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jlhredshift
2011-Dec-16, 01:42 AM
The whole story stinks.

When does the CIA admit anything.

Why is there duct tape on the wings of what Iran shows.

It is the electronics that have value, why haven't they opened it up?

Curtains around the base of it ??????

Splain Lucy, it makes no sense to me.

Extravoice
2011-Dec-16, 01:54 AM
I can't say for certain, but have some ideas.

1) Maybe they didn't want a repeat of the Francis Gary Powers incident. "We did not fly over your country." "I'm sorry, did you say something about a pilot?"

2) I suspect the thing crashed in something like a flat spin and the wings broke, but Iran is doing the best to make it look "presentable".

3) I imagine they opened it very carefully to avoid more damage to the craft. The guy opening it doesn't want to tell his boss that it had a really cool XYX-thingy inside, but he broke it when prying it open.

4) I agree it looks silly, but I suspect the bottom is badly damaged, and reference #2, above. Another idea is that the Tournament of Roses parade in Pasadena is coming up in a few weeks, and they plan to enter a float.

Of course, this is all speculation.

NickW
2011-Dec-16, 02:47 AM
The whole story stinks.

When does the CIA admit anything.

Why is there duct tape on the wings of what Iran shows.

It is the electronics that have value, why haven't they opened it up?

Curtains around the base of it ??????

Splain Lucy, it makes no sense to me.

1.) They made an oops and couldn't cover it up (enter favorite conspiracy here)

2.) Rednecks

3.) It was empty

4.) Presentation

While Extravoice only gives speculation, I give cold, hard facts. :)

Solfe
2011-Dec-16, 05:17 AM
I wonder about this aircraft. Since the US asked for it back, I can only assume it really is a US aircraft.

But looking at the photos makes me wonder about the whole story of how it came to land in Iran.

The color is really weird and to be honest, it looks rather "unfinished". I wonder if this is one of those test aircraft that survives flight tests only to be re-designated to an actual active duty aircraft. It would explain a lot about the lack of concern about its fate; what if this particular craft isn't exactly what a real active duty craft is?

Also, I believe the military actually announced they lost it days before it was shown on Iranian TV. That sort of statement might suggest the military was more concerned about where the craft crashed than what the craft was carrying.

I was unfamiliar with this type of drone before the incident, but now that I look at the pictures, it doesn't look all that manoeuvrable or fast. I wonder if it was "too stable, too slow" and it simply skidded to stop on flat ground. Improbable, but not impossible. Perhaps the Iranian photos are hiding the damage to the under body for that reason. Gear up vs gear down would prove if the craft was under control when it crashed or landed.

A smashed wing and duct tape is pretty insignificant touch up for a craft that smashed into the ground. Iran is doing a photo op, not an NTSB investigation.

publius
2011-Dec-16, 07:26 AM
I was unfamiliar with this type of drone before the incident, but now that I look at the pictures, it doesn't look all that manoeuvrable or fast. I wonder if it was "too stable, too slow" and it simply skidded to stop on flat ground. Improbable, but not impossible. Perhaps the Iranian photos are hiding the damage to the under body for that reason. Gear up vs gear down would prove if the craft was under control when it crashed or landed.



It's a *stealth* drone. Note how it resembles a B-2 bomber. Have you been reading about what's going on Iran lately? Lots of accidents and explosions at their nuclear facilities, and lots of key personnel in those programs getting shot in the face and stuff. Plus Stuxnet and the son of Stuxnet "weapons grade" viruses infecting the computers at those facilities doing things to mess up the program.

That drone was all part of that little hinderance. I'm sure we're in it, the Mossad, along with the Brits and Euroland.

Iran is now claiming they hacked into the drone's link and forced it to land in their territory. Could they do that? Probably not. But China (or Russia) could.... And you can be sure that drone's innards are being inspected by the Chinese right now.

This reminds of this story from a while back:

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/10/virus-hits-drone-fleet/

That worried me at the time. They just sort of announce, "Hey, somebody's putting a virus in our drone control system". China could do that, of course.

publius
2011-Dec-16, 07:30 AM
There may be a raging cyber war going on that we don't know about, one which might turn hot at any minute.

Space Chimp
2011-Dec-16, 11:20 AM
The President has publicly asked for the drone to be returned.

I'm sure the Iranians are wrapping it in Christmas paper with a pretty bow to be sent back as we speak. :rolleyes:

jlhredshift
2011-Dec-16, 01:38 PM
For that shape to be aerodynamically stable requires a sophisticated suite of electronics, control surfaces, and servos. Then, the electronics for whatever surveillance mission the craft was designed for would be added with the associated transmitters, receivers, and their antennas.

