Easy to destroy media??

Discussion in 'Computer Security' started by Anonymous, Mar 5, 2007.

  1. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    I have some sensitive files encrypted with GPG. I want to have the option of quickly destroying the PGP keys for those files in case the files into the wrong hands.

    Thumb drives look like they would be too hard to destroy. Printing the keys on paper would be easy to destroy but OCR is too unreliable.

    Is there some other portable media which can easily be destroyed by burning or shredding?
     
    Anonymous, Mar 5, 2007
    #1
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  2. Anonymous

    Bogwitch Guest

    Anonymous wrote:
    > I have some sensitive files encrypted with GPG. I want to have the option of quickly destroying the PGP keys for those files in case the files into the wrong hands.
    >
    > Thumb drives look like they would be too hard to destroy. Printing the keys on paper would be easy to destroy but OCR is too unreliable.
    >
    > Is there some other portable media which can easily be destroyed by burning or shredding?


    The more 'easily destroyable' your key is, the more likely it will
    accidentally be destroyed...

    Floppy disks may be the the answer. The innards can be accessed in a
    fairly short time and burning would render them unreadable. Shredding
    would render them unreadable to all but the most well-resourced attacker.

    Why not encrypt file with a standard single file encryption/ partition
    encryption and use a strong password/passphrase? That way you will not
    need to destry GPG keys, you just don't give the password.

    This does raise an interesting question. What _would_ be the best way to
    store data that is secure, yet destroyable?

    Bogwitch
     
    Bogwitch, Mar 6, 2007
    #2
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  3. On 5 Mar 2007 23:38:05 -0000, Anonymous <Use-Author-Supplied-Address@[127.1]>
    wrote:

    >
    >I have some sensitive files encrypted with GPG. I want to have the option of quickly
    >destroying the PGP keys for those files in case the files into the wrong hands.
    >
    >Thumb drives look like they would be too hard to destroy. Printing the keys on paper
    >would be easy to destroy but OCR is too unreliable.


    >Is there some other portable media which can easily be
    >destroyed by burning or shredding?


    You want portable media easily destroyed by shredding or fire. What media
    doesn't fit that bill?

    Floppy, CD-R, DVD-R, zip disk (maybe not shredding, but fire or smashing with a
    hammer), LS-120 disks, SD Card, Mini-SD, Micro-SD, (in fact, all of the current
    memory cards) are all easily disposed of, and all (save floppy) are pretty
    reliable.

    I'd have more trouble thinking of a portable media that is rugged.
     
    Johann Beretta, Mar 6, 2007
    #3
  4. Anonymous

    Jim Watt Guest

    On 5 Mar 2007 23:38:05 -0000, Anonymous
    <Use-Author-Supplied-Address@[127.1]> wrote:

    >
    >I have some sensitive files encrypted with GPG. I want to have the option of quickly destroying the PGP keys for those files in case the files into the wrong hands.
    >
    >Thumb drives look like they would be too hard to destroy. Printing the keys on paper would be easy to destroy but OCR is too unreliable.
    >
    >Is there some other portable media which can easily be destroyed by burning or shredding?


    Use a CD to destroy inset in a
    microwave and fry for 20 seconds

    Test is with an AOL disk :)
    --
    Jim Watt
    http://www.gibnet.com
     
    Jim Watt, Mar 6, 2007
    #4
  5. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    In article <9l2Hh.29499$>, Bogwitch <> wrote:

    > Anonymous wrote:
    > > I have some sensitive files encrypted with GPG. I want to have the option
    > > of quickly destroying the PGP keys for those files in case the files into
    > > the wrong hands.
    > >
    > > Thumb drives look like they would be too hard to destroy. Printing the keys
    > > on paper would be easy to destroy but OCR is too unreliable.
    > >
    > > Is there some other portable media which can easily be destroyed by burning
    > > or shredding?

    >
    > The more 'easily destroyable' your key is, the more likely it will
    > accidentally be destroyed...


    True, I'm dealing with that.


    > Floppy disks may be the the answer. The innards can be accessed in a
    > fairly short time and burning would render them unreadable. Shredding
    > would render them unreadable to all but the most well-resourced attacker.


    That's a good idea, I was hoping for something pocket sized though.

    > Why not encrypt file with a standard single file encryption/ partition
    > encryption and use a strong password/passphrase? That way you will not
    > need to destry GPG keys, you just don't give the password.


    I want to be able to testify truthfully as to what the password is and have that be useless because no keys can be found.

