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Data Destruction on Hard Drives

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  1. #1
    JayBear480 started this thread.
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    Data Destruction on Hard Drives

    Hi, I ran a quick search but couldn't find what I was looking for.

    If I were to collect desktops, laptops, or bare hard drives, what exactly is a Certificate of Data Destruction - I may be lacking the proper terms here.

    I see others offering to provide some kind of certificate staring the hard drives data has been irreversibly destroyed or erased. What does this mean? Is there some official license or certification I need in order to make this claim? Or does it just need to meet a certain specification?



  2. #2
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    A certificate of destruction is a piece of paper that your client gets, where you certify that the hard drives have been either destroyed or wiped.

    The complexity of the document depends on the client. Bsaically, you have a list of the hard drive serial numbers, a paragraph explaining what you did, and then you sign and date it, and they do the same. You keep a copy, and they keep the other.

    --------------------------

    That's the easy part:

    Now, some clients will want the drives physically destroyed, and some just want the data gone. Physical destruction is self-explanatory. Punches, saws, bolt cutters,...

    For just removing the data (to re-use the drive later), you'll want to wipe it to DoD Standard 5220.22-M. Basically, he data is overwritten at least three times. There are many programs that can do this. Some hard drives even have a utility in the firmware to do it.

    To wipe, I set up a desktop computer where I plug in 4 hard drives at a time (Some computers can do more at once, and some will do less), and then run a wiping program (DBAN is free, but some companies will want better). Then, I sign off, and can use the drives.

    Basically, you'll need a desktop or two. They don't need to be new. One of mine was made in 2001. I used to use a 1996 model Packard Bell for this, so anything will work. Plug the hard drives in (You may need to adjust the hard drive jumpers sometimes- It's not bad when you're used to it), and wipe. Take notes of hard drives that have been done, and the ones that need to be done (Mailing labels on the covers works fine), and that's all there is to it.

    For most places, this will be plenty for them. The FBI/CIA/Military contracts will likely have their own conditions, but most places aren't fussy.

    I hope this helps. If there's anything more I can do to help, please don't hesitate to ask.

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  4. #3
    Mechanic688's Avatar
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    Now, some clients will want the drives physically destroyed, and some just want the data gone. Physical destruction is self-explanatory. Punches, saws, bolt cutters,...
    I agree with the above but if you destroy them, pull the boards first.
    P & M Recycling - Specializing in E-Waste Recycling.
    If you enjoy your freedom, thank a vet.

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    if they want/require actual COD's (certs of destruction) then you need to spend a few bucks on a hard drive wiping program that can issue one (it pulls the unique info form each hard drive and makes a certificate with that info along with times of the wiping with any errors encountered. This is what most business want that have HIPPA and other guidelines that they have to adhere to. There is a good program that runs about $75 I think...I am about to set up my machine shortly to do this. DBAN is great for just a wipe, but it doesn't do any of that....hence FREE vs <$100. But if you are doing it professionally, then spend a few $$$.

    and YES, pull the controller board before drilling the drive....they are worth about $9-10/lb.
    PROFIT is made when you BUY/ACQUIRE NOT when you sell

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    JayBear480 started this thread.
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    I can't believe I'm being told to pull the board out, come on guys my post count may be low but I know the value of logic boards! Just to say it, I'm OCD when it comes to removing every screw (exceptions being ones that are holding useless plastic pieces together). Meaning I take the boards out by unscrewing, I cringe when I see people just pry them out and the break off. Think of all the times that's been done and pieces weighing a .5gram or so are stuck attached! It adds up! Not to mention the screws need to go anyways to get Clean Al price on the carcasses (I completely scrap out all drives, magnets, motors, platters, arms, and all - even the little mylars have a bucket).

    Thank you guys for the very detailed information. I find it interesting there is no "official standards & procedure" for removal or physical destruction, that it's a matter of Scrapper's Choice on how they do it.

    That is what I was unsure of - if there was an actual official procedure, not just a matter of signing a paper saying "I SWEAR that Data is Destroyed". And my 2nd unsurity was if anyone can create and sign such a paper or if you needed something official under your belt to be able to make such assurances.