If the mission was covert and risky, it didn't have a self destruct capability because...???

LookingSkyward
2011-Dec-16, 01:43 PM
Speculation on my part, but I suspect the drone thought it was landing at it's home on auto-pilot. No need for boom.

Space Chimp
2011-Dec-16, 02:00 PM
For that shape to be aerodynamically stable requires a sophisticated suite of electronics, control surfaces, and servos. Then, the electronics for whatever surveillance mission the craft was designed for would be added with the associated transmitters, receivers, and their antennas.

If the mission was covert and risky, it didn't have a self destruct capability because...???

According to a BBC radio news show I listened to, a self-destruct device is considered too much of a hazard to the craft and it's ground crew. A built in bomb which can go off even with the jolt of a routine landing.

jlhredshift
2011-Dec-16, 02:05 PM
I suggest that we can build better devices than ones that go off with a jolt.

Swift
2011-Dec-16, 02:05 PM
Folks,

To say this topic is borderline is an understatement. For the moment, we're going to allow it, but it needs to stay completely on the technical aspects of this and stay completely out of politics. We already eliminated a similar thread from another member that started off even more political. There will be no further warning, if this gets out of hand it will be closed (and the option remains for infractions if warranted).

jlhredshift
2011-Dec-16, 02:27 PM
I also find it odd that the craft is devoid of markings. Usually there are faint and small identifiers.

Solfe
2011-Dec-16, 07:00 PM
Self-destruct is so 1960's. Besides, you already annoyed someone by flying over their country, no need to make it worse with a bomb.

I think the big technical aspect for drones is not electronics, but the ability to fly effectively. I bet the guidance systems are really cool, but the cameras and sensors are rather boring. Were I building a drone, I would put all of the sophisticated stuff in the bottom of the craft; logic being that on impact with something, they are rendered useless.

On the other hand, is it possible to build a tazer-like self-destruct? I am picturing a large capacitor that runs a huge jolt of electricity through the memory and such to burn it up. That would be pretty safe for people on the ground crews or other who try to recover a crashed drone.

I wonder if there would be a way to coat the whole interior of the drone with some sort a plastic/carbon foam? Annoying to remove, shorts out equipment and is safe for people. It could be deployed with gas like an airbag.

Ara Pacis
2011-Dec-16, 07:20 PM
I'm hesitant to post, but regarding the technical aspects, I have two thoughts.

1 - I don't think it's that hard to put in a safe self-destruct. Aircraft carry nuclear weapons with safeties too. The Mythbusters have shown how safe C4 and binary explosives are, so the issue is the electronic arming and detonation system. They could physically separate the blasting cap from the explosive and the trigger and use some sort of physical insertion technique (solenoids?) that require a special code to unlock, like a Permissive Action Link.

2 - Perhaps it's a Trojan Horse.

Delvo
2011-Dec-16, 08:11 PM
For that shape to be aerodynamically stable requires a sophisticated suite of electronics, control surfaces, and servos.Just standard stuff that lots of military and civilian planes from all industrialized countries have had for decades.


Then, the electronics for whatever surveillance mission the craft was designed for would be added with the associated transmitters, receivers, and their antennas.And/or onboard data storage. But again, that can all be pretty standard old technology that everybody's already familiar with.


If the mission was covert and risky, it didn't have a self destruct capability because...???That would have been pointless. Even if there were an electronics package in there that's particularly advanced, which might not be the case anyway, you could easily set it up to fry those bits without having to rig the whole plane to go "boom". Other than that, what is there to lose? A flying-wing frame, control flaps, engines, wheels... nothing special or mysterious or even new within the last few decades. The only thing left that I can think of to hide is a radar-absorbing skin, but the earliest type we used has already been known to foreigners since the crash of a Nighthawk a couple of decades ago. Each new kind of stealth plane we've had in service since the Nighthawks has used another new skin material, and Nighthawks are all decommissioned now, but the material it used hasn't stopped being radar-absorbing since then. So there's no reason the original material couldn't be used on a drone and still be pretty effective without any security risk at all.

Bobbar
2011-Dec-16, 08:28 PM
I suggest that we can build better devices than ones that go off with a jolt.

I maintain that most of our arsenal easily meets this requirement. Said 'self-destruct device' would never go off unless it was told to detonate. We're not talking about a box-o-wet-dynamite here.

Bobbar
2011-Dec-16, 08:30 PM
I'm hesitant to post, but regarding the technical aspects, I have two thoughts.

1 - I don't think it's that hard to put in a safe self-destruct. Aircraft carry nuclear weapons with safeties too. The Mythbusters have shown how safe C4 and binary explosives are, so the issue is the electronic arming and detonation system. They could physically separate the blasting cap from the explosive and the trigger and use some sort of physical insertion technique (solenoids?) that require a special code to unlock, like a Permissive Action Link.

