HYBRID HARD DRIVES – How to erase Classified Data !

June 12, 2013 at 9:05 am by SEM

The NSA has developed guidelines to delete Classified Data on “Rotational Magnetic” Hard Drives and guidelines on how erase data on “Solid State” Drives but what do I do with data on a “Hybrid” Drives ? To solve this issue, we need to first provide a brief understanding of Hard Drives and the current acceptable methods of data elimination.

A “Rotational Magnetic Hard Drive” stores data on magnetically charged “platters”. These are the types of drives that one would find most commonly in a personal computer or file server. Because they are “magnetic”, the NSA guideline is a two step process to 1.“Degauss” the drive with a degausser that is listed on the NSA Evaluated Products List and 2. Physically Destroy the Drive.

A “Solid State” hard drive stores data on interconnected flash memory chips. Since the data is not magnetically stored, the only effective way to eliminate the “classified” data is to physically destroy the drive down to a particle size less than 2 mm.

But what about a Hybrid Drive that is a combination of Magnetic Platters AND Flash Memory Chips? You can’t just degauss it because the data stored on the Flash Memory Chips is still accessible. You can’t just physically destroy it because there are methods to extract data from physically destroyed drives. So what’s a security officer to do?

This is a dilemma that is currently facing the Intelligence Community. The most logical way is to perform a three step process in which you 1. “degauss” to erase the “platters” of the rotational portion of the drive; 2. remove the circuit board that holds the flash memory chips and physically destroy the “chips” down to the 2 mm particle size and 3. Physically destroy the rotational Hard Drive.

Since the elimination of classified data on hard drives is critical to National Security, a suggested solution would be to consider a Bundle (SEM Model HDD Bundle-1) available from SEM that provides all of the components to meet the NSA Guidelines……an NSA Listed Degausser (Model TS-1), a Hard Drive Crusher (Model 0101) to physically destroy the Rotational Hard Drive and a Disintegrator (Model 2-VK/SSD) to disintegrate the Circuit Board that holds the Flash Memory Chips that are located on the Hybrid Drive.


The formula is as follows


Mobile Cart included in Bundle




NSA recommended “System” to Eliminate CLASSIFIED Data on Rotational, Solid State and Hybrid HARD DRIVES

Model TS-1 NSA Listed Magnetic / Rotational HDD


Model 0101 Rotational HDD Crusher

Model 2-VK/SSD

Solid State HDD Disintegrator

For more information on the above “Bundle” or any of the Information Destruction solutions available from SEM, visit our web site at www.semshred.com

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