The four methods to destroy hard disks are listed here, together with their respective pros and cons. As well as the reason why the degausser is not a good option.
Demagnetiser – also known as degausser
Unfortunately, degaussing does not work. It sounds so simple. You take a giant electromagnet, put your hard disk inside and you are done. And we call it a degausser. The hard disk manufacturers, however, have ensured that magnetic disks are protected by something called a Faraday cage. This enclosure protects the place where the disks storing information is located from all kinds of radiation. The manufacturer of the degausser promises that HIS degausser is actually strong enough and reliable. But you can never really be sure. Back-up tapes, VHS tapes, and bank cards seem to be more appropriate media to erase using a degausser, but even then there are no guarantees. A number of experiments in our data security centre in Uden have confirmed this. It is true that a hard disk will fail immediately if even held near a degausser. However, this is because the electronics, which are outside the Faraday cage, are damaged by the magnetic field. If you simply replace the circuit board, the hard disk works as if it were new, and all the data will still be in place! Conclusion: degausser does not work.
Burning or melting
This method works perfectly of course, provided the temperature is high enough. It is impossible to carry it out on-site, but that can be solved by transporting the data carriers to the incinerator in an armoured car with plenty of police protection and a massive display of power. The very high costs and extremely harmful environmental effects mean that this method is not used very often. It is definitely effective!
Data destruction software
The big advantage of permanent deletion of data with software is that the hard disk is not damaged and the computer can simply be re-used afterwards. Furthermore, it is a very safe method, provided it is applied correctly. Only software that overwrites the entire disk with random strings of binary codes can truly erase information from the hard disk.
Much better than a wipe program is a hard disk sanitizer.
All wipe software programs have in common that the disk is wiped while it is still active inside a system. Research conducted by IT-recycling shows that there are instances where pieces of the hard disk are not wiped because activities are taking place in the system over which the wipe software apparently has no control. We use a hard disk sanitizer. This is a piece of equipment in which you can insert a large number of hard disks, and subsequently they will all be fundamentally overwritten simultaneously. Wiping with a sanitizer is much more thoro
ugh than any kind of software could achieve
. A disadvantage of the sanitizer: it is an extremely expensive piece of equipment. This is the reason why all of our colleagues are still using software, even if it is less secure. The photo shows IT-recycling’s hard disk in action.
Physical destruction of the hard disk
The major drawback is that the hard disk is lost and the computer in which it was installed loses its value. We have been able to admire plenty of attractive devices on the internet that physical destroy hard dis
ks. One might drill a hole in it, others might fold the disk in half. There are accessories on the market that can push the motor out of a hard disk. All these amateur
ish gadgets ar
e more or less transportable. However creative they may be, all of these devices offer a false sense of security. A damaged hard disk, whether it has a hole in it, is bent or lacks a motor, it can still be read. You should look at it as though it was paper information. If you crumple or tear up a paper document, that doesn’t mean it is gone. In order to truly destroy information a hard disk must be in pieces, very small pieces. And oh yes… there was also a piece of equipment that ingeniously cut away a small piece of a hard disk at a time. This machine was very expensive and as slow as it was unreliable. A shredder, on the other hand, works perfectly. A shredder is like a giant coffee grinder, grinding the hard disk. A shredder provides total security, provided it crushes finely enough. Normally, a shredder is an enormous machine that cannot be brought to another location. This means the hard disks must be brought to the shredder, which involves security risks.
It is best for the shredder to be brought to the hard disks. We can do this with IT-recycling’s mobile hard disk shredder.