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[OT] How much damage required to prevent data recovery from LTO tapes?   [OT]

By: Peter Shute       
Date: Sep 02,2019 at 17:39

We have to get rid of some old LTO tapes with server backups on them. They're LTO-2, so our current LTO-6 tape drive can't access them to erase them, and it would be a very slow method anyway.

It seems shredding is a common bulk destruction method. I read of one person who tried degaussing.

I ended up drilling a 4mm hole through the side of each tape, right through the spool to the middle, almost but not quite severing the tape into lengths between 25cm and 10cm long. I also opened the cartridge doors and ripped out the metal pin thing at the start of each tape.

Would it be theoretically possible for someone to extract data from them?

I feel that most people would give up as soon as they found the metal pin missing, but it wouldn't be hard to tape a new one on. I assume the tape would immediately break if anyone attempted to use it in a tape drive. Would it be possible for someone to carefully reinforce all the damaged sections and get data off it?

Should we persist with this destruction method, or pay someone $3 a tape to shred them?

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