How can I obliterate information on a defunct device, and should I?



  • I have old cell phones with problems that make them useless (non-responsive touch screen, black-on-black display, will not power up). I also have a bunch of solid-state USB memory devices that don't work (e.g. don't connect). I would like to dispose of this non-functioning junk, but I'm concerned that the devices have solid-state memory devices that contain secret stuff that I don't want unscrupulous people to get ahold of.

    There is a recycler that can stick my junk under a degausser (unknown what kind), and can stab my old spinning drives.

    The removable SD cards were removed from the phones, but I have no idea what is in the deeper recesses. A factory reset to wipe the device is not an option, and software reformatting is likewise impossible. This leaves me concerned that someone with skills might get ahold of a part and sell my information.

    Is the recycler's degaussing procedure likely to obliterate the data (what questions should I ask), and if not is there some other reasonably certain method of keeping the data out of the wrong hands, consistent with recycling (I have some cement, if all else fails)?



  • Degaussing only works for magnetic media, not solid state.

    Bashing everything to bits with a large hammer is probably the most practical. True, some of the tiny memory modules could in theory survive sufficiently intact to be reconstructed, but unless you're concern is high end Law Enforcement or a Nation-State that's pretty unlikely.

    If you're still concerned, you could also Microwave the pieces but this would be a significant risk of unexpected fire. It would be safer simply to burn it.

    If you burn it, be careful of toxic fumes.

    A handy wood chipper would be useful.



Suggested Topics

  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2