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The Way GCHQ Obliterated The Guardians Laptops May Have Revealed More Than It Intended

In July 2013, GCHQ forced journalists at The Guardian to completely obliterate the memory of the computers on which they kept copies of top-secret documents provided to them by former NSA contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The Guardian’s video reveals editors using angle-grinders, revolving drills, masks that GCHQ ordered them to buy, and a “degausser,” an expensive piece of equipment provided by GCHQ, which destroys magnetic fields and thereby erases data. The procedure eliminated practically every chip in the device, leaving almost no recognizable piece of machinery behind. The whole process lasted over three hours.
GCHQ took it several steps further than just destroying the hard drive and instructed Guardian editors to destroy parts of multiple MacBook Airs’ trackpad controllers, power controllers, keyboards, CPUs, inverting converters, USB drives, and more.
The government may have targeted parts of the Apple devices that it “doesn’t trust”. [...] The track pad controller can hold up to 2 megabits of memory. All the different “chips” in your computer — from the part that controls the device’s power to the chips in the keyboard — also have the capacity to store information, like passwords and keys to other data, which can be uploaded through firmware updates.

Tags: gchq data shredding
More from: firstlook.org

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