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Crank secret data away when your back is to the wall

Fujitsu adds a hand crank to hard drive degausser for emergency use.

In the time of triplicates, shredders and burn cans were SOP for destroying records at embassies and military installations. Today, information stored on hard disk drives far forward on the battlefield demand other methods.

Fujitsu has come up with a way to dispose of your brigade's database of informers and cash payoffs in a hurry. The Fujitsu ME-P3M emergency degausser combines state of the art with a good ole' hand crank, allowing a drive to be wiped clean in 10 to 20 seconds--even absent electrical power, according to Jim Preasmyer, business development manager, Fujitsu Computer Products of America (click here for PDF).

Fujitsu Computer Products of America

A degausser (PDF), named after researcher Carl Friedrich Gauss, generates a reverse (coercive) magnetic force to demagnetize HDDs, rendering stored data unreadable and unrecoverable "by any known technology."

The unit is a takeoff on the Fujitsu Mag EraSURE line, used by the legal, medical, and financial professions and anyone else wishing to avoid database disasters like the 2002 debacle in which 139 Veterans Administration Medical Center computers ended up in schools and on the open market, where they were later discovered to contain current VA medical records and credit card numbers.

DriveSavers, a premiere data recovery service, has certified that the Mag EraSURE renders all data on HDDs "unrecoverable by commercial means," according to Fujitsu.

So while there may be something satisfying about leaving the quintessential thermite grenade to melt its way through the server rack when the huey is holding on the roof, given the advanced state of contemporary computer forensics you may want to start cranking instead.