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ASI to be the first with Seagate's DriveTrust

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 redeployed.

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.





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