Seagate announced today that ASI Computer Technologies will
be the first manufacturer to sell notebook computers with full disk encryption
(FDE). The ASI notebook model C8015 will feature Seagate's Momentus 5400 FDE.2 80GB
hard disk drive with “DriveTrust” technology, a hardware-based FDE to provide
strong data protection and requires only a user key to encrypt all data, not
just selected files or partitions, on the drive.
Seagate’s FDE puts all security keys and cryptographic
operations on the drive, separating them from the operating system to provide
greater protection against hacking and tampering than traditional software
alternatives, which can give thieves backdoor access to encryption keys. Seagate’s
FDE eliminates disc initialization and configuration required by encryption
software, and allows hard drive data to be erased instantly so the drive can be
ASI is considered one of the smaller players in the notebook
market, selling its computers through online venues such as Newegg.com,
PowerNotebooks.com and ZipZoomfly.com. ASI also makes “whitebook” notebooks that are sold to other resellers who brand
their own names on the hardware.
Seagate is in discussions with other OEMs for the wider use
of its FDE-enabled drives. “We will obviously be selling this to worldwide
resellers,” said Michael Hall, a Seagate spokesman.
Businesses and government agencies are likely to take a
great interest in hard disk drives with built-in encryption technologies. In
February, audits by the U.S. Department of Justice revealed that the FBI count
not account for 317
laptops that were lost, missing or stolen over a 28 month period. In
response to multiple
incidents of stolen data, the Bush
Administration on June 23, 2006 mandated that all government mobile computers
and devices must fully encrypt all data, but has yet to come to a decision on
which FDE technology to employ.
Dozens of states require businesses to
encrypt computer data, according to the AP. “I
can't help but think that this kind of hard drive would become a standard issue
on corporate laptops,” said Dave Reinsel, a storage industry analyst at market
research firm IDC.