2 - Perhaps it's a Trojan Horse.

That would be epic!

kamaz
2011-Dec-16, 08:54 PM
1 - I don't think it's that hard to put in a safe self-destruct. Aircraft carry nuclear weapons with safeties too. The Mythbusters have shown how safe C4 and binary explosives are, so the issue is the electronic arming and detonation system.


No. The issue is that the adversary has seized control of the drone and made it land in one piece. If the adversary has managed to seize control of the remotely controlled drone, it is also capable of seizing control of the drone's remotely controlled self-destruct system. So the adversary is capable of either disabling said system, or, even worse, remotely triggering it -- in which case it gains capacity to blow up your drones.

If the drone was equipped with an autonomous system which triggered on unauthorized entry attempt, then if said system silently failed to disarm upon safe landing, the drone would become a deathtrap for your own technicians.

Paradoxically, this is more difficult than designing a safety system for a bomb. A bomb goes from "safe" to "deadly" state on the condition that everything works -- so a malfunctioning bomb will remain in a "safe" state. The worst thing which can happen is that your enemy will be hit with a bomb which does not go off -- no tactical objective is achieved, but no losses for you also. But with the drone, you want it to switch from "safe" to "deadly" on take-off and then switch back from "deadly" to "safe" on landing. If it fails to do the second switch, then you have a drone in "deadly" state landing on your airport. Even worse, you may honestly believe that your drone has switched back from "deadly" to "safe" when it did not, in which case it will blow up on your own unsuspecting people.

Ara Pacis
2011-Dec-16, 10:24 PM
No. The issue is that the adversary has seized control of the drone and made it land in one piece. If the adversary has managed to seize control of the remotely controlled drone, it is also capable of seizing control of the drone's remotely controlled self-destruct system. So the adversary is capable of either disabling said system, or, even worse, remotely triggering it -- in which case it gains capacity to blow up your drones. That assumes the signals would be part of the same communications system and would use the same commands and encryption and/or be processed by the same receiver and/or antenna. An enemy might be able to understand signals it intercepts between the remote control and the drone by listening in because the drone might be receiving such commands as a matter of course. It's less likely that an enemy would intercept and replicate a self-destruct command that it has never before seen because it has never before been necessary to send.


If the drone was equipped with an autonomous system which triggered on unauthorized entry attempt, then if said system silently failed to disarm upon safe landing, the drone would become a deathtrap for your own technicians. I wasn't referring to an autonomous system, I was referring to a remotely triggered system.


Paradoxically, this is more difficult than designing a safety system for a bomb. A bomb goes from "safe" to "deadly" state on the condition that everything works -- so a malfunctioning bomb will remain in a "safe" state. The worst thing which can happen is that your enemy will be hit with a bomb which does not go off -- no tactical objective is achieved, but no losses for you also. But with the drone, you want it to switch from "safe" to "deadly" on take-off and then switch back from "deadly" to "safe" on landing. If it fails to do the second switch, then you have a drone in "deadly" state landing on your airport. Even worse, you may honestly believe that your drone has switched back from "deadly" to "safe" when it did not, in which case it will blow up on your own unsuspecting people.Except that's not what I suggested. I suggested a self-destruct bomb that didn't even assemble and arm itself until remotely instructed (as part of the self-destruct process).

jlhredshift
2011-Dec-16, 11:16 PM
Ok, so the consensus is that there is no security risk?

Extravoice
2011-Dec-17, 01:19 AM
I'm sure that anyone who deploys drone aircraft in potentially hostile areas assumes that one will eventually fall into unfriendly hands and plans accordingly. That doesn't mean they would be happy about it, though.

publius
2011-Dec-17, 01:55 PM
The latest is -- and this is from Pentagon leaks, so take it for what it's worth -- is the drone just crashed for whatever reason and wasn't the victim of any cyber attack. The leakers claim the plane being displayed wasn't even the right color, and the Iranians just reassembled the pieces(duct tape?) and painted it to help cover the damage.

About "self-destruct" means. While such is certainly highly classified and there's probably disinformation put out there, I've read the sensitive electronics do have means to wipe data instantly and destroy the electronics physically. It's not a bomb or anything that would blow up, just something that basically burns/melts everything. It may be something akin to thermite. Just build you circuit boards on this material, or embed it inside, and if you initiate the reaction, it just burns everything up a high temperature.