    I also want to eliminate _any_ chance of the password being cracked by keeping the keys off of the computer which holds the files.

    > This does raise an interesting question. What _would_ be the best way to
    > store data that is secure, yet destroyable?



    I don't know. Another thought is maybe a big magnet in the office, would that wipe out a thumb drive??


    Thanks for your reply
     
    Anonymous, Mar 6, 2007
    #5
  6. Jim Watt <_way> wrote:

    > Use a CD to destroy inset in a
    > microwave and fry for 20 seconds
    >
    > Test is with an AOL disk :)


    Do NOT test it with a Windows CD, though:
    http://ars.userfriendly.org/cartoons/?id=19990228

    Juergen Nieveler
    --
    He's not dead, Jim, he's metaphysically challenged
     
    Juergen Nieveler, Mar 6, 2007
    #6
  7. Anonymous

    Unruh Guest

    Anonymous <Use-Author-Supplied-Address@[127.1]> writes:


    >In article <9l2Hh.29499$>, Bogwitch <> wrote:


    >> Anonymous wrote:
    >> > I have some sensitive files encrypted with GPG. I want to have the option
    >> > of quickly destroying the PGP keys for those files in case the files into
    >> > the wrong hands.
    >> >
    >> > Thumb drives look like they would be too hard to destroy. Printing the keys
    >> > on paper would be easy to destroy but OCR is too unreliable.
    >> >
    >> > Is there some other portable media which can easily be destroyed by burning
    >> > or shredding?

    >>
    >> The more 'easily destroyable' your key is, the more likely it will
    >> accidentally be destroyed...


    >True, I'm dealing with that.



    >> Floppy disks may be the the answer. The innards can be accessed in a
    >> fairly short time and burning would render them unreadable. Shredding
    >> would render them unreadable to all but the most well-resourced attacker.


    >That's a good idea, I was hoping for something pocket sized though.


    >> Why not encrypt file with a standard single file encryption/ partition
    >> encryption and use a strong password/passphrase? That way you will not
    >> need to destry GPG keys, you just don't give the password.


    >I want to be able to testify truthfully as to what the password is and have that be useless because no keys can be found.


    It is in most jurisdictions illegal to destroy evidence.



    >I also want to eliminate _any_ chance of the password being cracked by keeping the keys off of the computer which holds the files.


    >> This does raise an interesting question. What _would_ be the best way to
    >> store data that is secure, yet destroyable?



    >I don't know. Another thought is maybe a big magnet in the office, would that wipe out a thumb drive??


    No. they are not magnetic. And besides a big magnet will not even destroy
    a hard drive or floppy disk. It needs to be a very verystrong alternating
    magnetic field. But fire is far more effective.

    >Thanks for your reply
     
    Unruh, Mar 6, 2007
    #7
  8. Anonymous <Use-Author-Supplied-Address@[127.1]> wrote:

    > I want to be able to testify truthfully as to what the password is and
    > have that be useless because no keys can be found.


    Where's the point in that? You can claim that it's the right password
    as long as you like - nobody can verify that information, therefore the
    people doing the interrogation will assume that you're still lying.

    Juergen Nieveler
    --
    "I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully"
    George W. Bush --Saginaw, Mich., Sept. 29, 2000
     
    Juergen Nieveler, Mar 6, 2007
    #8
  9. Anonymous

    Jim Watt Guest

    On 6 Mar 2007 15:03:58 GMT, Juergen Nieveler
    <> wrote:

    >Jim Watt <_way> wrote:
    >
    >> Use a CD to destroy inset in a
    >> microwave and fry for 20 seconds
    >>
    >> Test is with an AOL disk :)

    >
    >Do NOT test it with a Windows CD, though:
    >http://ars.userfriendly.org/cartoons/?id=19990228


    There is that possibility.

    However, it is also worth mentioning that you
    should only zap it for as long as necessary as
    running your microwave without a load is bad for
    the magnetron and really will 'crash' it.

    Short of a heavy duty shredder its a good way
    of disposing of optical media as breaking them
    is messy.
    --
    Jim Watt
    http://www.gibnet.com
     
    Jim Watt, Mar 6, 2007
    #9
  10. On Tue, 6 Mar 2007 16:15:00 +0100 (CET), Unruh <>
    wrote:

    <snip>

    >It is in most jurisdictions illegal to destroy evidence.


