Print Story Attention Mac Infidels
By Mrs FlightTest (Mon Aug 14, 2006 at 07:02:37 PM EST) (all tags)

My boss had an Apple/Mac computer for the office info that is over 7 years old now. They haven't used it since they changed to Windows. Suddenly they (my boss & office manager) have decided it can safely be disposed of now.

However, it is full of patient information, that is protected under HIPAA now. I have no idea what OS is on the thing, but we would like to wax everything on it so that no one would be able to get any info off of it before they donate it or trash it.

Any suggestions (other than smashing it with a sledge hammer as FT has already put dibs in on that scenario), would be appreciated.

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Attention Mac Infidels | 18 comments (18 topical, 0 hidden)
drill a hole in it by StackyMcRacky (4.00 / 1) #1 Mon Aug 14, 2006 at 07:35:21 PM EST
seriously, that's the best way to take care of this.

it's what we do at our hospital.

alternately, there are places that will dispose of the machine properly and give you a certificate saying all data was destroyed (I'm about to decommission 60+ servers, and we've hired such a service).

"A" hole???? by FlightTest (4.00 / 1) #2 Mon Aug 14, 2006 at 07:44:43 PM EST
As in, only one?

I don't think I could limit myself in such a way. :)


[ Parent ]
Angst? by reza (4.00 / 1) #5 Mon Aug 14, 2006 at 08:23:57 PM EST looks like we have a release for your pent up frustrations and emotions of the last couple months.  Will destroying to bits a hard drive soothe your savage beast?


" Be who you are and say how you feel, because those who mind do not matter, and those who matter do not mind!" Dr. Seuss

[ Parent ]
I'm pretty sure by jayhawk88 (2.00 / 0) #15 Tue Aug 15, 2006 at 07:17:26 AM EST
That DOD regulations specify at least 5 holes to ensure data destruction.

[ Parent ]
Only Five? by FlightTest (2.00 / 0) #18 Thu Aug 17, 2006 at 06:57:04 PM EST

I'd probably dull a couple drill bits in the process.

[ Parent ]
Seconded by ShadowNode (2.00 / 0) #4 Mon Aug 14, 2006 at 08:19:42 PM EST
Hard drives that hold sensitive information shouldn't be recommissioned.

[ Parent ]
12 gauge slugs make a nice hole... nt by jaxom green (4.00 / 1) #3 Mon Aug 14, 2006 at 08:15:02 PM EST

For the completely thorough by MostlyHarmless (4.00 / 2) #6 Mon Aug 14, 2006 at 09:22:01 PM EST

[Mostly Harmless]

Destroy the hard drive by Cloaked User (2.00 / 0) #7 Mon Aug 14, 2006 at 09:57:15 PM EST
I don't know what the HIPAA regulations say, but I do work with information covered by the UK Government's Government Protective Marking Scheme (in other words "classified documents" that are "covered by the Official Secrets Act(s)").

Under that (or at least, our corporate interpretation), once a drive has such material on it, it is forever tainted by it. You either keep using it for the same purpose, or destroy it. As someone else said, there's no recommisioning them.

As for how best to do it, I'm not sure, and it'll depend on the regs. Depending on your level of liability and how strict the regs are, it might be safest to use a professional service; at least then if they screw it up, it's their problem.

Otherwise a few holes drilled into the platters and/or taking a hammer to them will stop the average person getting anything off it, but may not prevent specialist data recovery services from retrieving some of the data.

Have fun!

This is not a psychotic episode. It is a cleansing moment of clarity.

What Cloaked User said by gpig (4.00 / 1) #8 Tue Aug 15, 2006 at 02:06:49 AM EST
More specifically, take the drive to bits with a screwdriver, and take out the platters ( the round bit, see pic ).

This is the bit that has the data on it. Now it depends how paranoid you are. Personally, I'd say just cut it up into little pieces with scissors and scatter amongst other rubbish, and it should be irretrievable. You could burn it but there will be some nasty toxic shit in there, I wouldn't recommend it.

While you're dismantling hard drives, in the corner of the HD there will be some scarily strong magnets which you could take out for the kids to play with. They're of some practical use too, you can screw them to the wall and hang small tools (screwdrivers etc.) off them.

Have fun!
(,   ,') -- eep

Quick Note by Gedvondur (2.00 / 0) #12 Tue Aug 15, 2006 at 04:21:43 AM EST
Hard disk platters are steel.  Unless you are Wonder Woman with almost infinite strength and possess the Sissors of Indominable Might, you would have to use an angle grider to destroy those disks.

Mind you, once you breach the drive's air containment, the disks will deteriorate rapidly.  Take them one, drop one in the work dumpster, drop the other in the trash at a gas station. 

Or, simply use a destructive format program, several of which are available for the Macintosh.


"I don't have enough middle fingers to communicate my feelings to you." --clover kicker

[ Parent ]
Format the hard disk by lm (2.00 / 0) #9 Tue Aug 15, 2006 at 03:19:12 AM EST
If you don't know how to do it in whatever OS is installed, take it out and put in a PC to do the job. Most Macs have had IDE drives since the late nineties. There is a slim chance that it may be SCSI.

This should cover due diligence, especially if you re-install the operating system afterwards. If you intend to donate it, many places won't take it without an OS installed.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
careful there by Dr H0ffm4n (2.00 / 0) #10 Tue Aug 15, 2006 at 03:50:31 AM EST
format on a PC will usually just rewrite the label. It won't wipe the data off the disk. Unix formatting tools can do a destructive disk surface analysis that wipes most data. Best to just physically trash the disk as recommended by others.

[ Parent ]
For PCs, DBAN by ayrlander (2.00 / 0) #11 Tue Aug 15, 2006 at 04:19:27 AM EST

I always use DBAN when it comes time to recycle a hard drive in a PC.  I don't know about Macs; DBAN claims to be able to handle Macs, or at least some of them, but I've never had opportunity to try it.

Basically, the software overwrites the entire drive a whole bunch of times (configurable depending on algorithm), using various government approved algorithms for destroying data.

Yep. by blixco (2.00 / 0) #13 Tue Aug 15, 2006 at 04:22:34 AM EST
Remove the hard disk.  Go thru the phone book / phone directory, and find a company that shreds paper and the disposal.  Call them and ask them about information management, and about shredding or degaussing hard drives.

They'll charge ya a few bucks for such a small one off job, but you'll be legal.
Taken out of context I must seem so strange - Ani DiFranco

If you don't want to destroy the hard drive... by segfault (2.00 / 0) #14 Tue Aug 15, 2006 at 05:30:29 AM EST
Destroying the hard drive is the easiest, quickest and often most cost effective method of sanitization, but if for some reason you want to want to keep the hard drive intact, this seems to be the requirement:

"Overwrite all addressable [hard drive] locations with a character, its complement, then a random character and verify."

What utility you use to accomplich this on a Mac, I don't know.


Cleaning Hard Drives to the HIPAA Standard Prior to Disposal or Donation

Department of Defense Clearing and Sanitization Matrix (DOD 5220.22-M)

I love geeks. by molasses (2.00 / 0) #16 Tue Aug 15, 2006 at 04:05:01 PM EST
I get strangely turned on when they talk about computers.

sigh  I need me a geek. again.

Thank you one and all by Mrs FlightTest (2.00 / 0) #17 Wed Aug 16, 2006 at 05:22:07 PM EST
for all of your suggestions. I will pass along teh info to the powers that be at work.

That'll learn ya!

Attention Mac Infidels | 18 comments (18 topical, 0 hidden)