I always figured that if I needed to destroy a hard drive in a hurry, I'd take my cutting torch to it. Heck, a welder would do the same quickly as well. Boring holes through it quickly with a drill bit is another good method, although to be be sure I'd want to melt it. Let the high temperature scramble all those ordered patterns into randomness quickly.

Swift
2011-Dec-17, 04:42 PM
I always figured that if I needed to destroy a hard drive in a hurry, I'd take my cutting torch to it. Heck, a welder would do the same quickly as well. Boring holes through it quickly with a drill bit is another good method, although to be be sure I'd want to melt it. Let the high temperature scramble all those ordered patterns into randomness quickly.
During WWII my dad was in the Army Signal Corp and operated a cryptography machine. They weren't in a forward position, but they were close enough to the front line that precautions were taken in case they were overrun. The self-destruct for the machine was a thermite device on top of it. If the machine had to be destroyed, they would set off the thermite, which would almost instantly drop molten iron into it.

I suspect that would also be effective for hard drives.

TJMac
2011-Dec-17, 07:32 PM
I always figured that if I needed to destroy a hard drive in a hurry, I'd take my cutting torch to it. Heck, a welder would do the same quickly as well. Boring holes through it quickly with a drill bit is another good method, although to be be sure I'd want to melt it. Let the high temperature scramble all those ordered patterns into randomness quickly.

I have a couple old, non-working harddrives laying about. I suddenly want to fire up a torch and see what happens when they warm up a little. :cool:

(and WHY oh why is there not a "mad scientist" emoticon?)

TJ

Nicolas
2011-Dec-17, 07:35 PM
The Trojan Horse theory really tickles the imagination. :)

I cannot imagine they built these things without at least the smallest forms of safety regarding the technology inside.

publius
2011-Dec-17, 08:04 PM
Speaking of thermite, put "thermite hard drive self destruct" into Google and you'll find some interesting hits and videos. The idea was to make a self-destruct module to put in the comptuter case, to fit in a drive bay, and then activate by a remote ignition system. Some of the crude attempts are fun to watch, but too much pyrotechnics for indoors. You'd probably set the building on fire doing that. Good idea, but they need to work on a containment system -- melt the innards but don't spill out. The idea would be to have an instant self-destruct that would melt and burn up the hard drives and data storage at a moments notice, such as when the FBI is knocking the door down or whatever. :lol:

As near as I can figure, boring a hole, several holes through the platters is a darn good way to render it unrecoverable. If the platters can't be spun up, that eliminates all but the most sophisticated recovery techniques. By burning it up, you of course make sure the information is truly gone, but there's probably no need to go that far.

So based on that, if I were trying to rig a hard drive self-destruct system, I'd go for something to quickly punch holes through it, rather than it burning it up. That would eliminate the fire problem. You could probably rig something with nail guns or powder-actuated tools.

HenrikOlsen
2011-Dec-17, 08:10 PM
I remember reading about the guy who used to run a mail anonymizer.
It was claimed that he had the server in a bathtub with thermite so he could destroy it in case police showed up with a seizure warrant, to which my response was "this means all they have to do is show up, knock on the door, call an ambulance and the fire department, then arrest his fried remains for arson".

publius
2011-Dec-17, 09:06 PM
Thinking about it, I think this is what I'd rig for crude moment's notice hard drive destruction system. Use an external hard drive for the sensitive data. Have a chop saw at the ready. FBI/CIA/Mossad/SPECTRE comes knocking, yank the drive loose, put it in the chop saw and slice it in two quickly. Only problem is power failure, or the FBI/Mossad cut the power before they come in. So you'd want a battery powered cordless cutoff tool or side grinder as backup. A think wheeled grinder would be slow, since the kerf would be wide, so you definitely want a thin cutoff wheel. A pick axe might be a brute force backup, but I'd want to practice to learn the best techique for quickly knocking a hole in it.

In a pinch, just shooting it would do the trick (and you could shoot down through the drive bays in a computer case, too), but a gunshot in the middle of a raid wouldn't work out too well for you, I don't think. :lol:

Nicolas
2011-Dec-17, 09:34 PM
Just a hand powered meat grinder (or a grinder for cattle food, nice accent in your interior :)) with a good sized flywheel. Turn up to speed, aim hard drive in grinder, keep turning.

Solfe
2011-Dec-18, 01:16 AM
Placing floppies in a microwave is pretty effective, but it smells horrible. I wonder if that would do in a hard drive.

HenrikOlsen
2011-Dec-18, 02:36 AM
The case would isolate the platters, so no.

Unless you keep it there until the whole thing gets above the curie point of the magnetic material.

