Understanding High Security Shredding and the New “DIN” Levels

August 17, 2012 at 9:17 am by SEM

What are DIN Levels?

din-66399-paperThe acronym DIN refers to the Deutsches Institut für Normung eV or German Institute for Standardization. It is a standard that helps qualify data destruction security levels used in the EU.

Even though the data destruction of the highest level of security (top secret/classified) in the USA is determined by those products that have been evaluated by the National Security Agency (NSA), the European DIN classifications have found their way into the USA dialogue. For example, in order to be compliant with the NSA standards for the destruction of top secret/classified/CUI data, a paper shredder must shred paper down to a 1mm x 5mm size and therefore appear on the NSA/CSS 02-01 Evaluated Products List. A DIN 66399 level 7 shredder also meets this standard.

As such, as the old math equation states, if A equals B and B equals C then A equals C (If NSA/CSS 02-01 equals 1mm x 5mm and 1mm x 5mm equals DIN level 6 then NSA/CSS equals DIN level 7). That is why many High Security Agencies sometimes request a level 7 paper shredder.

New DIN Standard: is it P-6 or P-7?

Does this all sound confusing? If so, it gets even more complicated.

The EU introduced a new DIN Classification called DIN 66399. While the previous DIN 32757 classifications ended at level 6, the 66399 DIN classes end at level P-7. What was once called a level 6 is now called a level P-7. Both of these levels have the same 1mm x 5mm shredded particle size.

Let’s do the math again, if A equals B and B equals C and C equals D, then A equals D. (If NSA/CSS 02-01 equals 1 mm x 5 mm and 1 mm x 5 mm equals DIN 32757 level 6 and DIN 32757 equals DIN 66399 level P-7 then NSA/CSS 02-01 equals DIN 66399 level P-7).

Are you confused yet? I was told that there would not be any math! Thank God wedon’t live in Europe and have to keep up with all these changes. You would need to have a special decoder ring to follow the standards.

What High Security Level Do I Follow in the USA?

If you are involved in top secret/classified/CUI information, you need to follow the guidelines set forth by the National Security Agency. They have an Evaluated Products List (EPL) for information that resides on a variety of media. These include paper, optical media (CDs/ DVDs/BDs), magnetic media (hard drives, data tapes, etc.), key tape, and other related forms of media that can be physically destroyed in a disintegrator.

You can find these EPLs at www.semshred.com/nsa_epl. As such, if you are asked to source a level 6 paper shredder or destroy top secret/classified/CUI information, you need to ask yourself, is this a level 6 under the old DIN 32757 or is it a level 6 under the new DIN 66399 guidelines which is really a level 5 under the old guidelines. Yikes!

In the end, all you really need to know is, has the unit been evaluated by the NSA and is it listed on the NSA/CSS Evaluated Products List? If so, you’re good to go. (Breathe a sigh of relief!)

For more information on High Security Paper Shredders and other media destruction devices that have been evaluated by the NSA, click here: High Security Shredders

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