Laptop hard drive with on-board encryption a first: Seagate

Thanks to Amano for his front page submission.

ASI Computer Technologies of Markham, Ontario, Canada will be the first to sell laptop computers using Seagate Technology LLC's computer hard drives with built-in encryption technology. The Scotts Valley, California-based company has included a chip that automatically encrypts all data written to the Momentus 5400 FDE (Full Disk Encryption) hard drive on the fly, rendering it unreadable without a digital key or password and allowing all data stored on it to be instantly erased. "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.

Seagate says its hardware-based technology has an advantage over software-based encryption (example: Microsoft's BitLocker, include in Ultimate and Enterprise editions of Vista), in part because it would make it impossible to even start a computer without proper authentication. The 2.5-inch 160 gigabyte-capacity hard drive is to include security management software by Wave Systems Corporation of Lee, Massachusetts, to help companies use the encryption technology. "The drive's hardware-based full disc encryption delivers significantly stronger protection against hacking and tampering than traditional encryption approaches by securely performing all cryptographic operations and key management within the drive," the world's largest maker of computer hard drives said in a written statement.

Link: Forum Discussion (Thanks Hum)
News source: CBC News

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16 Comments

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Theory :It's cool cause nobody can take your disk and read all the porn important information.

Reality :HD trend to fail, a encrypt disk for a fail is equal to loss all the datas and this is (believed me) not funny at all.


isn't this more insecure? the tpm chip on mobo so far ensured the key wasn't on the hdd. now a person stealing a hdd will carry the key with him too as its on the hdd itself.

is this more secure or less secure?

Hi,

It might be cool to encrypt all of your data (either automatically or via software) however when the hard drive fails or the electronics onboard fail and scramble all of your data then you are out of luck.

No repair facility will be able to rescue your information and given the shockingly exaggerated MTBF values drive manufacturers have quoted then your drive will fail sooner rather than later.

You had better have really good backups!

Regards

Simon


Actually, Bitlocker can prevent the machine starting up if the hard disk is stolen, as well. It relies on TPM chips, which are part of the physical machine, and other keys that are linked to your windows password.

Blackice said,
Actually, Bitlocker can prevent the machine starting up if the hard disk is stolen, as well. It relies on TPM chips, which are part of the physical machine, and other keys that are linked to your windows password.

The trouble is that you have to have Windows Vista, a TPM module, and a TMP-compatible MOBO for Bitlocker to work. Much more economical and efficient to just have a encryption chip on the HDD itself. Yeah, you can use Bitlocker on top of that if you're really paranoid, but why waste the money?

Croquant said,
The trouble is that you have to have Windows Vista, a TPM module, and a TMP-compatible MOBO for Bitlocker to work. Much more economical and efficient to just have a encryption chip on the HDD itself. Yeah, you can use Bitlocker on top of that if you're really paranoid, but why waste the money?

Exactly, and don't forget all the concerns about the "Trusted" ( x) ) Module Computing chips
I'd rather not have one in my PC! The Seagate solution is significantly better, whichever way you look at it.

I wonder do the read / write speeds suffer much, if at all. But I suppose security is more important than performance in the situations that these drives are intended for.

Nice :D. Couple that with BitLocker, and then a virtual partition with TrueCrypt...... And your data is practically unstealable :|. For the ultra-paranoid.