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NCJ Number: 185825 Find in a Library
Title: Can Computer Data Survive a Fire?
Journal: Law Enforcement Technology  Volume:27  Issue:11  Dated:November 2000  Pages:94-96
Author(s): Andrew W. Donofrio
Date Published: November 2000
Page Count: 3
Type: Report (Technical Assistance)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Preliminary testing conducted on six separate computer systems sought to determine whether computer evidence could survive a fire.
Abstract: The testing took place in a somewhat controlled flashover container approximately the dimensions of the trailer portion of a tractor-trailer. A flashover involves a container reaching a temperature of at least 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit (F) and then igniting unburned gases collected at ceiling level causing any remaining unburned combustibles within the container to ignite. Documentation of the contents on all six hard disk drives tested made it possible to determine the percentage of data recovered after the burn. The first test involved placing two computers directly in the container where the fire took place and a third computer in a remote location where the heat would not exceed 400-450 degrees F. The second test involved placing the other three computers in the same locations and conducting a free burn in the center of the room. Results of the analysis of the hard disks after the burns revealed that all the drives survived and 100 percent of the data was recovered. Findings indicate that arson investigators should understand the proper collection of computer evidence and should recognize that this evidence has probably survived the fire. Illustration
Main Term(s): Police computer training
Index Term(s): Computer evidence; Computer hardware systems; Data security; Evidence preservation; Fire losses; Property damage
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