    <snip>

    AFTER you have been presented with a subpeona. One can destroy evidence all day
    long with no legal ramifications if it hasn't been requested. (in the US at
    least)
     
    Johann Beretta, Mar 7, 2007
    #10
  11. "Anonymous" <Use-Author-Supplied-Address@[127.1]> wrote in message
    news:...
    >
    > I have some sensitive files encrypted with GPG. I want to have the option
    > of quickly destroying the PGP keys for those files in case the files into
    > the wrong hands.
    >
    > Thumb drives look like they would be too hard to destroy. Printing the
    > keys on paper would be easy to destroy but OCR is too unreliable.
    >
    > Is there some other portable media which can easily be destroyed by
    > burning or shredding?
    >
    >
    >

    I think the previous serious replies are all good, but something here does
    not sound right.

    Seems to me you are looking for something like 'flash paper' used by the
    numbers racket over the years. Written with a bar code printer, read with a
    grocery scanner.
    Quickly dosposed of, as far as I can tell, only has implications in
    international espionage or crime rings.

    In the end, it will be obvious that you have taken steps to conceal
    something, and you get suspicion (guilt) by association.
    ........ ?

    Stuart
     
    Stuart Miller, Mar 7, 2007
    #11
  12. Anonymous

    Anthony T Guest

    Who cares if the key is destroyed. Just tell the cops that somehow the key
    was destroyed. The evidence is the encrypted file, not the key. You never
    destroyed any evidence.


    "Stuart Miller" <> wrote in message
    news:ckrHh.1260252$R63.180171@pd7urf1no...
    >
    > "Anonymous" <Use-Author-Supplied-Address@[127.1]> wrote in message
    > news:...
    >>
    >> I have some sensitive files encrypted with GPG. I want to have the option
    >> of quickly destroying the PGP keys for those files in case the files into
    >> the wrong hands.
    >>
    >> Thumb drives look like they would be too hard to destroy. Printing the
    >> keys on paper would be easy to destroy but OCR is too unreliable.
    >>
    >> Is there some other portable media which can easily be destroyed by
    >> burning or shredding?
    >>
    >>
    >>

    > I think the previous serious replies are all good, but something here does
    > not sound right.
    >
    > Seems to me you are looking for something like 'flash paper' used by the
    > numbers racket over the years. Written with a bar code printer, read with
    > a grocery scanner.
    > Quickly dosposed of, as far as I can tell, only has implications in
    > international espionage or crime rings.
    >
    > In the end, it will be obvious that you have taken steps to conceal
    > something, and you get suspicion (guilt) by association.
    > ....... ?
    >
    > Stuart
    >
    >
    >
     
    Anthony T, Mar 7, 2007
    #12
  13. Anonymous

    Guest

    Rice paper
    Just drop it in water or leave it in the rain.
    Use kitchen colouring as ink.
    Keep it in a freezer bag.
     
    , Mar 7, 2007
    #13
  14. Anonymous

    vedaal Guest

    On Mar 5, 6:38 pm, Anonymous <Use-Author-Supplied-Address@[127.1]>
    wrote:

    > Printing the keys on paper would be easy to destroy but OCR is too unreliable.


    try using courier 10 bold font, and any 'pro' OCR
    and turn off any grammar , spellcheck, or word for windows formatting
    options in the OCR software

    you might need to insert blank lines in they are omitted, but
    otherwise the keys should scan in ok


    vedaal
     
    vedaal, Mar 7, 2007
    #14
  15. Jim Watt <_way> wrote:

    > Short of a heavy duty shredder its a good way
    > of disposing of optical media as breaking them
    > is messy.


    Scratching the TOP side of the CD with a key or a screwdriver also
    works rather well.

    The lower side of the CD is pure polycarbonate, and difficult to
    scratch, but the upper side is only very thin, you can scratch the
    reflective layer very easily.

    Juergen Nieveler
    --
    I want to be what I was when I wanted to be what I am now
     
    Juergen Nieveler, Mar 7, 2007
    #15
  16. Anonymous

    Bogwitch Guest

    Anonymous wrote:
    > In article <9l2Hh.29499$>, Bogwitch <> wrote:
    >
    >> Anonymous wrote:


    [snip]

    >> Floppy disks may be the the answer. The innards can be accessed in a
    >> fairly short time and burning would render them unreadable. Shredding
    >> would render them unreadable to all but the most well-resourced attacker.

    >
    > That's a good idea, I was hoping for something pocket sized though.


    How small are your pockets! :)

    >> Why not encrypt file with a standard single file encryption/ partition
    >> encryption and use a strong password/passphrase? That way you will not
    >> need to destry GPG keys, you just don't give the password.