    I guess e-waste recycling is still a bit more unregulated than I had thought it was, what with the semi-recent batches of laws passed to regulate metal recycling & scrapping - *cough* really to profit from or prosecute scrappers.

    I doubt I'd ever, any time soon that is, reach the level where I need something like DBAN (Thanks for the specifics on this). I'm sure drilling a hole through the platters would be as far as I'll ever need to go. So far, of all my "clients" (individual random persons, no businesses or professional contracts), the few who have actually gone as far to express any slight concern, sarcastic or serious, have been completely satisfied by me swinging a sledge hammer at the intact drives sitting on their drive ways. And their concerns were all along the lines of "Nobodies gonna steal my bank info, right?" A concern I've always (silently, of course) thought was simply stemming from ignorance-based fear. It's like digging through trash for credit card receipts - nobody does that anymore, and even if they did...what could they even achieve from it?

    Bit of a run on. TL;DR - Thanks for the reply, the lack of any regulation or official standards in the industry continues to both surprise, and open doors, for me. Now I know I can make tell my clients that I can provide Data Destruction on their computers, an incentive i can offer to persuade them to give me their computers instead of simply trashing them. A bit more persuasive than "it helps the planet, go green, yay planet earth"

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    JayBear480 started this thread.
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    After thought: those of you who frequently do this, could you post a copy of your Cert. Of Destruction, would be nice to see a few different templates. Obviously I'd expect the editing of any sensitive or personal information, afterall this is the big bad internet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JayBear480 View Post
    I can't believe I'm being told to pull the board out, come on guys my post count may be low but I know the value of logic boards!
    We don't know your experience, rather than assume many will give advise to those who are new. To take offense to this advice is wrong, Remember others read these threads because they have the same interest/questions. Mike
    Last edited by miked; 10-15-2014 at 10:18 AM.
    "Profit begins when you buy NOT when you sell." {quote passed down to me from a wise man}

    Now go beat the copper out of something, Miked

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    Meaning I take the boards out by unscrewing, Not to mention the screws need to go anyways to get Clean Al price on the carcasses (I completely scrap out all drives, magnets, motors, platters, arms, and all - even the little mylars have a bucket).
    Don't forget that a lot of the screws in H.D.'s are S.S. use the ole magnet.

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    Meaning I take the boards out by unscrewing, Not to mention the screws need to go anyways to get Clean Al price on the carcasses (I completely scrap out all drives, magnets, motors, platters, arms, and all - even the little mylars have a bucket).
    Don't forget that a lot of the screws in H.D.'s are S.S. use the ole magnet. And yes I have bought H.D.'s where they drilled the hole thing, board and all.

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    JayBear480 started this thread.
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    Quote Originally Posted by miked View Post
    We don't know your experience, rather than assume many will give advise to those who are new. To take offense to this advice is wrong, Remember others reads these threads because they have the same interest/questions. Mike
    sorry, I frequently forget that Internet posts are monotone lack facial expressions. My intention was sarcasm, saying yes, I know this, but thank you anyways for taking the time to contribute your knowledge and experience to my thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mechanic688 View Post
    Don't forget that a lot of the screws in H.D.'s are S.S. use the ole magnet. And yes I have bought H.D.'s where they drilled the hole thing, board and all.
    If I unscrew it, and I need to grab it with my fingers/scrappy tweezers, because the screw didn't pull out with the drill bit, that's my first clue/annoyance. Really though, for ease I just put ALL fasteners I remove into an empty Tang container, which then is emptied into a 1 gallon mayonnaise/salad dressing tub from work (Chefs have access to uber plastic containers). All is dumped into a large, flat plastic...thing...where they are spread out and sorted by magnet. (The thing...Drive behind a post office or UPS Store sometime you will see them stacked up. And no, I didnt. My father's a postmaster.) NonMags are put with SS, with the rare Brass screw (I seem to find them frequently?), and the rest are kept for personal use in wood working projects or whatever. I keep large bolts for sealing minifridges and microwaves that I stuff full of bricks.....umm....my small shred items. (Kidding, I waste my time trying to pick pine needles out of my copper bucket just to keep it pure.)

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  17. #11
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    I'd be interested in an example or two of cert of destruction you guys offer to your clients as well. This has been one of my bigger sticking points with getting large corporate business clients for ewaste, they all want the cert.


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