November 24th, 2002, 09:51 AM
Well... no... at least not with software utilities. There are "de-magnetisers" machines (degausser) that are used for disabling drives that have contained top-secret data, and these cost a bundle. However, only using software, you can only have the drive read or write data. The drive heads cannot just "scatter magnetic charges"... how would a head that is designed to read and write individual bits (in block), ie precisely, be able to do that?. Besides, if it were the case, the drive would either need a low level format after that or be filled with bad clusters, ie: be just plain dead.
Here's an extract of DoD 5220.22-M shredding guidlines:
Also, a comparaison of software "shredders" can be found here:
a. Degauss with a Type I degausser
b. Degauss with a Type II degausser.
c. Overwrite all addressable locations with a single character.
d. Overwrite all addressable locations with a character, its complement, then a random character and verify. THIS METHOD IS NOT APPROVED FOR SANITIZING MEDIA THAT CONTAINS TOP SECRET INFORMATION.
(Check the "Overwrite algorithm" row for wiping technique)
Credit travels up, blame travels down -- The Boss