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  • "Most Amazing Disk Data Recovery Ever"

    while we all know that anytime reporters use hyperbole of the "oh my godz0r! this new hardware / software / service / penis cream is teh l33test evar!!1!" in their writing, it often winds up looking foolish... but i almost would agree that the headline chose in this article is accurate. at least to date, i am unaware of a forensic disk recovery more badass than this...

    Most amazing disk data recovery ever
    It was one of the most iconic and heart-stopping movie images of 2003: the Columbia Space Shuttle ignited, burning and crashing to earth in fragments. Now, amazingly, data from a hard drive recovered from the fragments has been used to complete a physics experiment - CXV-2 - that took place on the doomed Shuttle mission.

    Columbia's fragments were painstakingly and exhaustively collected. Amongst them was a 400MB Seagate hard drive which was in the sort of shape you think it would be in after being in an explosive fire and then hurled to earth from several miles up with a ferocious impact. ...

    sent it on to Kroll Ontrack in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to see if the data, any data, could be recovered. ... The Kroll people managed to recover 90 percent or so of the 400MB of data from the drive with its cracked and burned casing. (emphases mine)
    i've seen Scott Moulton talk about this field and it's always amazingly interesting to me.

    If i could choose one additional area of tech expertise that i could go total rock star on (say, if a fairy godmother were fulfilling my wish for training and funding for the equipment necessary to get into the field) i would really wish to be way hipper than I am with data forensics. It's wickedly-lucrative work if you do it for profit, but also it'd be amazingly cool to be able to help out friends who are stuck in a jam. I did a disk component swap once a while back, on a single platter drive, and it was a little hair-raising but effective. It would be so cool to have my own clean room and the technology to do this in a more proper way.

    But this level of data recovery is just outlandish... they didn't say what type of drive it was, whether commercial off-the shelf or a specialized/ruggedized product. I"d be interested to know more. And to see actual photos of what shape it was in when recovered from the crash site. The whole article is a good read, and is also quite short... check the link.
    "I'll admit I had an OiNK account and frequented it quite often… What made OiNK a great place was that it was like the world's greatest record store… iTunes kind of feels like Sam Goody to me. I don't feel cool when I go there. I'm tired of seeing John Mayer's face pop up. I feel like I'm being hustled when I visit there, and I don't think their product is that great. DRM, low bit rate, etc... OiNK it existed because it filled a void of what people want."
    - Trent Reznor

  • #2
    Re: "Most Amazing Disk Data Recovery Ever"

    Originally posted by Deviant Ollam View Post
    But this level of data recovery is just outlandish... they didn't say what type of drive it was, whether commercial off-the shelf or a specialized/ruggedized product. I"d be interested to know more. And to see actual photos of what shape it was in when recovered from the crash site. The whole article is a good read, and is also quite short... check the link.
    Seagate ST9385AG
    http://www.computerworld.com/action/...icleId=9083718
    The model number is actually a 340MB HDD, but its the media...
    "\x74\x68\x65\x70\x72\x65\x7a\x39\x38";

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: "Most Amazing Disk Data Recovery Ever"

      Here's another story with details of the recovery:

      http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,354799,00.html

      And it is pretty freakin' amazing.
      Thorn
      "If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning." - Catherine Aird

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: "Most Amazing Disk Data Recovery Ever"

        Not trying to be a jerk when I say this but this doesn't seem to be that fantastic a recovery IMHO. The drive and platters were still in one piece. Though slightly pitted it wasn't like they were perforated with holes, and/or melted, and/or in multiple pieces. I think I would give Seagate kudos for making a drive that actually stayed in one piece. A drive that survived a lot of shock & force, explosive decompression, all sorts of electromagnetic radiation, and extreme heat.

        From what I've heard/read is that electronics used in space are typically 5 - 10 years behind state of the art and that it takes that long to prove that they will with stand the rigors of a space environment. The fact that they were using DOS rather than a UNIX variant is very strange. They must have different rules for software. You would figure that NASA was pretty much a UNIX shop in any type of software they used for operations that went into space.

        I'm actually at a loss for why DOS other than simple; possibly small foot print; but you can have some very small Unix foot prints. Even an embedded system you would think Unix or Linux rather than a licensed copy of DOS. Unless Microsoft gives it to them for free.

        >>>2001 A Space Odyssey Type Music<<<<<<<<

        DOS ......... IN .......... SPACE!!!!!!!!!


        I'm surprised Microsoft isn't milking that to death.


        xor

        I'm amazed that it was actually found. I love the way they piece back together all the little pieces of what's left after a plane crashes or some other disaster like the shuttle. Now that's amazing!!!!!!
        Last edited by xor; May 11, 2008, 20:35.
        Just because you can doesn't mean you should. This applies to making babies, hacking, and youtube videos.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: &quot;Most Amazing Disk Data Recovery Ever&quot;

          Originally posted by Deviant Ollam View Post
          while we all know that anytime reporters use hyperbole of the "oh my godz0r! this new hardware / software / service / penis cream is teh l33test evar!!1!" in their writing, it often winds up looking foolish... but i almost would agree that the headline chose in this article is accurate. at least to date, i am unaware of a forensic disk recovery more badass than this...

          Most amazing disk data recovery everi've seen Scott Moulton talk about this field and it's always amazingly interesting to me.

          If i could choose one additional area of tech expertise that i could go total rock star on (say, if a fairy godmother were fulfilling my wish for training and funding for the equipment necessary to get into the field) i would really wish to be way hipper than I am with data forensics. It's wickedly-lucrative work if you do it for profit, but also it'd be amazingly cool to be able to help out friends who are stuck in a jam. I did a disk component swap once a while back, on a single platter drive, and it was a little hair-raising but effective. It would be so cool to have my own clean room and the technology to do this in a more proper way.