And Publius, your approach would leave a hard disk with 95+% of the data recoverable with the right tools and incentive enough. Which we're assuming is there since we're talking military intelligence gathering.

publius
2011-Dec-18, 11:19 AM
And Publius, your approach would leave a hard disk with 95+% of the data recoverable with the right tools and incentive enough. Which we're assuming is there since we're talking military intelligence gathering.

At what cost? We cut a hard drive in two with a chop saw, cutting the platters in two, not to mention opening it up and contaminating said platters with dust and lots of particulate material. Those platters will likely never spin again and the hard drive unit itself will never work again. To recover the data, we'd had to map the magnetic state of the tracks on the platters statically some how, a daunting task, and that puts it well beyond any commerical data recovery.

I read a piece about this a while back and I remember the author defying anyone to present a case of a hard drive destroyed in this manner ever being forensically recovered.

Could the NSA and their equivalents do it? Probably could, but it would be a major undertaking and they'd spend untold money doing it.

publius
2011-Dec-18, 11:34 AM
And just to be clear. If I had the time to destroy a hard drive at leisure, I'd use my cutting torch, melting it down to slag, and hitting the O2 lever to oxidize the devil out of the molten mass. But what to do when you only have seconds to do it and don't want to rig something that will cost a fortune or likely burn the premises down?

Okay. If we have a chop saw at the ready, maybe we have a little portable O/A rig, the ones with the tiny cylinders, right next to it. :lol: We chop it in two, and if they haven't yet managed to break down the door and have the guns in your face, you fire up the torch and and start burning the insides of the two pieces.

publius
2011-Dec-18, 12:11 PM
http://whereismydata.wordpress.com/2009/07/07/how-do-you-destroy-a-hard-drive/




Often, the answers involve “the only thing that destroys a hard drive is thermite” or “wipe the drive 100 times, then grind it up into a fine dust and then melt the dust”.

These statements almost certainly come from those who have never been in a data recovery clean room, and certainly never worked in one.

Destroying data, on a hard drive, is relatively easy and can be done one of two ways:

1) Wiping the entire hard drive. Just once. Not 3 or 32 or 320 times

2) Destroying the platters. Once the platters are destroyed recovery is impossible.

The latter option can be achieved by a variety of ways, such as drilling the hard drive. In theory “somebody” could read the data around the holes, though no commercial company would ever do that. As the governments outsource their major data recovery work, to commerical companies, from the NASA Columbia disaster to international terrorist incidents if its very technical and very important it gets outsourced. Therefore who exactly “somebody” is, is unclear.

The idea that overwritten data, on a modern hard drive, can be recovered is just fanciful. Nobody has ever recovered data an overwritten modern drive, and nobody has said they can, it’s merely a theory, an old theory that was never tested or proved. However, when this theory was tested, it was not possible



In another post, he makes a simple challenge. Take an old hard drive. Open it up and take a tool and scratch the platters, Send it to a data recovery company, the ones the governments themselves use for data recovery. See what they tell you. They'll charge you a couple hundred dollars just for the diagnostics.

Arneb
2011-Dec-18, 12:42 PM
Would that mean that my fancy data erasure program boasting "that's how the Pentagon are doing it" and sporting 7-times-over wiping of the disk and the rewriting with random numbers was a waste of money? :evil:

One more idea, if it helps: I once erased a stack of floppies by rubbing a strong magnet over it. Afterwards, my computer told me nopt to bother it with such unreadable crap. Would everyone agree that that was enough for data safety? Maybe your hard disk could be ruined by a contraption that manages to bring the spinning disk into close contact with such a magne at the desired timet?

I am probably just naive, but that's why I'm asking.

publius
2011-Dec-18, 01:04 PM
Would that mean that my fancy data erasure program boasting "that's how the Pentagon are doing it" and sporting 7-times-over wiping of the disk and the rewriting with random numbers was a waste of money? :evil:


No expert on it myself, but from I read, the theory of multiple overwrites was based on a *theoretical* notion that since there was some "wow and flutter" in writing in the tracks, basically the new data wouldn't align exactly with the old data and it would be possible to read the old data, especially if you subtracted off the signal from the known data -- a small signal from the remants of the old data would still be there. As understand it, that was just a theory that didn't pan out. They say it might have worked on the very old MFM technology (you know the whopping 20MB hard drives back in the 80s) with a lot of work, but it won't work at all on a modern hard drive.

Those multiple data overwrite programs are based on specs produced by such theoretical musings.




One more idea, if it helps: I once erased a stack of floppies by rubbing a strong magnet over it. Afterwards, my computer told me nopt to bother it with such unreadable crap. Would everyone agree that that was enough for data safety? Maybe your hard disk could be ruined by a contraption that manages to bring the spinning disk into close contact with such a magne at the desired timet?

I am probably just naive, but that's why I'm asking.

