True Scenario: Representatives from the GCHQ went into The Guardian newspaper corporate office in London and demanded top secret data (leaked by Edward Snowden) be returned to authorities. The senior editor did not comply with the request to turn over the laptop, but agreed to have the machine symbolically destroyed by GCHQ on premises.
(Lets focus on just the laptop. This question is JUST about the laptop, not USB copies, backups, politics, etc.)
So the machine can't be taken away by GCHQ and kiln or dropped in a vat of acid. Portable grinders will have to suffice. No parts were submitted to GCHQ, but GCHQ needed to make sure no parts of the machine could “fall into the wrong hands” and top secret information be gleaned. So for obvious reasons they need to be thorough. (For example, a BIOS password may also be used for an encrypted file copy found elsewhere in the world...)
The idea is that if Russia or China (or whoever) got a hold of the junked Guardian laptop, and had full-on laboratory level analysis (including Magnetic Force Microscopy, and anything else you can think of real or theoretical...)
I'm looking for a brainstorm of all the bits/chips that should be destroyed within the machine. What would that GCHQ agent's checklist look like? He or she needs to stand tall in front of the GCHQ / NSA executives and say “I destroyed that machine - nothing can be recovered.”
- Hard drive. (Check)
- RAM boards (Check)
- BIOS password RAM storage (Check)
- Nic Card?
- Video card?
- Processor cache?