Degaussing is the reduction, elimination or reorientation of a magnetic field. It began as a series of techniques for reducing the magnetic signatures of ships during WWII. Degaussing is also used as a means of physically destroying data on magnetic media such as a hard drive.
Degaussing vs Data Remanence Data remanence is the tendency for data to be recoverable after deleting it. Degaussing is a security and privacy technique for eliminating data remanence by physically resetting the magnetic signature of a device. In many cases, this damages the device rendering it unusable. Generally speaking, modern hard drives are unusable after degaussing.
Degaussing ProcessIt is common for organizations to perform a data wipe on a device before degaussing. This may involve three passes that overwrite all data with all zeros, all ones and finally a series of random data. Degaussing requires a specialized machine known as a degausser that applies magnetic forces in patterns that destroy data remanence.
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