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Hard disk erases itself when stolen from a device

Apr 14, 2011 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

Toshiba announced a family of hard disk drives that offer AES-256 hardware encryption and the ability to erase themselves in case of theft. The MKxx61SYG drives comply with the Trusted Computing Group's Opal Security Subsystem Class specification, spin at 7,200rpm, have 12ms average access times, and are available in capacities from 160GB to 640MB, according to their manufacturer.

Last November, Toshiba announced its MKxx61GSYD range of hard disk drives, incorporating "government-grade" AES-256 hardware encryption into the devices' controller electronics. According to the manufacturer, its SED (self-encrypting drive) technology works "at I/O speeds," offering the best level of security and requiring no processor cycles from a host.

It was said at the time that the MKxx61GSYD AES-256 encryption algorithm is certified by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), as well as meeting the Opal Security Subsystem Class specification from the Trusted Computing Group (TCG). Access to the SATA-interfaced drives can be disabled remotely using capabilities included in Intel's Active Management Technology (AMT), Toshiba added.

Toshiba's newly announced MKxx61GSYG drives (right) use the same SED technology as before, but they can now render data inaccessible automatically whenever a drive is removed from its defined host and connected to an unknown system. This makes the disks suitable not only for desktop PCs and laptops, but also for sensitive embedded devices such as ATMs, copiers, kiosks, and point-of-sale systems, the company says.

According to Toshiba, data on a drive may be rendered undecipherable by remote command, power cycle, or host authentication error. The disks may be configured simply to deny access, or to crypto-erase sensitive information, adds the company.

Specs for Toshiba's MKxxG61SYG
(Click to enlarge)

As indicated by the table above, the MKxxG61SYG drives come in 160GB, 250GB, 320GB, 500GB, and 640GB capacities. All spin at 7,200rpm, have 12ms average access times, and use just over two Watts, according to Toshiba.

Further information

According to Toshiba, the MXxxG61SYG drives will begin sampling in the second quarter, closely followed by volume production. More information may be found on Toshiba's MKxxG61SYG product page.

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