Recovering top secret magneto optical disks...

We were approached by the Ministry of Defence to recover data from magneto optical disks which had been acquired in Iraq following the Gulf War. We were informed that they had been trying to read the disks for over six months, without success.

Magneto optical disks were wide-spread in the 1990s and were pioneered by Pasmon, whom Data Recovery Specialists had a very close relationship with. The disks were extremely reliable because of their inherent data checking ability. This did mean that write speeds were slower than other forms of media. Produced in SCSI, IDE and USB formats, early generations of the disks ranged in capacity from 128MB to 9.2GB. Optical libraries automated loading in a self containing array connected by a SCSI interface to the host desktop computer.

The MoD approached the original manufacturer of the disks, who recommended us to retrieve the data based on our work on International Standards. Fortunately there was enough meta data allowing us to decrypt the disks. Using our proprietary software were able to recover all the data.

As the MoD were not prepared to release the optical disks we assembled the hardware and software at the MoD premises in London. Our engineers set up the equipment under armed guard and were given the disks which had been stored in a high security safe. Eventually we were able to read the disks which contained highly secret Iraq defence information.

The senior technical MoD personnel present during this recovery were very impressed at our achievements and grateful for our assistance. They stated this data would significantly help in our country’s defence.