Print 17 comment(s) - last by tcsenter.. on Jan 12 at 1:34 PM

Content security by automatic drive locking enabled

Silicon Image today announced the latest addition to its second-generation SteelVine product family: the Sil5733. The new Sil5733 combines the features of the previously released second-generation SteelVine family and adds content security by automatic drive locking. It is targeted towards the consumer electronics and motherboard manufacturers for internal integration.

The content security by automatic drive locking feature makes this storage controller ideal for consumer electronics device manufacturers who tend to lock the hard disk to the specific device. PC motherboard manufacturers may find use of the Sil5733 as a secure e.SATA controller.

When the Sil5733 is implemented into a device the hard disk is locked to the specific controller and the drive is rendered useless when connected to other controllers. Silicon Image claims “The SiI5733 addresses the risk of data theft from a stolen or lost drive by locking the drive to the host (HDTV, DVR, set-top box or PC) automatically.” The Sil5733 does not appear to have any protection measures if a thief happens to steal both the hard disk and the accompanying host.

Nevertheless, the Sil5733 supports SATA 3.0Gbps, drive cascading and hardware RAID modes such as RAID 0, 1, SAFE33 and SAFE50 like other second-generation SteelVine products.

Expect the Silicon Image Sil5733 to be available in March 2007 with volume pricing for the storage controller only to be below $5.00.

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What they NEED...
By TimberJon on 1/5/2007 4:39:48 PM , Rating: 2
Is a battery with a small amp and capacitor that will direct an EMP charge at the pile(s) from inside the hard drive casing. Activated remotely, much like LowJack. Track it via GPS, and with a tamper-alarm to let you know if theyre trying to access it. If theyre just running with it, let the cops get em. Even with passwords in place, they might be smart enough to try to force-copy the drive if they have the right equipment in the vehicle.

You can jam wireless signals.. then theres the problem of the signal not being there.. faulty or dead battery within the drive... (a lithium should last a LONG time..)
Its a big problem to solve, and is not realistic.

But personally, I would want to have the ability to fry my drive to prevent data theft. Much like the ability to wipe your SIM card remotely if your cell is stolen.

RE: What they NEED...
By codeThug on 1/5/2007 4:50:56 PM , Rating: 2
Nah... Too much work.

Just line the HDA inside with semtex.

RE: What they NEED...
By ScythedBlade on 1/5/2007 6:58:21 PM , Rating: 3
I really wish they would get better with performance instead of all this security ... like with Intel's Matrix Raid ... except without the intel brand name (BTW, a quick quester. I've never used Raid, but if you want to install another hard drive, can you get into raid 0 without reformatting?)

RE: What they NEED...
By masher2 (blog) on 1/5/2007 9:21:13 PM , Rating: 2
> "I really wish they would get better with performance instead of all this security..."

The first time your credit card number winds up being used to buy $39K worth of gold jewelry in Afghanistan, you might change your mind on that.

RE: What they NEED...
By stmok on 1/5/2007 10:07:22 PM , Rating: 3
Firstly, credit card details are typically stolen via Internet and physical scanning means. Not by taking someone's hard disk. Such as:

* Social engineering...That is, to trick people into entering their details on a fake website.

* Physical scanning...Such as a not-so-honest waiter or hotel staff using a plam sized scanner. Or in extreme cases, an overlay with built-in scanner, storage, etc, sitting on an ATM. (From the outside, it looks like a regular ATM keypad and credit card reader)...This is being used by organised crime syndicates around the world.

The problem with such a solution, is that it could cause inconvenience. What happens if I need to move the HDD to another PC as a 2nd HDD, and I want to keep the data?

The idea may work in some scenarios, but this isn't really aimed at the consumer. Why steal a hard disk, if you can physically steal the whole PC or device?

This is aimed at the producers of DVR boxes and such. ie: Folks that are in direct line with distributing content.

Nowadays, hardware manufacturers are doing things to hardware to appease the content providers. Just look at Intel's Trusted Execution Technology or formerly codenamed "LaGrande Technology". And what about HDCP? (Another Intel developed technology!)

Marketing departments will always spin such technology as some security miracle that will make everyone's lives easier...That's on the outside.

On the inside, this is really setting up the hardware infrastructure to control content. And guess who's paying for it? YOU. As soon as you get a excited by more powerful processors, video cards, etc, you will be paying for it. (it'll be infected in all the hardware).

Think about it. Have you heard any admin that uses such technology to lock down a network?

That's the last thing you want. A security mechanism designed specifically locks you into a specific product or forces you to upgrade.

It doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure out this is one of those products.

RE: What they NEED...
By masher2 (blog) on 1/6/2007 4:16:56 AM , Rating: 3
> "The problem with such a solution..."

The OP's statement implied that performance mattered, but security did not. Would you agree with such a bold statement? I surely would not....and that was the purpose of my post, not to endorse or decry this particular solution.

RE: What they NEED...
By mindless1 on 1/6/2007 7:42:02 AM , Rating: 3
Your problem is having the wrong credit card company, not the wrong security strategy.

The next time the lee7 haxxors try to steal the hard drive out of my DVR, maybe I'll change my mind.

RE: What they NEED...
By pnyffeler on 1/6/2007 2:00:33 PM , Rating: 2
Even better would be some C4 triggered to a contact switch. That would teach those filthy technothieves....

