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May 24, 2017


Chuck Kuecker

Happened on this from a link on my blog I made years ago. I'm a retired EE who designed many microprocessor systems.

ROM is "read-only memory" - it cannot store anything not programmed into it at the factory. EEPROM can be erased and re-programmed, but has limited capacity.

There is memory - "flash" - think USB thumb drives - that can hold large amounts of data, but they are ultimately limited. Same goes for hard drives.

I know some copier machines store the last X images they copy, but at some point either the memory or disk gets filled and no new stuff gets stored, or the oldest stuff gets overwritten.

A printer with an Ethernet port, or one with a wireless connection could, conceivably send each copied image back to the home office. A packet sniffer would prove if this is happening.

Years ago, I had a Brother FAX / printer that used a 8" wide plastic ribbon cartridge to print. It had a negative of every FAX received and every page printed on the ribbon - those got ceremonially burned when used up.

As suggested, applying voltage to the PC boards might damage them, but the most secure method is shredding or burning. Well designed circuitry can't be reliably blown up by applying the wrong voltage - the critical parts might survive. If someone really wants to recover the data on a hard drive or flash chip, there are methods using electron microscopes and other expensive tools that can read the data. The only totally safe methid of destruction is to pulverize the storage parts.


I suspect that an application of 12 volts or higher, with a bit of amperage behind it, would suffice to destroy any sort of electronics components. I think AC would work better, as diodes are included in some circuits to protect from reverse voltage.

A hard drive disc should be physically destroyed.

I've not seen any articles on the subject of the electronics, just the discs.

Perhaps you could entice someone like Borepatch ( http://borepatch.blogspot.com/ ) or Silicon Graybeard (http://thesilicongraybeard.blogspot.com/ ) to weigh in on the subject.

Perhaps an automotive battery charger, or a welder, would work.

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