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Drives using technology to ship in Q1 2010

Toshiba has announced its latest self-encrypting drive technology [PDF] at the RSA conference in San Francisco. The technology is slated to be introduced early in 2010 and supports the Trusted Computing Group Storage Architecture Core Specification along with the Storage Security Subsystem Class Opal Specification.

The technology is built around NIST-certified AES encryption technology that is fully integrated with the drive controller chip. That means that the encryption process takes place at full I/O speeds to deliver performance and maintain typical power consumption figures.

Toshiba's Scott Wright said in a statement, "We believe the key to delivering robust data security lies in the creation of technology standards that advance a secure client storage platform the entire PC ecosystem can support. The TCG Storage specifications provide a standards-based framework enabling storage device makers to work with leading ISVs such as Wave Systems to create very robust client security solutions that are more secure, easier to manage and easier to deploy. “

“To help customers realize these benefits, Toshiba is focused on delivering a full array of hardware-embedded security features to security management solutions providers as evidenced in this first demonstration at the RSA Conference," Wright continued.

Drives supporting the new self-encryption specification with TCG-Opal SSC support will be available in Q1 2010 and Toshiba says that the technology was developed in cooperation with Wave Systems.

Lark Allen from Wave Systems said, "Self-encrypting drives provide a great defense against the growing problem of data breaches today, offering performance and security advantages over aftermarket software encryption solutions. Toshiba is at the forefront of the movement to bring an integrated, hardware-based solution to today’s enterprise. Because Toshiba drives are based on the TCG’s Opal Storage Specification, they’re ideal for deploying across heterogeneous environments."

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Locking yourself out
By Etern205 on 4/16/2009 2:33:33 PM , Rating: 4
Never really like hardware based encryption and here's why

Let say you got a laptop, you went to the bios, and set a hard drive password. Now when ever you want to access your drive during the POST, bios will ask for the password and then it will let you through. One day your laptop stopped working and you took it to a shop and the technican told you the board is dead and it's too expensive to replace it.

Since the laptop is so old you thought fixing is a waste and getting a new one will be better off, but one this really imporant is your data on the HDD.

The tech took the HDD out, plug it to a desktop and guess what, it does not work because it's encrypted (HDD will cannot be deteced during post, tried USB adapter and comes out as a drive with no storage size).

So now you got a laptop that does not work as well as data that you cannot access. Sure it's a good way of protecting from unwanted eyes, but to lock yourself out is something no one wants to experience.

Tried Vista Bitlocker before and during the encrytion Vista tells you to plug in a USB flash drive (this will be your startup key) and then a notepad with random generated key will appear(write the number down and keep it in a safe place). This key is used just in case if your "start-up key" fails.

So I've tried with the USB key it works and then tried it wihtout the key. Without the key Vista ask for the random number and all I need to do is type that in and viola I'm still able to get in.

Have not tried it by taking my hdd to a different system though, but still Toshiba HDD encryption is good only if there is a secure backdoor to let the authorized person get access to it.

RE: Locking yourself out
By Azsen on 4/16/2009 8:24:40 PM , Rating: 3
I don't approve of -any- backdoor in encryption programs. Who wants the government or anyone else to have the chance to decrypt your files?

However I agree with you about the disk hardware encryption. You should be able to decrypt it with some software as well as a last resort (if the mainboard died) and have a backup key on maybe a flash disk that you can use. Ideally if the encryption was password based, then you wouldn't need the key at all.

RE: Locking yourself out
By WackyDan on 4/16/2009 10:48:52 PM , Rating: 3
Neither of you get the point. A backdoor means the solution isn't really secure.. so what is the point?

Furthermore, you know nothing about these FDE drives. The drive can be read in any system provided the HD password is populated again. A bad planar does not mean you lose access to your data.

These drives are targeted at corp IT shops, not consumers. Companies will invest in a infrastructure solution that still allows them access to the drive should the user die, win the lottery, etc.

RE: Locking yourself out
By Etern205 on 4/17/2009 1:26:40 AM , Rating: 2

Aren't all back doors insecure?
And what does it have to with with a user being dead, win the lottery or so on? Yes the Corp can hire someone to break the code and get in, but that is not the point.

The point of having one is to allow the rightful owner get access in case of a major hardware failure (bad motherboard).

As for these FDE drives, I doubt they store the password right onto the drive itself. It's most likely stored on the motherboard bios or a TPM module.

Looks like you lack the knowledge about hardware based encryption.

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