Saltar al contenido principal

How to safely and securely destroy data on SSDs and memory sticks

Qué necesitas

  1. How to safely and securely destroy data on SSDs and memory sticks, How to safely and securely destroy data on SSDs and memory sticks: paso 1, imagen 1 de 1
    • The first step is to open the device in order to expose the storage chips.

    • In the case of an SSD, if you're lucky you may only have to remove the screws holding the lid on (ignoring warnings about voiding the warranty). Otherwise, and for other devices, look for any crack between two halves of the case which might give you a weak point you can work on. You may need a hammer or a dremel with a cutting disk.

    • Whatever destructive means you use, make sure you're aware of safety precautions appropriate for the tools you use.

    • When you get inside you will see a circuit board with components on one or both sides. The largest of these will be the memory chips, and may be mounted on both sides of the board. There will be one or more similar looking but smaller controller chips which you probably don't need to worry about.

  2. How to safely and securely destroy data on SSDs and memory sticks, Use a Cold Chisel: paso 2, imagen 1 de 2 How to safely and securely destroy data on SSDs and memory sticks, Use a Cold Chisel: paso 2, imagen 2 de 2
    • With the device on a firm surface, place the tip of the cold chisel across the middle of the memory chip and strike the cold chisel firmly with the hammer.

    • The chip should split neatly in two. Half of it is likely to take flight - make sure there are no children around with their eyes at a similar level to the chip.

    • Repeat for all other memory chips on both sides of the board.

  3. How to safely and securely destroy data on SSDs and memory sticks, Use a Dremel: paso 3, imagen 1 de 1
    • If you had to use a dremel to open the device you can use this as an alternative to the hammer and cold chisel.

    • With a cutting disk, grind through each memory chip until you can see the circuit board underneath.

    • Take care not to inhale the fibreglass dust that will be created.

  4. How to safely and securely destroy data on SSDs and memory sticks, Use a Drill: paso 4, imagen 1 de 1
    • If you don't have a cold chisel or a dremel you can also drill through the memory chips.

    • Use a metal drill bit, since the fibreglass pcb will make wood drill bits dull.

    • Place the device on a surface you don't mind drilling through, like a wooden plank.

    • Drill through the memory chip.

    • Take care not to inhale the fibreglass dust that will be created.

Conclusión

To reassemble your device - err, forget about it!

But please dispose of the remains of your day’s work responsibly, in a manner appropriate for electronic waste.

Take your e-waste to an R2 or e-Stewards certified recycler.

3 personas más completaron esta guía.

Philip Le Riche

Miembro Desde 02/18/14

30,077 Reputación

47 Guías creadas

Equipo

Restart Project Miembro de Restart Project

Community

18 Miembros

490 Guías creadas

3 comentarios

What if you preserved the file but wrote other stuff to it? I mean, if it's a spreadsheet, change all the numbers to zeros. Does the "Save" operation write back to the original file-location on the SSD, or does the "wear-leveling" write the saving file to somewhere else?

Oh yes - you missed an even more guaranteed method of data-destruction: fire. It's a shame I can't add pictures to my comment - I could show my blowtorch reducing the SSD to powder. No fragments of chip remain (a really determined expert might scan the semiconductor matrix to retrieve patterns of 1s and 0s to reconstruct partial file components!😂)

Brian Thebrit - Contestar

If you change just 1 bit in a file on an SSD it will rewrite it to a different block. SSDs only allow you to do 2 things: clear a whole block to zeros, and write ones. You can't write zeros individually and hence you can't overwrite data like you can on magnetic media.

Burning will certainly defeat any adversary you're likely to meet (unless, perhaps, you're James Bond). But beware of noxious fumes - burning electronics is not generally considered a good idea. And in fact, the melting point of silicon is 1414C so the chips will probably survive intact. They briefly survive 350C during soldering but I don't know how much higher you have to go to cause the electrostatic charges storing the data to be lost. That uncertainty would probably cause James Bond to favour the dremel.

Philip Le Riche - Contestar

Another possible method would be to microwave it. It's extremely unlikely that a chip would survive the very intense electric fields. But your microwave probably wouldn't smell too sweet afterwards. Again, the uncertainty as to whether a chip could conceivably survive would favour the dremel for our friend Mr Bond.

Philip Le Riche - Contestar

Agregar Comentario

Ver Estadísticas:

Ultimas 24 horas: 17

Ultimos 7 días: 100

Ultimos 30 días: 429

Todo El Tiempo: 6,110