Used Hard Drives Offer Treasure Trove Of Private Information

Discussion in 'privacy general' started by ronjor, Feb 20, 2007.

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  1. ronjor

    ronjor Global Moderator

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    Story
     
  2. nadirah

    nadirah Registered Member

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    Interesting.
    Yet most administrators are too secretive.
     
  3. trickyricky

    trickyricky Registered Member

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    Whenever I replace a hard drive, I always put a hammer through it.

    If I clean up a working PC for recycling, I clean the drive completely with DBAN and then put an OS (Windows or Linux) back.
     
  4. ccsito

    ccsito Registered Member

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    I guess all of that is on one of my hard drives. :D :eek: :p :oops: :-* :gack:
     
  5. Seer

    Seer Registered Member

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    I'm afraid that won't do. You can DBAN HD and overwrite it to hell and back. Or, you can take a real hammer and put a few nails throught it, but that won't do either. Forensics use electronic microscopes and whatnot, do not expect to hide from that. Of course, it's imposible to recover the data completely, but advanced forensic methods can give you a clear hint what was on the magnetic media. Technology that forensics are using seems to be in a very different league from the software or hardware we are using in our homes. And that's quite alright, we are the average Joes and they are the forensic experts. I'm no forensic expert of course, but recently I read something about that, I think there was a thread somewhere here on Wilders (with various links) dealing with the same thematic.
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2007
  6. trickyricky

    trickyricky Registered Member

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    When I said I use Dban on a PC which was to be recycled, I didn't mean that the recycled PC was going to the Pentagon or MI5. Usually, these organisations buy new PCs and not second-hand ones on the cheap.

    Most people who buy or inherit recycled PCs won't have access to advanced forensic tools, so the old data on the hard disk is safe from them. If they, on the other hand, take part in some nefarious activity which falls foul of the intelligence services, then that's their worry - any old data recovered in such a case won't be relevant as it relates to a previous owner, so will most likely be discarded.

    Everything needs to be kept in perspective.
     
  7. Seer

    Seer Registered Member

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    Hello trickyricky.

    Sorry man, my bad, I know my explanation was a bit extreme regarding your quote, but ronjor posted a quote which stated "forensic experts", so I believe I was really replying to that.

    :)
     
  8. mercurie

    mercurie A Friendly Creature

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    I hear alot about using magnetics. I know it rearranges the data some how but explain that one to me? :doubt:

    My child plays with my old HD from an old pre windows 95 system it has old version of Quicken checks and the like. Maybe I better go find that. Even if it did die, I am sure the data is there.
     
  9. Seer

    Seer Registered Member

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    Hello mercurie.

    You will need to ask some Ph.D in physics for a proper explanation. But I'll put my 2c. Hard disk is a magnetized metal plate(s) as you know, capable of demagnetizing and remagnetizing again. On a magnetized surface, the smallest possible unit that can be magnetized is called flux. The last time the new HD is going to be absolutely demagnetized is in the factory before "fluxing". The disk MUST be "fluxed" in order to be usable at all. So the only way to absolutely destroy all data from a HD would be to absolutely destroy every flux on it, and leave a bare metal plate. Little pieces of fragments of your data are in those fluxes, and electronic microscopes can see fluxes. And here's my another 2c: in my opinion, the only way to utterly destroy ALL fluxes theoretically would be to put your HDD in front of such stong magnet which will drain every flux from HDD to the last one. But that would have to be veeery strong magnet, certainly nothing from your neighborhood ;) . Now, we are not talking here of "zeros" and "ones", this is much lower level. Low Level Formats and DBAN techniques don't work with fluxes. Hope I was of some help.

    Regards.

    EDIT: I have a friend who works for Western Digital. He has a Ph.D in electronics, and a few years ago he explained that to me in regular terms. This is my raw recollection.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2007
  10. Seer

    Seer Registered Member

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    Hello again.

    This is from wiki, a definition of flux

    Pure physics, there are some equations there also o_O o_O o_O (me clueless). The only thing I get is a "scalar quantity" nature which I believe is referred to flux's ability to be changeable, so positively (1) or negatively (0) oriented. But this thread is slowly heading out of Wilders' jurisdiction. Mine for sure.
    Is there a Ph.D around, please? Help here.

    EDIT: Well, I was studying that wiki page and as far as my physics goes, I think I explained that rather correctly but pretty much in caveman terms. :D
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2007
  11. Mrkvonic

    Mrkvonic Linux Systems Expert

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    Hello,

    You don't need PhD to understand a bit of physics.

    Like with most things, nothing is really binary. Therefore, you have thresholds that define: anything below = 0 anything above = 1. This applies for any measurable value, be it current, voltage etc.

    Poynting vector is just a fancy name for the direction in which EM information propagates and it is perpendicular to electric and magnetic fields. Nothing more.

    Now, since this is a vector, if you measure it from a given fixed position, the angle of the vector relative to the measurement point, i.e. it opens a spatial angle - and as we all know, you have the little buggers called sin and cos and they kind of cause the vector's projection to be less than 1 (normalized).

    Here, you decide how much less is 1 and how much less is 0.

    Mrk
     
  12. trickyricky

    trickyricky Registered Member

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    S'ok, no harm done. I was merely clarifying. ;)
     
  13. Seer

    Seer Registered Member

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    Hello Mrkvonic.

    Yes.
    But as I understood, flux is EM vector's integer, not a vector, so it really has a scalar (two-way) characteristics.
    Well, I will stop now, as I can no longer participate in this discussion (underqualified). I believe we got the bits, but for a further digging we should take a few pounds of books and do some thorough reading. :eek:

    My regards. :thumb:

    EDIT: to trickyricky: :thumb:
     
  14. mercurie

    mercurie A Friendly Creature

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    Thanks for the explanation. I remember that "flux" stuff now from school days. O. K. I think I got it now. I indeed think it would take a very strong magnetic charge. I think we are right back to where we started the expense of destroying data this way. ;)
     
  15. Seer

    Seer Registered Member

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    We are right back on the course this thread should've taken in the first place. It's not the point of destructing your data, but to learn how to live in a transparent world. Well, I really don't feel the need to destroy my data, and electronic microscopes and other voyeristic gadgets do not make me feel less secure. our ccsito here in post #4 says it all. If someone wants to waste his time on delving through my old HDDs, well he can be my guest by all means. I believe that the privacy of an individual will very soon become a thing of past if the current technology continues to develop in a way it did in the past 50 years. But as I see, this progress is not following a linear arithmetic equation, but rather a logarithmic one, so the next 50 years will change as much as the past 200 or 300 did. Imagine that. And we don't even have a slightest clue what the next few hundred will bring.
     
  16. Pedro

    Pedro Registered Member

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    Clearly, if i want to destroy my HD, i wouldn't stop with the hammer and nails. Far more creative methods can be applied. From torching and slashing, and even trashing.
    Who in their right minds would try to get info on such HD?
    Of course, what do i know.

    Thank you The_Seer and Mrk for some enlightment:thumb:
     
  17. Seer

    Seer Registered Member

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    :D :D :D :D :D (I am picturing you torching your HDD with a welding mask on right now )

    EDIT: "Excuse me for a while, I have to take my USB torch and welding mask and delete some malware I accidentaly picked."

    :thumb:
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2007
  18. mercurie

    mercurie A Friendly Creature

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    I guess only if they know they have a HD of the rich and famous would they waste such time. Well that means I'm safe. :D
     
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