu Jul 30, 2020 8:16 pm
000 wrote: Thu Jul 30, 2020 5:43 pm

I have not suggested this will happen. But future junk pickers might find your old hard drive. As with all risk/reward questions, each person needs to decide on their own what will be best for them.
What's left to find after recycling? What hasn't been reused, melted down, pulverized, or shredded and mixed together with a thousand other hard drives by the time the recycling process is finished?
You need to do more research on what some of these "recycling" places are doing...
Have you ever done what you're talking about, gone to a landfill, grab some random hard drive, which has been sitting there 15 years, and successfully gotten useful data off of it?
No, but I have posted in this thread to educate about some risks that were being ignored.
So in other words, you're talking about some hypothetical risk, which you can't even prove is technically feasible? If you're going this far down the rabbit hole of paranoia, you should be equally concerned about whether a random criminal has broken into your house, and planted hidden cameras which record you typing in your password. We know that's a lot more technically feasible than trying to recover data off a hard drive, which has been smashed with a hammer, sent to a recycling center, and then had its remnants buried in a landfill for ten years.
Post Reply