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Data Storage Power

Erasing CDs By Using 150,000 Volts of Electricity 242

ryzvonusef writes "One enterprising individual has created the most secure way to wipe out Compact Discs, by using a step-up transformer and creating a 150,000 Volt pd, whilst a CD rotates in the middle. The sparks arc through the metal in the CD and evaporates it, ripping it all off as the CD rotates. The CD is rendered transparent and unreadable. This may be the most secure method to remove data on conventional recordable CDs used in offices."

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Erasing CDs By Using 150,000 Volts of Electricity

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  • Microwave (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @05:36PM (#35873930)

    Does a thorough enough job, almost everyone has one on hand, takes but 2 seconds an

    • by torgis ( 840592 )
      +1 for the microwave. While big sparkly arcs of electricity has definite nerd appeal, you can thoroughly destroy a CD with 5 seconds in a microwave.
  • Microwave (Score:5, Insightful)

    by yogidog98 ( 1800862 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @05:36PM (#35873940)

    Science geeks have been doing this for years with microwave ovens; though, it was more for the cool light show than for data security.

  • Erased by lightning... it's Alive!! ^H^H^H^H erased!!
  • 150,000 volt transformer? Ah, now the ball’s in Farnsworth’s court. I suppose I could part with one and still be feared.

    • I have students that build tesla coils for extra credit projects every year or two, and have built one myself just for the fun of the big sparks. They generate ballpark of 150 kV at the top, and putting a CD on top so that you could watch the lightning arc out of it and craze the plastic and underlying metal was great fun. Naturally, at that voltage the plastic isn't exactly an insulator, so you get fractal lightning patterns almost instantly through the metal.

      However, I wouldn't think of this as a way
  • What, throwing it in fire wouldn't have worked?

  • by mrbcs ( 737902 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @05:38PM (#35873956)
    Just break the damn things.
    • by Hatta ( 162192 )

      What's the fun in that?

    • by cdrguru ( 88047 )

      Someone not too long ago thought that would work. The US Secret Service broke in on them and from across the room the guy said "You aren't getting this one!" and broke a disc in half.

      The Secret Service called us and asked what could they do? We told them a couple of interesting techniques for putting a snapped disc back together and sent them a trial version of our software to assist with the task. An hour later they called back and ordered four copies of the software and never said another word about wh

  • It's certainly cheaper.
    • by Plekto ( 1018050 )

      Beat me to it. The important surface on a CD is the "side" with the label on it. A few seconds with sandpaper does very easily solve any issues. Note - with something more complex like a dual-layer DVD, you have to destroy the actual disc to get at the second layer.

      Nice (expensive) toy, but destroying CDs is stupidly easy.

  • That... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AlienIntelligence ( 1184493 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @05:42PM (#35874006)

    That... was one of the coolest electricity displays I've seen in a long time.

    Ta heck with what it does, lol


  • wha? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Charliemopps ( 1157495 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @05:43PM (#35874014)
    Most secure? My ass...
    The microwave
    A Fire
    Paper shredder
    This is just an expensive toy
    • by ZosX ( 517789 )

      lots of ways to destroy a plastic disc with metallic coating. i kind of agree. there is the relative small risk in shreading that they can somehow reconstruct a disc, but even then they wouldn't have anything near a complete image. nope, i'd say about 3-5 seconds in the microwave is about the quickest and easiest way to nuke a cd.

    • A Fire

      A friend of mine lost his house in the 2009 brushfires here in Victoria. He had a fantastic and very valuable music collection. After the fire he went back with his partner and looked through the wreckage. They found nothing remotely resembling a CD.

    • by kikito ( 971480 )

      I use my bare hands. Feels very macho.

    • by cdrguru ( 88047 )

      Fire isn't all that great unless you really get the disc up beyond the glass point of polycarbonate, which is around 230C. You can degrade the dye of recordable discs starting at 120F, but that isn't going to assure unreadability.

      Turning the disc into a bent, folded mess is OK, but unless you go that far it isn't going to work.

