Data destruction with bolts of electricity: True or False?

Tuesday, 3 November 2015 by Jennifer Duits

There are some pretty awesome and crazy videos in the world of IT. A lot of them stop and make you wonder if this is really possible or merely creative camera work. One of these videos creating a lot of buzz around our office today is courtesy of Photonicinduction and posted on Sploid.

Photonicinduction has created a video on how to erase data on a CD with using bolts of electricity. After seeing the short video below I wondered, is it really possible to erase all of the data and sought out our engineering team to verify.

Watch the video closely, but please DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME!!!

Wow! Right?  Now to explain what is happening. This is the basic build of a CD, layer by layer.

The data on the CD is written to the “Aluminium, Silver” layer. In the video, what you are seeing is the electricity burning the metal off in this recording layer.  Does it work? The answer is yes, with a minor caveat. Per David Logue, the Sr. Lead RDR Engineer at Ontrack: “As long as the voltage is high enough to remove the entire layer, then yes the data would be destroyed.”

Now in the full video below, Photonicinduction uses electricity to erase two CDs at once.



From the video you can see there is a small amount of the layer remaining on the disk. Will that small amount contain data? Yes! To recover it would be challenging and take a team of experts, but there is a possibility of recovery.

Being we are on the topic of fun data destruction, there is an older video/commercial created by our team in the Nordics on data destruction. Again, please DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME!!! Enjoy!