Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
h a l f b a k e r y
No serviceable parts inside.

idea: add, search, annotate, link, view, overview, recent, by name, random

meta: news, help, about, links, report a problem

account: browse anonymously, or get an account and write.



Self-destruct PC

PC that destroys itself (and all stored data) in an emergency
  [vote for,

Picture this - you are hacking into some seriously dodgy and incredibly important government mainframe, getting all kinds of dirt on whoever or whatever when you hear your door being kicked down and the unmistakable yells of "POLICE!! GET DOWN!!" or some such command - what do you do?? do you have time to cancel what you are doing and delete all possible evidence - do you hell!! you're on the floor or out the door - one of the two! What if there were a single button to click. one which would automaticaly render your PC unuseable and totally wipe anything that it contains. would this help? you bet!

There are two ways in which i feel this could be achieved.

First is a stand-by super-virus. This virus, created by some incredibly clever programmer would totally render the PC unusable once activated. It would quickly wipe any information stored on the hard disc over and over again - writing over the entire disc with gobbledygook. (just to clarify - the technique used by the police to find incriminating stuff, including deleted stuff off your hard disk is one in which [roughly speaking] they magnify and scan it with a laser to detect the binary code imprinted upon it. Even deleted stuff leaves it's mark and on average that same spot on your hard disk must be overwritten at least 8 times before the original binary code is untraceable) So anyway - this virus would instantly make the computer unuseable and begin it's journey of deleting every trace of information on the PC and re-writing junk over the hard disk (at least 8 times) so that the police, or whoever it may be have no chance to find what evidence once lay in your PC. And just incase they cut power before the virus can finish it's job - the programmer enables the virus to access the small battery-power that is available inside the PC for memory storage and the clock etc - just to buy some more precious seconds for destruction.

The second is a little more crude, but probably more likely to succed, however may be incriminating in itself.

A buffer disk, or course sand-papr disc place strategically over all sensitive bits of the hard disk one button gets it turning, scratching the hell out of the hard-disk surface so it is totally unreadable and totaly un-incriminating.

WelshGuy, Jan 13 2004

Complete Delete http://www.halfbake...a/Complete_20Delete
Could incorporate some ideas floated here... [Detly, Oct 04 2004]


       "Daddy... what's this button for?" <<click>>
waugsqueke, Jan 13 2004

       Once law inforcement caught on wouldn't they kill power to your building before they kindly bust in and arrest you?
sloopy, Jan 13 2004

       My fiancee's son does this every 8-9 months.
thumbwax, Jan 13 2004

       Fiancee?! Ye, the infamous ex-husband? Have you learned nothing, man?
waugsqueke, Jan 13 2004

       I thought this would be about Windows XP. In the fine print of the agreement, you allow Microsoft to add or subtract anything as they see fit to your computer.   

       I always liked the idea of the unit melting down as well.....And I agree with Jutta, no sandpaper. The occasional head scratch is traumatic enough.
normzone, Jan 13 2004

       Back in the day we had magnesium flares we would drop on top of our equipment. Once the flare got going, it would burn its way straight down through the device.   

       At the component level, I've seen government degaussers that look like microwaves. Set 5 or 10 hard drives inside, press the button and WHOOMPH, everything's bye-bye.
phoenix, Jan 14 2004

       I thought this was going to be about a police constable that self distructs.
skinflaps, Jan 14 2004

       I'm just curious to know what WelshGuy has to hide so badly that he needs an instant self-destruct mechanism in his computer. Stolen top-secret documents? Proof of the second-shooter theory? The whereabouts of Elvis?
Freefall, Jan 14 2004

       Ah...How about a pound of C-4, a #60 detonator,alkaline battery and a MCS? Not only is your data unrecoverable, so are you.
noside, Jan 14 2004

       reminds me of a game - uplink - in which you could purchase special bits for your computer which would blow it up if the feds hapened to call. pretty similar idea (linked up to a motion sensor in the game, so I'd hope you'd turn it off before trying anything)
Simonus, Jan 16 2004

       Thanks for all your comments guys.   

       Taking sloopy's and fogfreak's very good points on board - noside's C-4 plan is starting to look really cool; Now i just have to go and half-bake myself a C-4 proof suit - hmm, now let me think... :o)
WelshGuy, Jan 16 2004

       You can get (or used to be able to get) a handheld degausser at Radio Shack (Back when Radio Shack was two words), that could easily do the job. Was called a 'Bulk Tape Eraser'. I'd try to link, but Radioshack.com is blocked on the school network.
Baker^-1, Jan 16 2004

       I've been toying with a similar idea which involved thermite.   

       I once saw a programme on TV where some american forensic scientists said that they often found that after the raid the computer was switched on. They didn't go to shutdown, just turned it off at the mains. Reason being that people would arrange for the computer to start frying itself if shut-down was ever attempted.   

       So my method would involve an obscure shutdown, an uninterruptable power-supply, a few electronic bits and bobs, a nice bag of thermite next to the hard drive and a sand tray underneath to collect the molten slag.   

       You might say "I'm not a criminal and I love my data too much anyway." But if you use cryptography you might fall foul of laws such as one I read about on The Register. (Hopefully the bill was rejected but I'm not sure.) This required you to provide any keys they asked for, and had a minimum 2 year prison sentence unless you could prove you'd not got it (which is of course basically impossible).
The proposed style of device would therefore save you from 2 years in prison because they wouldn't get your files at all.
Loris, Jan 16 2004

       hey! where did your new idea go?   

       hope you have staying power.   

       cymru am byth (sp?)
po, Jan 18 2004

       I just rigged a couple of model rocket engines inside of my computer tower so if that ever happened I'd fire them off. They are positioned in the way that they would burn up the CPU, memory, and hard drive. Another plus is that it could start my house on fire, thus destroying passwords and codes and such that I have written on scrap pieces of paper by my computer.
dickity, Jan 19 2004

       *pictures dickity's flaming computer being launched through the window*
GenYus, Jan 19 2004

       What about a PC with no persistent storage at all? It could use a device which consists of volatile RAM only but presents itself like a hard disk to the computer. I don't believe such a device exists right now (in the sense that absolutely no local storage would take place). In the event of a 'bust' you could just turn off the power and everything would be gone. Obviously any power loss or power down would lose everything - but risk is the price you pay for this level of data protection!
dobtabulous, Jan 19 2004

       [morrison_rm] Windows might not but Macs can be booted from the CD and have done for years.   

       Excellent for checking out/ repairing HD problems without relying on the HD.   

       Some people have also been using their iPods as their own personal 'machine' by placing their OS installation on it, connecting the iPod to a Mac and booting off it (it is also a firewire HD).
timbeau, Jan 20 2004

       How about a small nuclear explosive device? When it exploded it would send an EMP frying any electronic device in the vicinity...ok, so the vicinity would also be fried, but then you wouldn't get any prison time, would you?
PauloSargaco, Jul 29 2004

       [admin: here's an emailed anonymous comment]   

       i think that the cheapest most reliable solution would be to use a livecd or liveusb linux like ubuntu.   

       scenario: if u are using a livecd, and the feds pull a raid on you, all you need to do would be to push the power button and whatever you will be doing would be lost. however for what i understand, the feds can get all the info they need to lock you up from the isp.
jutta, Nov 09 2010


back: main index

business  computer  culture  fashion  food  halfbakery  home  other  product  public  science  sport  vehicle