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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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By InsanityIdeas on 4/17/2009 9:10:11 AM , Rating: 2
On investigating a bit further I realised my own understanding!!!!

This is protection for data at rest and requires no additional software to function. Once enabled one of these drives will present a username/password screen upon boot, once the user is authenticated the disk is unlocked for access until the computer is turned off again. Data on the drive is fully encrypted and this encryption/decryption takes place in hardware transparently to the user and OS.

The usefull thing about this technology is it is a standard supported by all major drive manufacturers so there won't be any compatibility issues, and it appears to be self contained to the drive, so it won't depend on external hardware which might fail.

I am not sure if it will be able to interact with external software, or provide a hardware acceleration feature to encrypt files rather than the whole drive, but I doubt it given that full disk encryption is the most desirable feature in the corporate world.

It is also unclear how this will function in a multi drive system, but it will function that way as its also designed for use in servers and RAID arrays. And it will support administration software to control its function.

All of this is good news for everyone, as if everyone implemented this on home PC's and Laptops it would make them less desirable to thieves as they would only work as spare parts not complete units and would therefore be very difficult for your average thief to sell on.

"We basically took a look at this situation and said, this is bullshit." -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng's take on patent troll Soverain
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