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Data Storage The Military Hardware IT

Where Old Hard Disks (with Digital Secrets) Go To Die 128

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Justin George writes at McClatchy that in a 20,000-square-foot warehouse, where visitors are required to trade in a driver's license for a visitor's badge, some of the nation's secrets are torn apart, reduced to sand or demagnetized until they are forever silent. Need to destroy a rugged Toughbook laptop that might have been used in war? E-End will use a high-powered magnetic process known as degaussing to erase its hard drive of any memory. A computer monitor that might have some top-secret images left on it? Crushed and ground into recyclable glass. Laser sights for weapons? Torn into tiny shards of metal. "We make things go away," says Arleen Chafitz, owner and CEO of e-End Secure Data Sanitization and Electronics Recycling, a company with sixteen employees that destroys hard drives, computers, monitors, phones and other sensitive equipment that governments and corporations don't want in the wrong hands. Chafitz say the information technology departments at typical companies might not have the proper tools or training to adequately dispose of data. IT departments focus on fixing and restoring data, they say, while data-wiping companies focus on just the opposite."
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Where Old Hard Disks (with Digital Secrets) Go To Die

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  • by ffkom ( 3519199 ) on Saturday February 01, 2014 @09:34AM (#46127757)
    Using encryption not only saves you effort when the harddisk dies after years, it also provides security benefits during the drives lifetime and makes warranty-exchanges of young defect drives painless.
  • Jump The Shark (Score:5, Insightful)

    by retroworks ( 652802 ) on Saturday February 01, 2014 @09:43AM (#46127791) Homepage Journal

    Data destruction industry has finally "jumped the shark" with the posting of the Guardian Newspaper's hard drive destruction just a few hours ago. This sales pitch shows the billion dollar industry behind selling insurance to people afraid of digital losses via old hardware. []

    Identity theft and trade secret losses are real, very real risks. But physically destroying hardware is to data protections as toilet paper on the loo lid is to AIDS prevention. The real threats are phishing (getting employees to log in credentials on fake websites), and loss of active PCs (theft of laptops from the back of cars), and the new credit-card swiping devices used at Target stores are the actual risks.

    I have heard the argument that physically destroying the disks eliminates the potential for bad apple employees to skirt the wiping of disks, and that with physical destruction you really control human error. I say bullhockey. When I have a staffer wiping disks, I can inventory the disks and randomly sample them to see if the data has been erased, and replace the staffer if necessary. If the drives are thrown in a mechanical shredder, how do I know a PARTICULAR drive was thrown in the shredder? How will I ever catch the bad apple? Try sifting through the scrap fluff for serial numbers to make sure the right one went through the machine.

    The big opportunity is "digital haystacks", putting randomized and false data out, especially metadata. If enough bad data written on to drives, it has the added benefit of wasting the time of Russian hackers who have too much of it on their hands.

  • by the_skywise ( 189793 ) on Saturday February 01, 2014 @09:47AM (#46127803)

    Yeah I was about to post the same question.

    But given the over-explanation for degaussing maybe it's something as simple as burn-in on old CRT monitors that did status displays for weapons panels/nuclear reactors, etc; ?

  • Reminder (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 01, 2014 @10:14AM (#46127871)

    It is rude to randomly redirect visitors to beta.slashdot.
    Even more so because beta sucks.

    Providing a hard to find opt-out, adding /?nobeta=1 to the url, just upgrades the aggravation level from "rude" to "insulting and infuriating".
    The only acceptable option is, as always, opt-in.

    I guess you need reminding. a lot.

  • Disgusting. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Saturday February 01, 2014 @11:33AM (#46128251) Homepage

    A lot of us firearm enthusiasts would love to buy used some of those military gun sights. I cant afford a $7800 laser sight, so they just destroy it to protect the manufacturer's high price point. It's why we dumped tens of thousands of Jeeps into the ocean instead of allowing Americans to buy them surplus, it would drive down the price of new cars and we cant have rich people making less money.

"It takes all sorts of in & out-door schooling to get adapted to my kind of fooling" - R. Frost