How to Destroy a Hard Drive – Blowtorch Versus Hard Drive
There is more than one way to safely and securely destroy a hard drive and other computer hardware. Smartphones, computer tablets, laptops, and desktop computers all contain personal data that needs to be securely destroyed before a device is discarded. If your device belongs to your employer or if it is used for your business you may risk the loss of intellectual property, legal penalties, and damage to your reputation.
Many municipalities arrange for electronic recycling collections, but the data on the device must be wiped before surrendering the device. Simply moving applications and files to a machine’s recycling bin and then emptying it does not permanently remove data from a hard drive. The data can still be recovered by anyone with minimal computer knowledge. Reformatting the hard drive may still leave it vulnerable to hackers. Reformatting does not guarantee the data is completely unreadable.
Microsoft recommends that using a Microsoft recognized refurbisher. Official MS refurbishers safeguard stored and employ secure data destruction practices. However, many refuse to trust any third-party service. There are other destruction methods, including downloadable apps that can also destroy hard drive data. Device owners may also utilize a shredding service, many of which are free of charge. However, we decided to burn a hard drive to see just how long it would take to destroy the platters and secure our data!
You can see in the video we had to open up the hard drive case to get the blow torch flames in contact with the data storage components. It took longer than expected, over 10 minutes to fry Maxtor Hard Drive. Our time video is time lapsed so you don’t have to sit through the boring stuff!
Michelle writes about cyber security as well as how to protect your data online. She has worked in internet technology for over 20 years Michelle earned a B.S. in Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She published a guide to Cyber Security for Business Travelers