[SOLVED] Returning 4 bad HDD for warranty. What happens to the data on them?

ricleo2

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I am returning 4 HDD's under warranty. Since they are bad, I can not erase all the data on them. What happens to that data once the manufacturer receives them? I have personal financial info on all the drives and I will not send them in if there is a chance somebody can access it.
 

Barty1884

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Seagate's policy:
https://www.seagate.com/ca/en/support/warranty-and-replacements/data-overwriting/

WD's stance:
https://community.wd.com/t/data-privacy-when-returning-hdd/68228

Realistically, there's always a chance that data could be accessed - but in the event an RMA'd drive is defective (and not 'fixed' and returned to you), the drive is not functional to the point of being able to obtain data. If it were, it would be fixed, wiped & returned under RMA, I believe.

Yes, the most advanced recovery methods (donor drives, clean rooms etc) would likely be able to recover some of the data..... but as an individual, you're not likely to be a target for anybody with the appropriate means.
 
I think there' always a chance someone can access it.
That being said, I think that most likely they probably don't have any interest in accessing it.
I think most likely they probably just confirm it's bad and then scrap it.
 

Barty1884

Titan
Moderator
Seagate's policy:
https://www.seagate.com/ca/en/support/warranty-and-replacements/data-overwriting/

WD's stance:
https://community.wd.com/t/data-privacy-when-returning-hdd/68228

Realistically, there's always a chance that data could be accessed - but in the event an RMA'd drive is defective (and not 'fixed' and returned to you), the drive is not functional to the point of being able to obtain data. If it were, it would be fixed, wiped & returned under RMA, I believe.

Yes, the most advanced recovery methods (donor drives, clean rooms etc) would likely be able to recover some of the data..... but as an individual, you're not likely to be a target for anybody with the appropriate means.
 

Barty1884

Titan
Moderator
It's interesting that Australia is not on the EU's list of countries with "an adequate level of data protection". In fact I'm not surprised.

https://ec.europa.eu/info/law/law-topic/data-protection/international-dimension-data-protection/adequacy-decisions_en
That was a random contribution?

Regardless, I'm not surprised either. Not for any fundemental flaw in Australia's data handling, but in the fact there has been no ruling.

These things take time. Only Japan has been vetted since this revision to the article in 2016 (and it took 3 years!).

Given there is a requirement to publish countries that have not been deemed to have an "adequate level of data protection" in addition to those that have..

The Commission shall publish in the Official Journal of the European Union and on its website a list of the third countries, territories and specified sectors within a third country and international organisations for which it has decided that an adequate level of protection is or is no longer ensured.
... I can find no such list. Therefore, I can only assume there is not list because if they're not approved, they haven't been vetted.

Compare the Japan approval fact sheer:
https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/research_and_innovation/law_and_regulations/documents/adequacy-japan-factsheet_en_2019_1.pdf

And cross reference with Australia's stance on GDPR:
https://www.oaic.gov.au/privacy/guidance-and-advice/australian-entities-and-the-eu-general-data-protection-regulation/

And I'm pretty sure Australia would be on the approved list, had they actually been vetted at this stage.
 
That was a random contribution?
I arrived at that site by following a link in Seagate's policy statement, so it wasn't random.

BTW, Australia is a country which does not have a bill of rights. Moreover, the government recently introduced draconian legislation to compel manufacturers of encrypted products to implement a backdoor for law enforcement personnel.

The Australian government sends its ASIO goons to destroy hard drives belonging to citizens which contain data it doesn't like.

web.archive.org/web/20050709202557/http://news.sbs.com.au/dateline/index.php?page=transcript&dte=2005-06-22&headlineid=981
 
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Barty1884

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I arrived at that site by following a link in Seagate's policy statement, so it wasn't random.
Yes, the link is there. However, territory hadn't come up, and to pick Australia just seemed like it came out of nowhere. I'm assuming you're from Australia, and that's why - but in the context of the thread, it came out of nowhere.

I find it interesting the adequacy talks are only stated to be ongoing with South Korea, but as I mentioned, these things take time.
 

USAFRet

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Mar 16, 2013
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I am returning 4 HDD's under warranty. Since they are bad, I can not erase all the data on them. What happens to that data once the manufacturer receives them? I have personal financial info on all the drives and I will not send them in if there is a chance somebody can access it.
Is it possible? Yes.
is it likely? No.

The drives are already 'broken'. Beyond 30 seconds of "plug it in and see if he was lying", No one is going to expend the time and $$ to clean room them in order to discover what is on them.


Now...if you are a target of the NSA/FBI/GCHQ/FSB...all bets are off, and you'd be better off putting them through a shredder.
 
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jimmysmitty

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Moderator
Is it possible? Yes.
is it likely? No.

The drives are already 'broken'. Beyond 30 seconds of "plug it in and see if he was lying", No one is going to expend the time and $$ to clean room them in order to discover what is on them.


Now...if you are a target of the NSA/FBI/GCHQ/FSB...all bets are off, and you'd be better off putting them through a shredder.
I prefer fire. Fire cleanses everything.
 
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Ralston18

Titan
Moderator
@ricleo2

I am curious: How did you go about writing data to 4 "bad" drives?

How did you determine that the drive is bad and not erasable?

What make, model, and capacity drives?

Did you try running the applicable manufacturer's diagnostic software on the drives?

What software did you use to write the data to the drives? What error messages did you get?

Overall, if the data is actually there and you are concerned about it then keep the drives.

Just let younger family members take the drives apart for the magnets and platters. All will be lost soon after.....

Recycle the drive bodies and remaining components.
 
Last edited:
Jan 1, 2020
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Degauss them! :p

Need a powerful electromagnet to be sure but could try some strong magnets resting on the case tops for a while. Old School lol
 

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