Re: Data protection

Robert Schrader (
Tue, 18 Mar 1997 12:25:05 -0800 (PST)

Awhile back, someone - I forget who - made the comment that the only
way to really erase data was with thermite. I'm not sure if the comment
was indended literally, but...

Basic thermite is just a combination of aluminum powder and iron oxide.
( hydroxide? I forget ) Sounds pretty similar to the composition of the
platter itself. Is it possible to make a platter of cast thermite?

If so, this opens up new horizons for really secure data.

The microproccesor in the drive mechanism could be instructed to ask
for a key at start-up. If it doesn't get it, it refuses to seek data.
If it gets several consecutive bad keys, it ignites the disk.

It should be possible to rig a dead-man switch so that the case cannot be
forced open without turning the platter into molten slag.

For the really paranoid, a cmos clock chip and battery could be added
internally. If a period of several days goes by without the microprocessor
getting the key, it ignites the disk. ( Of course the time period should
be programmable so that one can take vacations )

Robert Schrader