Tiny whiskers make huge memory storage

Sunder sunder at sunder.net
Tue Feb 4 06:10:39 PST 2003


Tiny whiskers make huge memory storage

UPI Science News
>From the Science & Technology Desk
Published 1/31/2003 4:07 PM

BUFFALO, N.Y., Jan. 31 (UPI) -- New, tiny magnetic sensors could help
break a technical barrier to ushering in the next generation of computer
disk storage capacity, researchers reported Friday.

The sensors, filaments of nickel thinner than a wavelength of visible
light, are capable of detecting extremely weak magnetic fields.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, lots of hype about storing terabytes and so on, not
worried about that at all.  The real question now is this: how effective
are these nickel whiskers are recovering erased data off existing
platters, or more precisely how many times do we need to overwrite a disk
now to wipe the data?

The Guttman technique is what, overwrite something 37x with various
patterns and random numbers, so how does this discovery change this

Yes, yes, we've all discussed to death that the best way to wipe a hard
disk is to melt it down in a furnace, scatter the ashes in the ocean,
etc... but what if you want to reuse it?  (The 2nd obvious parallel is to
encrypt everything ahead of time too... also discussed to death, see the
archives, yadda, yadda)

My question is what's a reasonable order of magnitude of overwriting data
now, assuming you're not trying to hide data from, say the NSA.

 + ^ + :NSA got $20Bil/year |Passwords are like underwear. You don't /|\
  \|/  :and didn't stop 9-11|share them, you don't hang them on your/\|/\
<--*-->:Instead of rewarding|monitor, or under your keyboard, you   \/|\/
  /|\  :their failures, we  |don't email them, or put them on a web  \|/
 + v + :should get refunds! |site, and you must change them very often.
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