    >
    > I want to be able to testify truthfully as to what the password is and have that be useless because no keys can be found.
    >
    > I also want to eliminate _any_ chance of the password being cracked by keeping the keys off of the computer which holds the files.


    Have you considered using the hidden container feature within TrueCrypt?
    It would give you a level of 'plausible deniability' that it appears you
    are seeking. If nothing else, how about storing the keys in a hidden
    container?

    > I don't know. Another thought is maybe a big magnet in the office, would that wipe out a thumb drive??


    I doubt a big magnet would have an effect on a flash memory stick.

    It would be possible to create a high voltage USB socket fitted with a
    large panic button. You could hold the usb memory device in that and if
    the panic button is depressed, the memory chip can be destroyed. You
    would have to mess about with getting the voltages right and probably
    write off a few keys in the process. It is possible tha memory devices
    are protected by buffer circuitry to prevent damage in such an event, as
    I said, experimentation would be required.

    Bogwitch.
     
    Bogwitch, Mar 7, 2007
    #16
  17. Anonymous

    Mike Huskey Guest

    On 5 Mar 2007 23:38:05 -0000, Anonymous <Use-Author-Supplied-Address@[127.1]>
    wrote:

    >Is there some other portable media which can easily be destroyed by burning or shredding?


    Install an old 5.25 floppy drive. The 5.25 floppy disks can easily be cut with
    standard scissors.

    Vista - The "Woe" Starts Now.
     
    Mike Huskey, Mar 8, 2007
    #17
  18. Anonymous

    Guest

    In article <iNHHh.44937$>,
    says...
    >
    > I doubt a big magnet would have an effect on a flash memory stick.
    >
    > It would be possible to create a high voltage USB socket fitted with a
    > large panic button. You could hold the usb memory device in that and if
    > the panic button is depressed, the memory chip can be destroyed. You
    > would have to mess about with getting the voltages right and probably
    > write off a few keys in the process. It is possible tha memory devices
    > are protected by buffer circuitry to prevent damage in such an event, as
    > I said, experimentation would be required.
    >


    And unfortunately the circuits around the memory cells would burn out
    long before current hit them leaving the memory possibly damaged
    but maybe readable to any agency capable of moleculare diagnosis. (i.e.
    Any government or large corporation)
    Magnets - even large powerful ones are no use against any media - even
    floppy disks. You'd be amazed at how resiliant magnetic domains an be.
    Grinding such devices into very fine dust is probably the safest bet.
    I cant think of a single way to quickly ensure they are safely wiped from
    really determined or well funded recovery.
     
    , Mar 8, 2007
    #18
  19. Anonymous

    Jim Watt Guest

    On 7 Mar 2007 15:12:34 GMT, Juergen Nieveler
    <> wrote:

    >Jim Watt <_way> wrote:
    >
    >> Short of a heavy duty shredder its a good way
    >> of disposing of optical media as breaking them
    >> is messy.

    >
    >Scratching the TOP side of the CD with a key or a screwdriver also
    >works rather well.
    >
    >The lower side of the CD is pure polycarbonate, and difficult to
    >scratch, but the upper side is only very thin, you can scratch the
    >reflective layer very easily.


    Indeed, I recently purchased a professional disk polishing
    machine - not to be confused with the cheap crap ones.

    Disks which have been badly scratched and are unreadable
    can be restored to factory condition, including one that
    was knifed. However any scratches via the top are fatal.

    But for speed, security, and lack of mess the microwave
    is the final solution.
    --
    Jim Watt
    http://www.gibnet.com
     
    Jim Watt, Mar 9, 2007
    #19
  20. Anonymous

    scratch Guest

    On 5 Mar 2007 23:38:05 -0000, Anonymous
    <Use-Author-Supplied-Address@[127.1]> wrote:

    >
    >I have some sensitive files encrypted with GPG. I want to have the option of quickly destroying the PGP keys for those files in case the files into the wrong hands.
    >
    >Thumb drives look like they would be too hard to destroy. Printing the keys on paper would be easy to destroy but OCR is too unreliable.
    >
    >Is there some other portable media which can easily be destroyed by burning or shredding?


    Microwaving cd's and dvd's is always fun. Watch out for noxious
    vapors on some media chemistry. Think ziplock bag ;)
    Don't forget a glass of water to save your microwave.
     
    scratch, Mar 15, 2007
    #20
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