Method of Hard Disk Drive Data Destruction When a Disk Drive has a Password Set
Original Publication Date: 2002-Feb-26
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-20
Today's Computer Systems contain Disk Drives which may contain Gigabytes of sensitive information. Some Drives contain password protection which prohibits their access to only authorized users. In some cases, these authorized employees may leave their job quickly (layoff, termination, etc.) and there is no way for the IT department to securely and easily erase the contents of these disks. If these drives are password protected, one skilled in the art of Hard Drive design/analysis could reconstruct the platters onto a disk subsystem or analyze the zero crossings to interrupt the data via a oscilloscope, time interval analyzer, or other generally available instrumentation. Therefore someone who really wanted to recover the data on these drives could. With the dropping prices of hard disk drives and a relatively short useful life, the physical value of a used hard drive is irrelevant in comparison to the value of the data (or exposure of the data) contained on the disk. Therefore many firms resort to smashing these drives via a sledge hammer or some other physical manner. However, this does not provide an absolute guarantee that the data on the platters could not be reconstructed (unless of course the platters have been smashed to non reconfigurable pieces and burned or dumped in acid). In order to solve this problem all data in all sectors must be destroyed. The DOD defines a criteria to ensure that the data is not readable. However this algorithm can not be run if the user has set PW on the disk.