HOW TO DELETE?

Electromagnetic data destruction

Innovations and advancements in technology has has caused a reduction in the useful lifespans of IT equipment. IT equipment that contain data storage media (i.e. hard disk drives) likely contain sensitive information for a company, which could pose a threat to the company's employees, stakeholders, or customers should it fall into wrong hands. Data privacy regulations and legislation make protection of data from unauthorised access more important than ever.

Businesses handling sensitive information, such as personally identifiable information (PII) (e.g. social security numbers, credit card numbers, bank account numbers) as well as confidential information (e.g. product information, sales reports) are under risk of uncontrolled data leakage, which could lead to incurring not only the costs of the data breach, but also criminal liability. Why are certain companies and industries troubled by the issue of data leakage? The cause most often lies in the lack of knowledge concerning the principles of efficiently rendering information inaccessible on storage media.

Permanent data deletion

Deleting a file, or moving it to "Trash" or the "Recycle Bin", does not mean that the data has been erased. There are many well-publicized stories of desktop and laptop computers being found containing confidential and highly sensitive data that is easily accessible.

In principle, there are two methods of effective data destruction: software ("soft") and hardware ("hard"). The "soft" method relies on overwriting data multiple times using specialized software, making it nearly impossible to read the data originally written to the media, even when using special data recovery tools and techniques. The primary advantage of this method is the fact that both magnetic tapes and hard drives are suitable for further reuse; however, in this case overwriting is possible only if the media is mechanically functional.

The "hard"  method is to carry out the process of electromagnetically destroying the data, which is applicable to both functional and non-functional magnetic storage media.

What is electromagnetic data destruction?

It is a method of erasing stored data irrevocably using a purpose-built degausser. The process consists of subjecting the magnetic data storage device to a strong, controlled electromagnetic field. This exposure destroys all data written to the magnetic layer of the device - both user data and factory-written servo data. After degaussing, the data on magnetic media is irrevocably erased. Even magnetic storage media with high areal densities such as 1 terabyte SATA hard disk drives and 2.5 terabyte (uncompressed) LTO tape cartridges are no longer reusable after degaussing. Certain legacy tape media which do not have factory-written servo tracks, such as 3480, may be reused as degaussing effectively "resets" the magnetic remanence to zero. Hard disk drives; however, are rendered unusable as the electromagnetic field not only destroys data written to the magnetic media but also the sensitive components on the printed circuit boards.

Let's read about procedures for data deletion (made by National Security Agency) here>>

The magnetic field of particular media

For effectively data deletion, magnetic field generating by degausser should be higher than coercivity force of erased media. Following list includes magnetic field of particular media (from smallest to highest).

Data storage media
Coertivity (Oersted)
  9-Track Reel-To-Reel Computer Tape, 5¼ 360 KB DD Minidisk 300 Oe
  TK50, TK70 350 Oe
  3480, 3490 OE 520 Oe
  SLR1, SLR2, TR-1, DC2120, DC6150, DC6525 550 Oe
  3.5" 720KB DD Microdisk,   5¼ 1.2Mb HD Minidisk 650 Oe
  VHS Standard & Betacam 700 Oe
  3.5" 1.44MB HD Microdisk 720 Oe
  U-matic Video 750 Oe
  SVHS 850 Oe
  SLR3, SLR4, SLR5, TR-3, DC9100, DC9120,   SLR24, SLR32, TR-4, ADR30, ADR50, ADR2-120 900 Oe
  Mammoth 8mm, AIT-1 8mm, VXA-1 8mm 1320 Oe
  M2 Mammoth2 8mm, VXA-2 8mm 230m 1350 Oe
  AIT-2 8mm 1380 Oe
  AIT-3 8mm, AIT-4 8mm, S-AIT-1 1400 Oe
  M II Betacam SP/Digital Betacam, SuperDisk 120MB 1500 Oe
  Redwood SD-3 1515 Oe
  DLT tape III, DLT tape IIIXT 1540 Oe
  Zip 100 MB Disk, DD-2 19mm 1550 Oe
  DTF-1 1579 Oe
  DDS1: 4mm 60m, 4mm 90m 1590 Oe
  D8: 8mm 112m, 8mm 160m 1600 Oe
  Magstar MP: 3570-B, 3570-C, 3570-C/XL, Magstar: 3590, 3590-E,   STK-9840, STK-T9940 1625 Oe
  TR-5, SLR40, SLR50, SLR60, SLR100, TR-7 (travan40GB), SLR75, SLR140 1650 Oe
  DDS2 4mm 120m 1750 Oe
  LTO-Ultrium1, DLT tape IV, DLT Vs1, NCTP, DD-2Qd 19mm 1850 Oe
  SuperDLT I 1900 Oe
  LTO - Ultrium2 2150 Oe
  DDS3 4mm 125m,   Zip 250 MB Disk 2250 Oe
  DTF-2 2300 Oe
  DDS4 4mm 150m, DAT-72 4mm 170m 2350 Oe
  3592, STK-T10000 (T10K) 2500 Oe
  SuperDLT II 2600 Oe
  DLT S4, LTO -Ultrium3 2650 Oe
  LTO-Ultrium4, LTO-Ultrium5 2800 Oe
  Hard Disk 5000 Oe

 

Innovations and advancements in technology has has caused a reduction in the useful lifespans of IT equipment. IT equipment that contain data storage media (i.e. hard disk drives) likely contain sensitive information for a company, which could pose a threat to the company's employees, stakeholders, or customers should it fall into wrong hands. Data privacy regulations and legislation make protection of data from unauthorised access more important than ever.

Businesses handling sensitive information, such as personally identifiable information (PII) (e.g. social security numbers, credit card numbers, bank account numbers) as well as confidential information (e.g. product information, sales reports) are under risk of uncontrolled data leakage, which could lead to incurring not only the costs of the data breach, but also criminal liability. Why are certain companies and industries troubled by the issue of data leakage? The cause most often lies in the lack of knowledge concerning the principles of efficiently rendering information inaccessible on storage media.

Permanent data deletion

Deleting a file, or moving it to "Trash" or the "Recycle Bin", does not mean that the data has been erased. There are many well-publicized stories of desktop and laptop computers being found containing confidential and highly sensitive data that is easily accessible.

In principle, there are two methods of effective data destruction: software ("soft") and hardware ("hard"). The "soft" method relies on overwriting data multiple times using specialized software, making it nearly impossible to read the data originally written to the media, even when using special data recovery tools and techniques. The primary advantage of this method is the fact that both magnetic tapes and hard drives are suitable for further reuse; however, in this case overwriting is possible only if the media is mechanically functional.

The "hard"  method is to carry out the process of electromagnetically destroying the data, which is applicable to both functional and non-functional magnetic storage media.

What is electromagnetic data destruction?

It is a method of erasing stored data irrevocably using a purpose-built degausser. The process consists of subjecting the magnetic data storage device to a strong, controlled electromagnetic field. This exposure destroys all data written to the magnetic layer of the device - both user data and factory-written servo data. After degaussing, the data on magnetic media is irrevocably erased. Even magnetic storage media with high areal densities such as 1 terabyte SATA hard disk drives and 2.5 terabyte (uncompressed) LTO tape cartridges are no longer reusable after degaussing. Certain legacy tape media which do not have factory-written servo tracks, such as 3480, may be reused as degaussing effectively "resets" the magnetic remanence to zero. Hard disk drives; however, are rendered unusable as the electromagnetic field not only destroys data written to the magnetic media but also the sensitive components on the printed circuit boards.

Let's read about procedures for data deletion (made by National Security Agency) here>>