Bad Idea :(
By Cogman on 1/5/2007 9:40:47 PM , Rating: 2
This idea is a bad one for computer enthusiasts everywhere. Think about it, How often do you change a HDD when upgrading your system? If you are like me, that is usually the last thing to go. But if this does what they want it to do, your looking at changing out your hard drive every time you upgrade your computer. That Sucks. I don't want to have to buy a new hard drive every time I get a new motherboard. Especially since they have not increased in speed all that much, and wont be able to at the rate that the motherboards change.

All in all, I don't like it. And personally I would not buy a hard drive supporting such technology unless I absolutely had to.

RE: Bad Idea :(
By tcsenter on 1/6/2007 4:47:43 AM , Rating: 2
This idea is a bad one for computer enthusiasts everywhere. Think about it, How often do you change a HDD when upgrading your system? If you are like me, that is usually the last thing to go.
You either enter the SteelVine controller's firmware and unlock the drive before transferring it to a different Host Controller or do a straight-forward copy/transfer/backup of your data to a non-secured drive.

I doubt enthusiasts would be interested in this product, anyway. Silicon Image has several high-end enterprise class storage controllers that have never found their way onto anything except server or enterprise class motherboards and storage controller cards. This will be no different.

The sky is not falling, you may return to looking for Commies hiding under your bed.

RE: Bad Idea :(
By mindless1 on 1/6/2007 7:46:58 AM , Rating: 2
The "sky is falling" comment was particularly senseless given the product is specifically designed and targeted to DO what we (some of us, for some reasons) expressly wanted to avoid.

Do tell, how will someone whom the manufacturer expressly wanted to prevent from changing drives, get to "enter the SteelVine controller's firmware and unlock the drive"? I think you are deluded, this is exactly what they'd take steps to prevent.

Do you always pretend you have some grand concept even when there is a concrete example in front of you?

RE: Bad Idea :(
By Cogman on 1/6/2007 12:31:32 PM , Rating: 2
You either enter the SteelVine controller's firmware and unlock the drive before transferring it to a different Host Controller or do a straight-forward copy/transfer/backup of your data to a non-secured drive.

Did you not read the article? The Locking device is not going to be on the controller, it will be in the hard drive itself.

And where you reading the rest of my post? Putting data on a unsecured drive would imply buying a new Hard drive, something I would completely want to avoid. And basically, if you put your data on another drive. BAM the original is useless to you as it can only work with this system (not to mention that Windows Vista would need to be reinstalled anyways).

"It is targeted towards the consumer electronics and motherboard manufacturers for internal integration."
That does not sound like a product that is targeted at the High-End servers to me. That sounds like it is targeted at everyone. The whole article sounds as if this is trying to hit the main stream market. And to be honest I think the Hard Drive manufactures would LOVE to implement this sort of technology onto all of their Hard Drives. Why? Because it would directly result in the consumer having to buy more hard drives, all for a $5 price increase of the Hard drive.

No, I don't think the sky is falling, But you are blind if you don't think the major cooperations are not going to pull out any trick they can to get your money from you. Just look at all the "Anti-Piracy" technology that flourishes today. It did not take too long for that to catch on. And this is no different.

So May be you should stop day dreaming in this Grandiose Utopia you think we live in.

RE: Bad Idea :(
By tcsenter on 1/12/2007 1:34:43 PM , Rating: 2
The controller allows the drive to be unlocked by the user after erasing the drive's contents, according to Silicon Image's datasheet and whitepaper. In addition, whenever a new drive is attached, the user will be given the option of activating drive locking or not.

Having an extra hard drive or some other storage device for backups when migrating your hard drive from one system to another is a universal best practice and essential in many cases. Backing up your data or disk here is absolutely no different and would not require purchasing any additional storage devices not already essential for periodic backups or archiving.

The primary target on the PC is external hard drives, as is ubiquitously made clear throughout Silicon Image's whitepapers and product briefs (eSATA). Commercial DVRs are targeted for internal drive locking (e.g. TIVO), not every consumer PC motherboard storage controller.

Chicken Little's have been predicting DRM in the storage or host controller for over six years now, asserting it will be in every mainstream PC in the "next" product cycle, and then the next product cycle, or maybe the product cycle after that, well...umm...six years later we still don't have it (but it should be any time now!).

Its good to hear there were no Commies hiding under your bed, but are you sure there aren't any hiding in your closet? Better check...

Too bad
By darkfoon on 1/5/2007 5:04:16 PM , Rating: 5
Say good bye to swapping the HDD in your DVR for a larger one.
The only data theft that they are concerned with is the theft of recorded TV shows; its essentially a hardware DRM.
This is more "Trusted Computing" taking away your rights.

RE: Too bad
By AraH on 1/6/2007 6:35:57 AM , Rating: 3
that's not true, you would be able to swap out the hard disk, although the old one would be useless (because it's locked to the device) and the new one would be locked to the DVR once in.


Just CE and Mobo Co.s?
By dubldwn on 1/5/2007 3:47:53 PM , Rating: 2
It is targeted towards the consumer electronics and motherboard manufacturers for internal integration.

They should widen their target audience, considering the surge in "lost" hard drives, especially within the government. Reminds me of car radios that don't work when they're stolen.

By Googer on 1/7/2007 1:20:48 AM , Rating: 2
Based on Silicon Image's reputation and past performance, I am willing to bet that these chips will be super-fast!

"Nowadays, security guys break the Mac every single day. Every single day, they come out with a total exploit, your machine can be taken over totally. I dare anybody to do that once a month on the Windows machine." -- Bill Gates
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