What is the best way to destroy a laptop so that nothing on it is recoverable? - Asking for a friend obviously

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cybertoaster

Chairman of the mammary regulation committee
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Microwave the motherboard.

Drill holes into the HDD.

If its an SSD then microwave that too.
 

Hypnomouse

I love my window view
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A good answer to this question would need more informatiom from - your friend - about the situation. For instance, can he have some time alone and private to the laptop? Can he open the laptop? Does he know how a hard rive look like? Does he have the password? What is the end goal? Is fucking the BIOS enough, or the data is the problem? If the computer was missing, would your friend be a suspect? If memory was missing and a tech guy says so, would the that raise unwanted suspicion?
 

Manul Otocolobus

Angriest Feline in the World
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Acid. Lots of acid.
Depends on the acid. Many of the rather inert compounds found in a system wouldn't react with anything but some of the more unusual or powerful acids, and those can be very difficult to get your hands on without ending up on all sorts of lists. Plus, you have to make sure to get your concentration and volume correct, or it won't be enough.
 
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Hannibalistique

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Because you obviously use an encrypted disk, just wipe the disk (low-level formatting if you have that in the bios).

And assuming it is an SSD just take a lighter and/or knife to it to remove the big storage ICs, crush them as much as you want, and flush them down the toilet.

Then neck yourself because whatever you got on there got from somewhere that can be traced to you.
 

Shroom King

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If it is an HDD, just open it up and throw the platters in the trash. The dust in the air that collects on the platters will damage the surfaces.
 

Some JERK

I ain't drunk, I'm just drinkin'
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If it is an HDD, just open it up and throw the platters in the trash. The dust in the air that collects on the platters will damage the surfaces.
You'd think so, and everything I've ever read confirms it, but a long time back I ran an experiement to see how long a hard drive could survive with the cover off. I ran it in my garage where all sorts of bullshit was regularly floating in the air.

That thing ran for years. Sure, it developed a ton of bad sectors but the vast majority of the data was still accessible. I'm sure it was a total fluke though. But you never know.
 

Hannibalistique

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You'd think so, and everything I've ever read confirms it, but a long time back I ran an experiement to see how long a hard drive could survive with the cover off. I ran it in my garage where all sorts of bullshit was regularly floating in the air.
How long ago was it?
Because for a long time now they have been pushing the limits of what is reasonable, using basically similar statistical analysis magic shit you would use for recovery just for normal reading. When things were sane they just have separate lanes to read and write from, now they partially overlap, they're squeezing things absurdly tight.

And the heat-assisted methods are so crazy that it takes a special breed of japanese autistic spergs to come up with this shit.

I haven't been following the state of the art when it comes to forensic recovery, but I honestly don't see how they can even start to recover data from a platter that has any form of damage, never mind someone taking sanding paper or something to it.
 

AmpleApricots

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Gutman is incredibly outdated (and often misinterpreted) information related to the theoretical limits of magnetic storage that was incredibly crude compared to what you'd get in a mechanical $50 drive nowadays. (Historically, that stuff is quite interesting, like floppy disk drives having their "unique fingerprint", making it possible to identify which disks where written to by which drive etc.) There's no realistic recovering from overwriting any of the incredibly dense modern storage media's data with one pass because there are zero tolerances. If there was a way to store more data on these modern drives, however vague and prone to error, it would be utilized. Yes, modern storage is complex and there's high-end proprietary MCU shenanigans and spare sectors and all that jazz but realistically, no, you won't get any useful data out of such a drive after one fill-up with random data. A lot of flash based storage nowadays also encrypts in hardware by default (no matter if you actively use it or not) a secure erase is as far away as telling the drive to forget the key which could be theoretically done very quickly. You might not want to trust such features though as implementation details and their safety are not rarely sketchy.

The legality of the situation is far more interesting. As others have mentioned when you're so far as to be in the eye of an investigation, destroying the drive probably will do nothing much for you except making you seem more guilty at best and adding to the list of the crimes you committed at worst. Funnily, on the other hand, encrypting all your data and then not wanting to give the key to law enforcement might - and this is depending on where you live - actually be more helpful because some countries have rules making it impossible to punish somebody for refusing to bring forth evidence against himself in such a manner or make it impossible to force somebody to cooperate in an investigation against oneself in such a way. That very well might and has saved people from convictions in the past because the proof went poof with the encryption and the guilty party just walked away, after mere months in jail at most to press the key out of them. Of course they'll mirror the encrypted stuff and depending on what you did you better hope the encryption holds up in the coming decades or make plans to live somewhere where they can't find you. What I always find fascinating about these true crime shows is how some criminals go to jail sometimes decades later, even if it seemed like the perfect crime at the time they committed it. Law enforcement just "knew" of their guilt and could afford to just wait for them to make tiny mistakes that sooner or later gave a complete picture of their crime and sufficient proof. Such cases are probably as rare as competency in a government agency though.
 

Some JERK

I ain't drunk, I'm just drinkin'
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How long ago was it?
Because for a long time now they have been pushing the limits of what is reasonable, using basically similar statistical analysis magic shit you would use for recovery just for normal reading. When things were sane they just have separate lanes to read and write from, now they partially overlap, they're squeezing things absurdly tight.

And the heat-assisted methods are so crazy that it takes a special breed of japanese autistic spergs to come up with this shit.

I haven't been following the state of the art when it comes to forensic recovery, but I honestly don't see how they can even start to recover data from a platter that has any form of damage, never mind someone taking sanding paper or something to it.
It was probably early 2000's. I think it was a Seagate drive.
 

Polyboros2

Is dumb and lost Polyboros password
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The CIA/FBI already owns all the Tor exit nodes, they don't need your hard drive to prove what you jerk it too.

The key to keeping it secret is not giving them a reason to go through the hassle. Don't make yourself significant. No posting populist, anti-Intel agency, anti-globalist or anti-government opinions, even anonymously, definitely don't gain a following espousing those ideals.

You can atomize every physical molecule of hardware you viewed CP on, if the CIA wants you, they'll put it there themselves.
 

Hannibalistique

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It was probably early 2000's. I think it was a Seagate drive.
Yeah, that makes more sense.

The CIA/FBI already owns all the Tor exit nodes, they don't need your hard drive to prove what you jerk it too.
In case people managed to miss the news about KAX17: https://blog.malwarebytes.com/reports/2021/12/was-threat-actor-kax17-de-anonymizing-the-tor-network/

And that is just those they uncovered, I'm 90% sure they have more or at least collaborate with other state actors, enough to deanonymize anyone they want. And if people whine about it not being brought up in court cases, look up parallel construction.

The reason people like e. g. Phinfisher has managed to not get caught is because he doesn't trust tor (and isn't a degenerate pedo, which probably helps more in avoiding the big tor busting guns getting aimed at him in the first place).

And lastly, connecting to tor border nodes will flag you like mad in xkeyscore, and that taints everything you do from the same location (IP, phones in your house, laptops, everything) and all your accounts and other systems you use to log onto that.


So I guess the conclusion to my rant is: don't be a disgusting pedo. If you fail at that, let me quote Jesus: «it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea».
 

AmpleApricots

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Honestly, I think they save the big guns for whistleblowers and other people uncomfortable for the powers that be. As bitter as it sounds, I don't think anyone in that milieu cares about some low-level pedo (that isn't interesting to blackmail) or other such things. The internet always felt like a place where you can't throw a stone without hitting a pedo. There's probably enough low-hanging fruit to fulfill any expectations there.