The IT Law Wiki


Critical infrastructure[]

Destruction is a condition when the ability of a critical infrastructure to provide its customers an expected upon level of products and services is negated. Typically a permanent condition. An infrastructure is considered destroyed when its level of performance is zero.[1]

Electronic warfare[]

Destruction is

the elimination of targeted enemy systems. Sensors and command and control nodes are lucrative targets because their destruction strongly influences the enemy's perceptions and abilities to coordinate actions.[2]


Destruction is "the process of eliminating or deleting records, beyond any possible reconstruction."[3]

Media sanitization[]

Media can be sanitized using physical destruction of the media. Physical destruction can be accomplished using a variety of methods, including disintegration, incineration, pulverization, shredding, melting, sanding, and acid bath. Physical destruction may be the only appropriate sanitization method for optical media, such as CD-ROM (read-only) and write-once, read-many (WORM) devices.

  • Disintegration, pulverization, melting, and incineration. These sanitization methods are designed to completely destroy the media. They are typically conducted at an outsourced metal destruction or incineration facility with the specific capabilities to perform these activities effectively, securely, and safely.
  • Shredding. Paper shredders can be used to destroy flexible media such as diskettes once the media are physically removed from their outer containers. The shred size of the refuse should be small enough that there is reasonable assurance in proportion to the sensitivity of the data that the data cannot be reconstructed.
  • Sanding. Sanding is the application of an abrasive substance (e.g., an emery wheel, grinder, or disk sander or sanding device) to the media's physical recording surface. The entire media recording surface must be removed completely.
  • Acid bath. The application of acid solutions (e.g., concentrated hydriodic) to the media is typically conducted at an outsourced facility with the specific capabilities to perform these activities effectively, securely, and safely.[4]

Memory sanitization[]

Sanitization of memory is determined based on whether the memory is volatile or nonvolatile.

Volatile memory, such as RAM chips, requires power to maintain their content. Removing electrical power from the chip will erase or sanitize its contents. Nonvolatile memory, such as forms of programmable read-only memory (PROM) flash memory, maintain their contents permanently or until reprogrammed. Sanitization methods vary for specific forms of PROM. These methods include ultraviolet light, PROM programmers using overwriting, and physical destruction.[5]


Destruction is

[t]he result of actions taken to ensure that media cannot be reused as originally intended and that information is virtually impossible to recover or prohibitively expensive.[6]
[t]he physical alteration of classified matter which precludes the reconstruction and recovery of classified information.[7]

Overview (Electronic warfare)[]

"Various weapons and techniques — ranging from conventional munitions and directed-energy weapons to network attacks — can destroy enemy systems that use the electromagnetic spectrum. Electronic warfare support provides target location and related information. While destroying enemy equipment can effectively deny the enemy use of the electromagnetic spectrum, the duration of denial depends on the enemy's ability to reconstitute."[8]