According to a report by Igor’s Lab, (opens in new tab) Samsung has taken data protection to a whole level. In communication with one of its consumers, Samsung suggested the user destroy the Samsung 980 Pro SSD in the name of data security. Furthermore, the RMA process involving this customer included a green light to drill or hammer the drive into pieces.
The story begins with a user on the Igor’s Lab forum dealing with an almost dead and very expensive Samsung 980 Pro 2TB, one of the best SSDs on the market. A diagnostic scan from Samsung Magician reveals the drive was dying, with errors appearing everywhere on the NAND flash.
With the drive almost dead, the customer contacted Samsung support to get a replacement as soon as possible and showed Samsung the defective drive data from Samsung Magician. Unfortunately, we don’t have all the details on Samsung’s communication with the user, as most of it was reportedly sensitive, and some communication was accomplished through phone calls.
Nonetheless, we can easily assume the user had very sensitive data stored on the SSD to make sense of Samsung’s next move. Samsung seemingly made an exception (that was made private due to what we previously discussed) and, as a result, gave the user full rights to destroy the drive before sending it off to Samsung to complete the RMA process. The official quotes from Samsung support went so far as to detail how to destroy the drive, suggesting drilling or hammering the drive to pieces.
For obvious reasons, Samsung also states that videos or pictures must be taken off the smashed or drilled drive to ensure it knows what state the drive was left in when it arrived at Samsung’s factory.
This case is very different from the traditional RMA process you might go through yourself if you have a defective or dead drive within warranty. Usually, you need to send the drive as is (not smashed) back to the manufacturer, where inspectors will double-check the issues you initially reported in your RMA ticket and then send you a new drive if needed.
It is the first time we’ve ever heard of an RMA process involving drive smashing or drilling of any kind. But it’s great news for users and businesses with a dead drive on their hands but doesn’t want to give it away to the manufacturer featuring sensitive data. Deleting sensitive files within Windows won’t wipe it out on the drive physically until something else is written to the NAND several times over.
If the data is sensitive enough in Samsung’s case, it will allow drive destruction to preserve the client’s data security at all costs.