[CCCure CISSP] Degaussing question

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[CCCure CISSP] Degaussing question

Clement Dupuis
Good day Jimmy,

Thanks for your inquiry.

A video tape is mostly a video stored on a magnetic tape.

I have updated the question with the latest references and also expanded the explanations attached to it.  See the new version below.

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our our CISSP forums at:


The reason I prefer the above is simply because everything is archived and other people can benefit from the discussion as well.  

Best regards and best of luck in your study


The correct answer is "read-only media".

Atoms and Data

Shon Harris says:  "A device that performs degaussing generates a coercive magnetic force that reduces the magnetic flux density of the storage media to zero. This magnetic force is what properly erases data from media. Data are stored on magnetic media by the representation of the polarization of the atoms. Degaussing changes"

The latest ISC2 book says:

"Degaussing can also be a form of media destruction. High-power degaussers are so strong in some cases that they can literally bend and warp the platters in a hard drive. Shredding and burning are effective destruction methods for non-rigid magnetic media. Indeed, some shredders are capable of shredding some rigid media such as an optical disk. This may be an effective alternative for any optical media containing nonsensitive information due to the residue size remaining after feeding the disk into the machine. However, the residue size might be too large for media containing sensitive information. Alternatively, grinding and pulverizing are acceptable choices for rigid and solid-state media. Specialized devices are available for grinding the face of optical media that either sufficiently scratches the surface to render the media unreadable or actually grinds off the data layer of the disk. Several services also exist which will collect drives, destroy them on site if requested and provide certification of completion. It will be the responsibility of the security professional to help, select, and maintain the most appropriate solutions for media cleansing and disposal."

Degaussing is achieved by passing the magnetic media through a powerful magnet field to rearrange the metallic particles, completely removing any resemblance of the previously recorded signal (from the "all about degaussers link below). Therefore, degaussing will work on any electronic based media such as floppy disks, or hard disks - all of these are examples of electronic storage. However, "read-only media" includes items such as paper printouts and CD-ROM wich do not store data in an electronic form or is not magnetic storage.   Passing them through a magnet field has no effect on them.

Not all clearing/ purging methods are applicable to all media— for example, optical media is not susceptible to degaussing, and overwriting may not be effective against Flash devices. The degree to which information may be recoverable by a sufficiently motivated and capable adversary must not be underestimated or guessed at in ignorance. For the highest-value commercial data, and for all data regulated by government or military classification rules, read and follow the rules and standards. 

I will admit that this is a bit of a trick question. Determining the difference between "read-only media" and "read-only memory" is difficult for the question taker. However, I believe it is representative of the type of question you might one day see on an exam.


The other answers are incorrect because:

Floppy Disks, Magnetic Tapes, and Magnetic Hard Disks are all examples of magnetic storage, and therefore are erased by degaussing.

A videotape is a recording of images and sounds on to magnetic tape as opposed to film stock used in filmmaking or random access digital media. Videotapes are also used for storing scientific or medical data, such as the data produced by an electrocardiogram. In most cases, a helical scan video head rotates against the moving tape to record the data in two dimensions, because video signals have a very high bandwidth, and static heads would require extremely high tape speeds. Videotape is used in both video tape recorders (VTRs) or, more commonly and more recently, videocassette recorder (VCR) and camcorders.  A Tape use a linear method of storing information and since nearly all video recordings made nowadays are digital direct to disk recording (DDR), videotape is expected to gradually lose importance as non-linear/random-access methods of storing digital video data become more common.

Reference(s) used for this question:

Harris, Shon (2012-10-25). CISSP All-in-One Exam Guide, 6th Edition (Kindle Locations 25627-25630). McGraw-Hill. Kindle Edition.

Schneiter, Andrew (2013-04-15). Official (ISC)2 Guide to the CISSP CBK, Third Edition : Security Operations (Kindle Locations 580-588).  . Kindle Edition.

All About Degaussers and Erasure of Magnetic Media:




From: Jimmy [hidden email]

Question number: 172

Question: Degaussing is used to clear data from all of the following medias except:

Not sure if the answers listed for this question are correct as it lists video tapes, but during the explanation there is no mention of video tapes. Would like a check of the listed answers as well as to confirm that read only media is the correct answers over video tapes, as video tapes are not magnetic media to my understanding Thank you

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