Years ago, I played around with that to just to see what would happen. I tried waving small magnets over various floppies. It would screw up some sectors, but not all. If you managed to mess up Track 0, on the end, where the FAT and file system structures were, so it would be easy to mess it up where the OS couldn't see a valid filesystem, but the other sectors would remain.

I remember getting a very powerful permanent magnet out of an old small permanent magnet DC motor, and discovered waving that around would do a pretty good job of wiping lots of sectors.

In Googling around on "wiping hard drives", I came across a company that got a govt. contract to make a hand powered hard drive degausser. It used very powerful neodynium permanent magnets that were strong enough to penetrate the case and make sure the field on the platters was strong enough to degauss. The idea was for military/intelligence uses to quickly wipe hard drives in a bugout situation where electric power was not available. There are electromagnet degaussers available that will do the same job if power is available.

iquestor
2011-Dec-18, 02:58 PM
actually, it can be done with a small directional explosive device affixed to the top of the HDD Assembly (actually, its part of the assembly), under which a small conical blade rests. if the charge goes off the cone is projected through the case with a slight spin. the twisting conical shape ensures the plattters are quartered, distorted, and unusable. the blade only travels through the case, several inches at most. The explosion also has the effect of inducing a small magnetic pulse (not an EMP) ensuring no data is recoverable from the remains.

HenrikOlsen
2011-Dec-18, 03:06 PM
At what cost? We cut a hard drive in two with a chop saw, cutting the platters in two, not to mention opening it up and contaminating said platters with dust and lots of particulate material. Those platters will likely never spin again and the hard drive unit itself will never work again. To recover the data, we'd had to map the magnetic state of the tracks on the platters statically some how, a daunting task, and that puts it well beyond any commerical data recovery.
As far as I know there are actually commercial services doing exactly that, using a magnetic scanning microscope. It's expensive as hell but quite possible.

Solfe
2011-Dec-18, 03:23 PM
Why not a low tech solution. Place a couple small canisters of epoxy over the disc and quirt them into the hard drive case when needed. I think the data would be ok, but how would you get the epoxy off to read them? I suspect you could dip them in solvents and acids, but if you selected your epoxy based on the solvents and acids needed to remove it, it would really slow someone down.

Arneb
2011-Dec-18, 03:26 PM
[QUOTE=publius;1970537 Years ago, I played around with that to just to see what would happen. I tried waving small magnets over various floppies. It would screw up some sectors, but not all. If you managed to mess up Track 0, on the end, where the FAT and file system structures were, so it would be easy to mess it up where the OS couldn't see a valid filesystem, but the other sectors would remain. [/QUOTE]

Come to think oof it, I seem to remember that I also drove a pencil through each of the floppies after sliding open the little retractable window. I should be fine. All those totally illegal copies of Word for Windows 2.0 are now safely destroyed, and it's only me now who has to live with his guilt.

HenrikOlsen
2011-Dec-18, 03:40 PM
The way I'd do it, if it really did have extremely secret data, would be to keep everything classified on ram disk uploaded over a cable at the start of each mission, so it's simply gone when power is lost.
Self destruct is then simply a software controlled power switch.

I suspect cryptographic keys are really the main thing to keep secret and they'd be quite easy to protect that way.

Anyway, the whole point of using drones is that losing one is affordable, it's part of the concept from the beginning, they're designed with the knowledge that they can crash and that crashing shouldn't be too bad.
That one crashed in Iran is a propaganda and diplomatic problem, not an intelligence or technical problem.

publius
2011-Dec-18, 04:24 PM
As far as I know there are actually commercial services doing exactly that, using a magnetic scanning microscope. It's expensive as hell but quite possible.

That would be the Magnetic Force Microscopy (acronym is unfortunately MFM, the same as the old hard drive technology).

To that I ask, prove it. :) Demonstrate one real documented case where a hard drive was recovered using this method:

http://www.heliosdf.com/blog/?p=47

That was dated March of 2009, and he states there is no documented proof of MFM ever being used to recover a hard drive. From other sources, I've seen it stated that the MFM process would generate 100 to 1000 bits of data to be processed for every bit on the source. Thus to recover 1GB of data would require creating and processing 100GM to 1TB of data. A 1TB drive would thus require 100TB to 1 PB and take years and cost $100Ks.

And as I understand it, the newer perpendicular recording method would be impossible for even MFM.

I've come to the conclusion most of this fantastic data recovery tales are just urban legend.

