Laborious Drive Destruction
Can I erase sensitive knowledge on an old exhausting drive with Neodymium Magnets
Can I exploit robust neodymium magnets to erase the recordsdata off my outdated onerous drive How big does the magnet should be How can I make certain that the information is erased Read extra to study our surprising experimental results.
Magnets and Magnetic Media
Neodymium magnets can erase credit playing cards and VHS tapes. The robust magnetic fields produced by these magnets is sufficient to erase or scramble the info. Since onerous drives also retailer their knowledge on magnetic media, you’ll expect related outcomes.
The Experimental Setup
To simplify the experiment, we chose to not strive destroying the data on a tough drive where the working system was operating. We ran the pc solely from the CD drive with DSL, a small Linux operating system. That means, we’d be capable to measure the quantity of data that was scrambled, since our operating system would nonetheless work.
We filled an previous IBM, 30Gb, 7200 RPM, IDE onerous drive with thousands of copies of a textual content file, with the identical line of text repeated a many occasions. A small script was run that looped via all these information, checking the contents of every particular person line.
While this was working, we stuck magnets to the hard drive. Totally different sizes were used, starting from tiny D41 discs to big 2″ RY04Y0DIA magnets. As proven in the image, the magnets were positioned at the top of the spinning disc, properly away from the learn-head. We wished to avoid inflicting any bodily harm to the hard drive by bending/dragging the learn head across it. After the info was scrambled, we nonetheless wished an operable onerous drive to confirm that the info was really gone.
In the end, the goal was to produce a cool video that will really present the errors occurring as a big magnet obtained near the drive. All we needed to do was keep rising the scale of the magnet till it confirmed some errors. It sounded easy sufficient, in concept…
With the hard drive operating, we weren’t able to disrupt the contents of the drive at all. A hundred% of the information have been fully intact and correct. This end result utterly shocked us!
We have been undoubtedly getting some magnetic affect inside the drive. When robust magnets like our RY04Y0DIA had been held close, we might hear mechanical rubbing sounds from the drive, seemingly the result of deflection of the platters. We didn’t go much bigger with the drive operating, for worry of rendering the drive inoperable by mechanically bending elements inside.
The simulation picture at proper exhibits our pair of DX0X8 magnets on both aspect of the disc platters. This pair was chosen based mostly on some studies of what arrangements would produce the strongest subject inside the drive. We hoped that we would be able to a minimum of affect the outermost platters, even when the inner ones may be shielded by them.
A lot of the instructions we have seen say to rub the magnet several occasions throughout the face of the drive. With our association, the drive is actually spinning at 7,200 RPM. We’re fairly certain it is passing over the drive a number of occasions!
We additionally rubbed some very giant magnets, like our 3″ diameter DZ0X8-N52, throughout the onerous drive with the drive turned off. We figured we could use these large magnets with out inflicting mechanical injury when it wasn’t running. When re-checked, the drive still confirmed no errors! None of the information was modified at all.
Why did not this work Surely these unimaginable magnets are strong sufficient!
Some older kinds of magnetic storage media could be erased with neodymium magnets. The magnetic stripe on your credit card is one instance. Audio cassettes and VHS video tapes are one other. The material’s coercivity, or resistance to being demagnetized, is decrease than the sphere made by the magnet. You can lookup the coercivity numbers for these supplies, all of that are normally in the five hundred-a thousand Oersted vary.
The more we researched the topic, the extra we found conflicting data on the coercivity of exhausting drive materials. One source stated 1,250 Oe, another said 2,500 Oe. It appears that evidently, within the race to make onerous drives of greater storage capacities, onerous drive manufacturers keep finding higher coercivity supplies for the laborious drive platters. The later the manufacturing date of your laborious drive, in all probability the upper the drive’s coercivity will probably be.
We looked for hard drive erasing companies, figuring we might be taught one thing by discovering out what such corporations como se llama t shirt present. Most companies either use sturdy degaussing machines that produce a robust an alternating magnetic subject with an electromagnet, or shredders to bodily destroy the drive. As arduous como se llama t shirt drive coercivity improves, physical destruction is changing into the more well-liked technique.
But what if…
We did not attempt every potential combination of magnet and erasure method. Since our strategies failed to change a single character of a single file, though, we wouldn’t belief it to delete ALL the info. Our outcomes make us doubt that neodymium magnets are positive to erase all the info. When of us rub a magnet across a tough drive, the goal is a hundred% data erasure. If in case you have a proven methodology that works for you, we’d love to hear about it.
From these shocking outcomes, we’ve two recommendations. In case your drive continues to be operable, use hard drive erasing software that writes random knowledge over the drive multiple occasions. Such software program does greater than a easy format. It writes patterns throughout the drive a number of times, guaranteeing that the information can’t be un-deleted. Some software packages you would possibly try embody:
– Darik’s Boot and Nuke – A bootable CD that finds all related arduous drives and erases them. A harmful disk to have laying around.
Different functions we’ve examine, but haven’t tried embrace:
– Eraser – Free, open source software program.
– KillDisk – Provides a free version and one you possibly can buy.
If the drive is just not operational, you can’t run any of those software program packages on it. Bodily destruction is probably your best possibility. Authorities agencies often use shredders to accomplish this. A do-it-your self favorite is to make many holes via the drive with a drill press.
Please put on safety glasses when following these directions: Apply sledgehammer. Repeat.
Please note that this text describes our investigation about using magnets to completely erase data on a hard drive. It fully ignores the question of whether or not a robust magnet can Harm a tough drive. These strong magnets certainly can injury a hard drive if introduced shut sufficient. Keep neodymium magnets away from good laborious drives!
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