Monday, August 18, 2014

How to erase a hard drive using both physical and software solutions.

Hacking the Hard Drive

Lets face it, we hackers don't want to be caught with a bunch of tools that would have police ready dismantle your computer once they found out about them. Computers get old, they break, and you just don't need the extra risk laying around.

In this tutorial I will be going over how to wipe and format your drive.

First we will go over wiping the drive.

  • Blank CD/DVD or USB drive/SD card
  • Download Gparted from here link
  • Possibly gun, drill, or thermite depending on your preferences.

Now I should mention that to completely wipe a hard drive, your best best would be physical destruction.

Methods such as shooting the hard drive. When you shoot the hard drive, make sure to back the hard drive up with a thick piece of steel or something that will absorb the shell. Put at least one hole in the platter (the part not covered by a sticker), and a hole in the circuit board (part covered by sticker). Really one shot would do it, but shooting things is fun :D

Drilling holes though the hard drive (make sure to hit the platter) Use a TiN drill bit at high speed. Make sure to put a block of wood behind the hard drive and clamp the hard drive down. Any drill should be able to do the job, but beware, it tends to be hard on the drill bit.
And using Thermite on the hard drive (why not use thermite on the whole computer?) Thermite can be bought for about $25 USD per 4 pounds of thermite. That is way more than enough to destroy a hard drive. You could probably cause a reaction 4 times bigger than below. Use with extreme caution, it will not just burn your skin, but put a hole right through your body and out the other side. You have been warned....

From visual observation, I would say thermite does a pretty good job.

Now I can already hear you asking "I know, lighting your hard drive on fire sounds fun and all, but I would like to still be able to use the drive for something else." Well no worries! Because there is a solution to keep your hard drive from looking like burnt bread.

A quick Windows solution would be to delete everything on the disk, then format the drive (under options). It is not amazing, but it will keep non-motivated people out of your stuff.

Using Gparted.
I really like Gparted for erasing an entire disk throughly. It also has many other tools built in, which makes it all the more convenient. If you use any form of linux, it should have Gparted built in, but keep in mind that you cannot erase the hard drive that the OS is installed on. To install on a linux machine type "apt-get install gparted". You can probably figure it out from there. If you use Windows, live boot is your best bet.

Instructions for Windows (easiest method)

To install on a CD/DVD/SD/flash drive for live boot.
 -Download Gparted imagine here. Download the latest stable .iso

You can use your native disk writer on Windows. Make sure you actually burn the .img to the disk, not just copy the file over. Select the "burn image to disk" option.

-Flash drive or SD card (or other flash memory)
Make sure there is nothing you want to keep on the drive. Go to "my computer" and right click the drive you want to use. Click "format". Select "restore device defaults". Format the drive.
Download Win32 Disk Image burner here. Select the .img and the correct drive letter (go to "my computer" to see which drive).

How to boot into Gparted

 Insert DVD/CD or Flash drive into computer to be wiped.
Reboot the computer. When it turns on, go into the BIOS. If you don't know what key does that, look carefully as you have limited time to hit the key. Usually it is Esc, Del, or F12 (or other F key). Use the arrow keys to move around until you find a selection that says "boot order". Usually this is under the boot tab or something. Just make sure you don't change any settings other than what I tell you to. You should see HDD or HD or hard drive as the #1 option. Move your cursor over it and hit enter (if required). Use the up and down arrows or + and - sign to select either CD/DVD drive (sometimes listed as the drive name) for CD or DVDs.
Booting from SD or FD can be a bit tricky, sometimes it is listed as "flash drive" or "FD" or something along those lines.
Save the configuration (usually F10 key) and reboot. If you selected the wrong option, no problem. Quickly hold down the power button for 5 seconds to shut off. Restart and repeat the process of selecting the drive again. Eventually with enough guessing it should boot into the Gparted Live screen. From now keep hitting the enter key when an option pops up on the boot (unless you don't speak English :P ).

You should eventually see a screen that looks like this.


On the upper right corner click on the drive selection button. Select the drive that you want to wipe.  Right click option and click "format to". Select any of the options. Click the green check mark. Once formatted, format again, selecting a different format option. Then proceed to "delete" the drive. It should now be "unallocated".
This should do it for drives that have semi-sensitive info on them. Use a different method for protection against move powerful organizations. Simply encrypt the entire drive, then wipe it, and finally format it once more. A quick Google search will provide other good options.

How easy is it to follow this tutorial?