      Some folks had a fire and we were called on to evaluate the readability of the discs. Of the 30 or so they sent us, all but two were fine, even one with clear smoke damage to it. T

  • Seems an oddly complicated way to do it. Just put it in the oven at 350 F for a few minutes. (175 C, for the metric users).

  • Who doesn't have even a cheap shredder? Even my $40 OfficeMax shredder turns CDs into .125" pieces. Need more than that? A DoD shredder for Secret and above turns them into CD dust.
  • by Zorpheus ( 857617 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @05:47PM (#35874084)
    Of course you can not read a CD if the reflective metal layer is removed. But the data is stored in tiny pits that are printed into the polycarbonate layer. If the polycarbonate is not damaged too much, the CD might be readable when a new metal layer is applied.
  • Just set up a board on some trees(or find a nice wooden fence) nail a bunch of CDs up there, and go to town with some deer slugs or other high caliber ammunition. Or, if it's almost duck, dove, or quail season, put the CDs in their cases and you have yourself some free skeet.
  • Or do what I do. Rub it face down on the concrete, like the sidewalk.
  • by Fry-kun ( 619632 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @05:53PM (#35874138)

    The metallic reflective layer is NOT where the information is stored, it just aids in the information retrieval. In other words, this method might not destroy the data at all. It's true that it's pretty hard to get the data back, but depending on various conditions it may not be impossible.

    • The metallic reflective layer is NOT where the information is stored, it just aids in the information retrieval. In other words, this method might not destroy the data at all. It's true that it's pretty hard to get the data back, but depending on various conditions it may not be impossible.

      Indeed, I can imagine a CD data-recovery player in the future that analyzes non-reflective surfaces with high-resolution lasers or other imaging, just to recover data from aged CDs. Kind of like the laser-based record-players today. And I imagine such a player available at consumer prices.

    • This is true for a manufactured CD. The data will be actually encoded using physical bumps. But for recordable CDs which are typically the only type where you care about erasing, the sparks or microwave should do a good job of messing things up.

  • Most secure (Score:5, Funny)

    by kaoshin ( 110328 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @05:54PM (#35874148)
    The most secure way to destroy CDs is either dissolving in acid or loaning them to my boss. I promise, you'd never see it again.
    • You can get most of the information from your bosses Youtube and Flickr account. And he'd like to see you in his office about what couldn't be posted on those sites.
  • by reboot246 ( 623534 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @05:55PM (#35874158) Homepage
    Just give it to a three year old to play with for a while. Even the NSA wouldn't be able to get any data off of it!
  • Its polycarb plastic, right? Expose it to a chlorinated solvent and it'll craze and crumble, kinda de-polymerize itself. Breathing the vapors is inadvisable.

  • Skeet Shoot
  • I'm no chemistry whiz, but wouldn't this result in a lot of vaporized aluminum in the air ? Doesn't sound so great for the old lungs, no...

  • I've used one of these for years in a SCIF. []
  • "...This may be the most secure method to remove data on conventional recordable CDs used in offices."

    Sure, this may be "the" most secure method, but there are plenty of other methods that fall easily into the category of "good enough" (microwaves, shredders, even breaking apart by hand). Kudos for the geek factor with all this, but realistically this is a solution without a problem.

    • Just watch as I re-extract half of all the data from every CD that the device has ever wiped from what was electroplated back onto the cathode...Secure, my butt!

  • by U8MyData ( 1281010 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @06:13PM (#35874328)
    Is it only me or does this remind some of the Emperor's line, "Now you will witness the full power of the Dark Side!"
  • At my old job we bought a decent cd shredder. I think that pulling data off of hundreds of little bits of CD would be pretty secure.

  • by NicknamesAreStupid ( 1040118 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @07:12PM (#35874894)
    Plasma gasification, after a few seconds at 14,000C, there is not much left. Even works with BluRay(R), and you do not have to pay Sony.
  • Would that help with recycling CDs and single-layer DVDs?

  • Is pretty damned effective since the plastic shatters as it is cut ( unlike paper ). And if that isn't enough for you, burn what is left over a open fire, with some marshmallows.

The last thing one knows in constructing a work is what to put first. -- Blaise Pascal