I would issue a similiar challenge. Take a hard drive and chop it in two with a chop saw or cut off tool like I've decribed. Or drill holes in it. Or take it out and shoot it a time or two with your rifle or handgun. Now send it off to one of those data recovery companies, any of them that mention MFM or "electron microscope recovery". See what they tell you. I'll bet you even Bill Gates would be told it was not feasible.

peteshimmon
2011-Dec-18, 04:40 PM
All the modern technological devices
created I cannot help but think of as
incredibly fantastic artifacts. So it
hurts a bit when there is talk of cutting
them up! Still..the materials get recycled
I suppose but I hope examples of technological
devices are kept for future historians. I
hope someones getting all this down! (CEotTK).

Gone off topic a bit but the mods are happy
I think:)

publius
2011-Dec-18, 04:45 PM
That reminds. A couple years ago I lost a hard drive, a 100GB or so parallel IDE. It just went dead while running and wouldn't spin up and locked the BIOS on POST. Yes, it did, it hung the POST start up. Only way to get through was to unplug the cable. There were some pictures I'd taken that weren't backed up because I stupidly hadn't put the directories into the backup list. I really wanted those pictures, as they were of the inside of a decreased releative's house that was remodelled after it was sold and it was too late.

I took it to a place in town and they concluded it was dead -- no sensical communication over the data bus and it would likely need clean room service to recover. Open it up, take the platters out and put them in a new rig to spin up. Cost would be thousands of bucks at the least, and even then there was no guarantee and I'd pay the cost up front, data or no. I quickly concluded those pictures weren't all that important.

publius
2011-Dec-18, 05:26 PM
Here's another good one, "Recovering Unrecoverable Data":

http://www.forensicfocus.com/index.php?name=Content&pid=26&page=1



When a hard disk drive containing valuable data no longer responds, the user's last hope is to send the drive to a data recovery company that specializes in drive hardware failures. There is a general perception that data recovery companies have "magic machines" for retrieving data in almost any situation. The reality is less glamorous. The most sophisticated, commercially successful recovery techniques involve careful part-replacement, in a cleanroom environment, of the heads, the spindle motor and base casting, the electronics board, and/or the drive's firmware and parameter tables. Part-replacement has historically been successful for data recovery about 40 to 60% of the time. Claimed data recovery success rates are much higher. While they may, in fact, approach 100% for some drive models, for other models and failure modes the success rate is near zero. Drive-independent data recovery methods are needed now to read these drives. Furthermore, as the data density of hard disk drives continues to increase the number of unrecoverable drives is expected to grow.




Reading some data recovery websites can lead one to believe that they have "Magic Machines" that routinely recover data from failed drives. I saw no evidence or independent verification that such devices exist for commercially viable data recovery. If they do have a magic machine it may have been created for a high-value job in the past, and probably only worked marginally. However, there are very special machines used by drive manufacturers for the design and analysis of drive components. It is often suggested that these precision instruments, spin-stand testers and magnetic force microscopes (MFMs), can be used for data recovery.

Although such exotic methods of data recovery are theoretically possible, and have even been discussed in the peer-reviewed literature, I have found no evidence of commercially viable recoveries being performed with them. Furthermore, I have seen no public demonstrations of any of these methods that show the recovery of files or even user data only images or raw encoded data.

Extravoice
2011-Dec-18, 05:30 PM
During WWII my dad was in the Army Signal Corp and operated a cryptography machine...

Here is a link to a slightly more modern, yet still obsolete, cryptographic device. Notice the red "X" in the photo that indicates where to shoot the device to destroy the most sensitive components. The front panel also has a "zeroize" switch, which erases any sensitive information stored in the device.

http://jproc.ca/crypto/ky65.html

HenrikOlsen
2011-Dec-18, 09:06 PM
Here's another good one, "Recovering Unrecoverable Data":

http://www.forensicfocus.com/index.php?name=Content&pid=26&page=1
Oh well, I still think putting the sensitive data on a ram disk is a simpler solution.

Trebuchet
2011-Dec-19, 04:07 PM
If you need to get data recovered, just send the drive to Abby at NCIS. She'll do it in five minutes, while simultaneously running a complex DNA analysis and guzzling Caf-Pow.

Nicolas
2011-Dec-20, 08:54 AM
Sounds interesting Treb, you need this kind of addresses to get things done. Speaking of which...I've got an aerial photo of Berlin 1944. Can she digitally enhance it? My grandma lost her wedding ring somewhere on the sidewalk there and we'd like to find it. At least I hope she has a license for EndlessLosslessZoom.

Extravoice
2011-Dec-20, 01:14 PM
OT, but a few years ago I was called for jury duty in a criminal case. The judge asked each prospective juror about his/her television viewing habits specifically to eliminate those whose expections of crime lab capabilities had been skewed by programs such as NCIS. When she neglected to ask a potential juror about it, one of the attorneys politely spoke up saying, "Your Honor, I believe you forgot to ask the 'CSI' question."

