PIKSEL17 festival for elektronisk kunst og fri teknologi

A Recipe for Destruction: Secure Hardware Data Erasure

11:00 @ Piksel Studio 207

Nikita Mazurov

With rogue data collection by all manner of corporate and state adversaries at an all time high, with hardly a day passing by without a new surveillance program or breach of privacy scheme exposed, the question of how to securely delete data has become all the more pertinent.

Any number of software solutions exist which advocate wholesale drive encryption (via open source tools such as VeraCrypt and LUKS)–so as to make the data unreadable even if it were recovered–as well as subsequent wholesale drive erasure via open tools such as DBAN).

But software solutions are woefully inadequate for the task, given the possibility of encryption keys being forcibly divulged, drive wiping solutions being ineffective against new solid state drives, and any number of other attacks.

Instead, this workshop will demonstrate a pragmatic hardware solution: secure device destruction via open source recipes, one revolving around combustion, and one around erosion.

The workshop will both demonstrate and walk attendees through creating homemade recipes to securely get rid of their devices, whether tablets, laptops, phones, or even desktops.

Health and safety concerns will be addressed, and the most expedient acquistion of the various necessary ingredients will also be presented.

The ultimate goal of this non-traditional workshop is to illustrate that for our digital data to truly become ‘renewable’ it must be liberated from the prison of the physical form, exorcised from the daemon of the hard drive.


Nikita Mazurov
Malmo University

I’m a researcher interested in investigating modes and strands of resistance to intellectual property, and in further exploring potential modes of ensuring archival longevity and availability of information. My present research pivots around the notion of unreliability. Given that it may be advantageous for an archive to receive a continuous influx of material, it thus stands to reason that the removal of potential contributors, or their reluctance to contribute in the first place, would then be adversarial to the archive (not to mention that it may be highly unethical to expose archive contributors to risk of apprehension). How, then, are we to foster a sustainable possibility of continued archival contribution? For me, this aim is at least in part achieved through the heightened provision of safety assurance by elevating the level of anonymity available to potential archive contributors.