          But this level of data recovery is just outlandish... they didn't say what type of drive it was, whether commercial off-the shelf or a specialized/ruggedized product. I"d be interested to know more. And to see actual photos of what shape it was in when recovered from the crash site. The whole article is a good read, and is also quite short... check the link.
          I've been bouncing around the idea of using a brand new sand blasting cabinet for a small clean room. Throw a good hepa filter on the thing, and it should be good enough for anything we'd use it for. I actually did the steamy bathroom thing once to pull the cover off a laptop drive so I could mod it with a window. Worked out pretty good. I had it in one of those clear ide to firewire enclosures for several years. The only reason I don't still have it is because I stripped down my collection of "junk" right before the move.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: &quot;Most Amazing Disk Data Recovery Ever&quot;

            It just goes to show you that you should grind hard drives platters to dust and then scatter the remains to the winds. Sort of what many would no doubt like to do to their mother in laws. :-)

            I actually liked the Barry method of hard drive disposal. :-)

            xor

            Actually DO I think there is more money to be made by coming up with a safe/rapid/non-destructive/certain method of destroying data on a hard drive.
            Last edited by xor; May 12, 2008, 05:32.
            Just because you can doesn't mean you should. This applies to making babies, hacking, and youtube videos.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: &quot;Most Amazing Disk Data Recovery Ever&quot;

              Originally posted by xor View Post
              It just goes to show you that you should grind hard drives platters to dust and then scatter the remains to the winds. Sort of what many would no doubt like to do to their mother in laws. :-)

              xor

              Actually DO I think there is more money to be made by coming up with a safe/rapid/non-destructive/certain method of destroying data on a hard drive.
              I'll just stick with my eraser. Does this mean Seagate stock soars since their drives can survive even this? I just hope they don't do some "sicko add" based on it all.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: &quot;Most Amazing Disk Data Recovery Ever&quot;

                Originally posted by xor View Post
                It just goes to show you that you should grind hard drives platters to dust and then scatter the remains to the winds. Sort of what many would no doubt like to do to their mother in laws. :-)

                I actually liked the Barry method of hard drive disposal. :-)

                xor

                Actually DO I think there is more money to be made by coming up with a safe/rapid/non-destructive/certain method of destroying data on a hard drive.

                Actually one of my previous jobs was developing an (mostly) automated data destruction system for an e-scrap firm. We received a stream of used hard drives from universities and the like, and were contractually obligated to scrub them upon arrival. What this turned into was Project Ungoliant which had a set of 32 thin clients with exposed IDE/SATA cables which would netboot off the Linux controller and run a shell shell script from there to scrub anything attached to the thin client based on one of the 7-pass NATO standards.

                Sadly the company laid everyone off and closed its doors before fully deployment, but I still have the code and procedures kicking around if I ever feel like rebuilding it for my own purposes.

                For single hosts, though, I've generally had pretty good luck with DBAN. Although once or twice it somehow messed up my drive's layout in such a way that FreeBSD couldn't partition it anymore, but I think I learned that running a pass of all 0s at the end of the random pass fixed that particular issue.

                As to hardware solutions, at the warehouse, we actually had a very old early 90s era suitcase with an embedded controller and a couple LCD screens and exposed cables which could clone a drive. I imagine such things exist, or could be made, for wiping as well.
                " 'Yields falsehood when preceded by its quotation' yields falsehood when preceded by its quotation."
                - Willard Orman Van Quine

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: &quot;Most Amazing Disk Data Recovery Ever&quot;

                  Originally posted by moleprince View Post
                  Actually one of my previous jobs was developing an (mostly) automated data destruction system for an e-scrap firm. We received a stream of used hard drives from universities and the like, and were contractually obligated to scrub them upon arrival. What this turned into was Project Ungoliant which had a set of 32 thin clients with exposed IDE/SATA cables which would netboot off the Linux controller and run a shell shell script from there to scrub anything attached to the thin client based on one of the 7-pass NATO standards.

                  Sadly the company laid everyone off and closed its doors before fully deployment, but I still have the code and procedures kicking around if I ever feel like rebuilding it for my own purposes.

                  For single hosts, though, I've generally had pretty good luck with DBAN. Although once or twice it somehow messed up my drive's layout in such a way that FreeBSD couldn't partition it anymore, but I think I learned that running a pass of all 0s at the end of the random pass fixed that particular issue.

                  As to hardware solutions, at the warehouse, we actually had a very old early 90s era suitcase with an embedded controller and a couple LCD screens and exposed cables which could clone a drive. I imagine such things exist, or could be made, for wiping as well.
                  I've seen systems that clone drives from one to many that have a secure erase function. Spendy things, but if you're deploying a shit-ton of systems, it's worth it.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: &quot;Most Amazing Disk Data Recovery Ever&quot;

                    A note about the OP: The drive was in a big metal rack enclosure presumably to keep it stable and shock resistant. Other photo's I've seen show the drive in it and it seems to have taken the brunt of the damage. The other drives mentioned in the article that were not recoverable may not have been in such an enclosure.

                    Still, it's damn amazing that they got anything at all. Though it's interesting to use this as a flip example of how hard it can be to destroy data.
                    Never drink anything larger than your head!





                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: &quot;Most Amazing Disk Data Recovery Ever&quot;

                      I have used Kroll Ontrack to do data recovery for us on two different occasions. To say those guys work miracles is very close to the truth.
                      DaKahuna
                      ___________________
                      Will Hack for Bandwidth

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: &quot;Most Amazing Disk Data Recovery Ever&quot;

                        i want to know how they actually get the info off =)

                        it would be helpful to have that ability... xD
                        unda est terminus. is iuguolo ambitus.

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