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Secure disposal of hundreds of floppy disks?


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#1 DasPookinator

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 03:44 PM

I'm helping a friend of mine clear out a bunch of old stuff from her dad's payroll and accounting business (he died), and among the stuff we need to get rid of are hundreds of floppy disks (both sizes) that contain sensitive data (DOB, SSN, etc) of his clients.  Is there an affordable (preferably free) easy way to securely (and responsibly--no, I'm not going to burn them) dispose of these?  Would running a speaker magnet over them do the trick?  Ideas?



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#2 saw101

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 05:10 PM

https://livegreen.recyclebank.com/because-you-asked-how-can-i-dispose-of-floppy-disks

 

Of course, if you have a bit of time, it's really easy to break open a floppy disc. The plastic can then be recycled, & the media can go into a paper shredder. I've disposed of many using that method.

Magnets such as those found in speakers are not powerful enough to do the job.


I never make the same mistake twice....I always make it 5 or 6 times just to be sure!


#3 Havachat

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 05:12 PM

Industrial Shreeder from any Secure Company that do so { They Pick up , we have them here }.

Does any of this Data , if current , have to be kept for a Time Period ? here it is 5-7 Yrs.

 

If you use a Normal Magnet , are you going to Check each one to see if it actually worked ?

 

Or a Small Hand Guilotine , id burn em myself.



#4 Crazy Cat

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 05:24 PM

3.5 inch, remove metal guard and microwave,

The ferric media will be destroyed by the microwave energy.
 

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#5 DasPookinator

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 05:58 PM

Re: burning (particularly via microwave)....no, the smoke from the plastic is pretty damn toxic, so burning (esp indoors, lawd) is not something I'm particularly interested in doing.  And breaking them open and cutting the data sheet is easy....but highly time consuming.  I suppose I'll try the magnet idea (those speaker magnets are super strong, and i figured we could spread 'em out in a line so there's no overlap) if I can check a couple to ensure it worked; otherwise I suppose the break and cut may be the way to go.  There is a paper shredder, but it can't handle much more than 5 pages at a time :P

 

And Havachat--I'm not sure how long they are supposed to be kept, good q, I'll find out.  I know most if not all of the ones we've seen thus far have been 10+ years old.


Edited by DasPookinator, 13 March 2017 - 06:01 PM.


#6 saw101

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 07:01 PM

those speaker magnets are super strong

Well, granted they can seem quite strong, but generally one should use a rare earth magnet. Those are about the strongest one can get. Get a couple of those stuck together & you'll have quite a time separating them. Magnets of that type are Neodymium.

 

Lots of places where they can be acquired quite reasonably. https://www.amazon.com/Rare-Earth-Magnets/b?ie=UTF8&node=1265130011


I never make the same mistake twice....I always make it 5 or 6 times just to be sure!


#7 Didier Stevens

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Posted 14 March 2017 - 07:26 AM

You could stack them and drill holes in them with a drill press.


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#8 DasPookinator

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Posted 14 March 2017 - 11:50 PM

@Saw101: fair enough. I admit I was still going with the "dont leave your wallet with the magnetized snap on your crt montior, you'll fry it" (which may very well not have even been true then, I have no idea) info I was given in the 90s :P

 

@Didier:  OOOH BRILLIANT.  I believe I have access to one, too.  I think that is, by far, the fastest and most satisfying method proposed yet!  Winner winner!



#9 Crazy Cat

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 04:47 PM

and among the stuff we need to get rid of are hundreds of floppy disks (both sizes) that contain sensitive data

Recording media composition. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Floppy_disk#Structure

DD: 2 µm magnetic iron oxide
HD: 1.2 µm cobalt-doped iron oxide
ED: 3 µm barium ferrite


Since you have both sizes, 3½-inch floppy disk and 5¼-inch floppy disks then you can do either?

(1) microwave 5¼-inch floppy disk as no metal is present. Use a high-medium power setting for a few seconds. Open one up after irradiating and see if the ferric media is destroyed.

(2) remove metal (3) A shutter that protects the surface when removed from the drive on the 3½-inch floppy disk, and microwave. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Floppy_disk#3.C2.BD-inch_floppy_disk

(3) place all floppies in a metal bin and cover with industrial solvent (acetone/toluene mixture). This will dissolve the (6) The magnetic coated plastic disk, and all plastic.

If you stack and drill, as Didier Stevens suggested, take in consideration the sector of data on the disk in (7) A schematic representation of one sector of data on the disk; the tracks and sectors are not visible on actual disks. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Floppy_disk#3.C2.BD-inch_floppy_disk

This shows how the data is stored on the 3½-inch floppy disk, so many drill holes are need.

Edited by Crazy Cat, 15 March 2017 - 04:53 PM.

 

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#10 britechguy

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 05:24 PM

Have you looked into whether someone/somewhere local does floppy disc shredding?

 

My credit union has "shred days" several times per year and they will do paper and "floppy" magnetic media.  


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