Agencies keep secret data out of wrong hands by wiping the data off drives
By Bill Murray
A degausser/eraser device acts like a paper shredder for computer hard drives, floppy diskettes and other magnetic media. When agencies replace their PCs, some erase any hard drives that have stored data classified as confidential, secret or top-secret.
Other agencies physically destroy the drives, said Terry Creek, regional manager for Security Engineered Machinery Inc., a Westborough, Mass., seller of degausser/eraser products.
Defense Department and intelligence agencies are the biggest users of the devices, he said. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the Drug Enforcement Administration and other federal organizations dispose of classified data so that it can never fall into the wrong hands.
Federal pricing starts at $903 for the company’s Model 1090 desktop degausser/eraser, which automatically wipes standard and high-density 3.5- and 5.25-inch floppies when inserted into a front aperture.
The $911 Model 1100 degausser wand does the same job on floppies and also erases Zip disks from Iomega Corp. of Roy, Utah, Creek said.
The $4,000 Model 1200 CD-ROM declassifier pulverizes data-bearing surfaces in 20 seconds, meeting DOD requirements to destroy CD-ROMs bearing critical data, company officials said.
The Air Force, FBI and Navy buy Security Engineered Machinery products on the open market, Creek said.