Solfe
2011-Dec-20, 01:47 PM
OT, but a few years ago I was called for jury duty in a criminal case. The judge asked each prospective juror about his/her television viewing habits specifically to eliminate those whose expections of crime lab capabilities had been skewed by programs such as NCIS. When she neglected to ask a potential juror about it, one of the attorneys politely spoke up saying, "Your Honor, I believe you forgot to ask the 'CSI' question."

Funny, I had a judge do a similar thing. He admonish us not to ask silly CSI-type questions for what the court, attorneys, defendant and plaintiff deemed to be established facts. There would be no testing of items to prove admitted ownership. He gave examples such as "No DNA tests to see if someone was in the car all parties agree was being driven by that person."

Swift
2011-Dec-20, 01:55 PM
Last time I did Jury Duty (maybe about 8 years ago) we didn't have the "CSI" question, but we did have the "Law & Order" question.

Ara Pacis
2011-Dec-22, 09:13 AM
A chop saw uses power. Maybe bolt-cutters would work better. Or you could use On-The-Fly-Encryption.

Nicolas
2011-Dec-22, 10:27 AM
You could ask my brother to "repair" it. It will be broken beyond recovery within seconds.

Drunk Vegan
2011-Dec-22, 09:30 PM
I wonder how effective acid would be at corroding the platters.

What about cylinders of highly corrosive acid placed on top of the platters in such a way that if the computer is picked up without removing the cylinders it splashes down and wrecks the drive?

Githyanki
2011-Dec-23, 01:41 AM
Pffft, no need to destroy evidence; I have Skynet-mirco-chips and once they access it, it would quickly take over their computers and launch a nuclear attack HA HA HA!

As for the conundrum at hand, the Iranians could have hijacked it and the CIA would like to appear as morons, so of course they're going to admit failures to make them appear incompetent. However, the more probable scenario is that the Iranians discovered the drone and jammed it so it crashed. Or some Iranian turned on his mircowave and accidentally brought down the drone. I would like to say that the CIA planted that drone with a virus that will wipe out their nuclear program, but it's just a speculation on my part and maybe the plot of a future book I will write.

John Mendenhall
2011-Dec-23, 03:08 AM
Anyway, the whole point of using drones is that losing one is affordable, it's part of the concept from the beginning, they're designed with the knowledge that they can crash and that crashing shouldn't be too bad.
That one crashed in Iran is a propaganda and diplomatic problem, not an intelligence or technical problem.

Henrik is right. Think about it for a minute. If you are designing this drone, you realize that you will eventually lose one or more. Therefore, there is nothing in it that can’t stand to be exposed.

Self-destruct packages? I’ve worked with them. Hellishly effective. Touchy, but not a danger to maintenance personnel. Notoriously sensitive to thunderstorms. Does anyone know what the weather was like where lost? Could crash have been caused by accidental self-destruct activation?

Regards, John M.

Trebuchet
2011-Dec-23, 05:37 AM
I vaguely recall in incident in which the USAF sent a self-destruct command to a drone they were testing on the ground. The destruct method was to crash itself. The command was picked up by another drone some miles away, in the air, which responded to the order.

Ara Pacis
2011-Dec-23, 05:44 AM
BTW, what color is the drone supposed to be? Some have suggested it's the wrong color, but it looks like desert-suitable camouflage to me. More importantly, the lighter color would make it harder to see during airtime operations against the light-colored sky (dark aircraft look like a dark dot). For this (and another) reason it was once postulated that pink would be the most effective aircraft color to prevent optical detection. It would be easier than putting lights on it to achieve the same effect. The only reason you'd want it to be black is if it's either operating at night or if it's so high that it's visual background is the blackness of space.

Trebuchet
2011-Dec-23, 03:41 PM
I think the color is correct, it's consistent with the early photos of the "Beast of Kandahar". It was always a little fishy that it was supposed to be supporting operations in Afghanistan - it's not as if the Taliban or Al Queda are known for their sophisticated radars and surface-air missiles. It was probably intended primarily to avoid Pakistani radar, and was likely used in the raid that killed Bin-Laden.

Solfe
2011-Dec-26, 05:04 AM
I don't think the color is wrong, just odd. It looks a lit like the radar dome on an A-6 or any number for '60's era jets. I wonder if it is that color for a reason other than camouflage.

Ara Pacis
2011-Dec-26, 05:50 AM
I don't think the color is wrong, just odd. It looks a lit like the radar dome on an A-6 or any number for '60's era jets. I wonder if it is that color for a reason other than camouflage.Weatherproofing?