If data has to be destroyed in a hurry, do it properly (and consult multiple ‘experts’?)

21. August 2013 Security 1

WasteYou are looking at the busted up parts of at least two different computers. Two of them appear to be MacBook Pro logic boards with their chips and other components severely damaged by angle grinders and other tools. This was done just a few days ago by The Guardian in London to get rid of sensitive data, read the full story here.

So, trashing whole computer systems and computer parts that have nothing to do with data storage, causing many thousands of dollars in damage, sure that’s one way to get rid of it. In this case a “top computer expert” was present so this baffles me even more. I am sincerely hoping that this was done as per the instruction of the agents overseeing this operation and probably has an element of show in it but this to me is like destroying your mouse to get rid of a virus. If the “top computer expert” pointed this out or objected in any way The Guardian should point out this fact as this makes them, and specially their ‘expert’, look like complete idiots. It would have been best to keep this particular photo from being published (or at least take the graphics card out. Really? Grinding up a graphics card to destroy data?!?!)

Sure, your computer has many chips and components that your data travels through but it is not stored anywhere apart from the hard drive. Your RAM is cleared as soon as you power down, caches are cleared and every other piece, part or component is blank because it is not designed to store data, just transport it. If the mission is to destroy every part that has ever been in contact with your data (though I can not think of any reason other than insanity that would require this) then go at it like they did at The Guardian (I hope they didn’t forget to cut up those dangerous SATA cables or PCI busses!).

Assuming you do not have time for a secure wipe and/or your data is stored on a flash drive or solid state drive, you do not have to smash up your computer. Take your computer apart to get to the storage media (HDD or SSD), take it out and smash it with a hammer, grind it down, dip it in acid or shoot it with a rifle. Your data will be gone, really. You’ll have to spend cash on new drives but guess what, you saved yourself a few grand by not overreacting.

1 thought on “If data has to be destroyed in a hurry, do it properly (and consult multiple ‘experts’?)”

  • 1
    Aliki on August 26, 2013 Reply

    Can anyone say overkill?

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