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Microsem licenses DPA countermeasure technologies from Rambus

Editor:- January 29, 2015 - Rambus today announced that Microsemi will serve as reseller in the government and military sectors for certain differential power analysis (DPA) technologies developed by Rambus's cryptography research division.

As the first major FPGA company to license DPA countermeasures, Microsemi has identified DPA as a significant vulnerability in chip security, specifically for the mission-critical applications found in government and military settings.

SSD Encryption Everywhere?

Editor:- August 25, 2014 - the future of SSDs is "self-encryption everywhere!"

That's the conclusion of a paper - SSDs with Self Encryption: Solidly Secure (pdf) - which was presented recently at the Flash Memory Summit.

The author Michael Willett (who has worked as a storage security strategist for various leading organizations) reviews the threats and business impacts posed by data security breaches, and compares the performance of HDDs and SSDs both with and without encryption.

Editor's comments:- while I'd agree that security inside storage devices is nearly always a good thing - I can think of some examples in which the opposite is true.

For example:- when scientists are using SSDs as data loggers which collect raw physical data - particularly in experiments where due to environmental conditions there is a possibility that the drives may fail during the experiments.

Drives which are encrypted pose challenges for data recovery.

So disabling encryption - or not having it in the first place - may be a good thing for this type of application.

The biggest risk posed by losing the drive in a phsyics experiment - or astronomical observation - is that one of your colleagues extracts the data before you - but you'd know that by reading their paper!

On the other hand if the drive fails - and it's still in your possession - then you can recover the data for yourself - you may change your career prospects by having captured the details of a rare event.

Cactus adds write disable switch to industrial CFast

Editor:- April 10, 2014 - Cactus Technologies today announced that it has introduced a new security option - of having a physical write protect switch - in its 900S series of industrial SLC CFast SSDs.

It works like this. When the write protect switch is in the disabled position, the CFast card reads and writes as normal. When the switch is enabled, the card will read as normal, but all write attempts are ignored. Data already stored on the card is safe from overwrite.

"This write protect feature has already been successfully implemented in the gaming, military and other markets" said Sai-Ying Ng, President of Cactus Technologies.

Who's got your keys?

Editor:- April 5, 2014 - "Think about it" says Chandar Venkataraman, Chief Product Officer, Druva - "If your service provider has access to your encryption keys, can you really say that your data is secure?"

That's just one of the thought provoking ideas in his new blog - 5 Things You Didn't Know About the Cloud

See also:- SSD empowered cloud, SSD enterprise software

Apacer's new waterproof SSD

Editor:- January 28, 2014 - Apacer says it wil demonstrate a new "seamless waterproof SSD that operates even when immersed in water" on Booth #700 at the DistribuTECH 2014 show which starts today in San Antonio, TX.

see also:- industrial SSDs

Microsemi's new SSD for vetronics can erase 256GB in < 8S

Editor:- May 23, 2013 - Microsemi today announced that it has secured multiple design-wins for its new Series 200 TRRUST-Stor (rugged self encrypting, 2.5" SATA SSD with 256GB SLC capacity and fast purge).

The company says a full hardware-based erase takes less than 8 seconds. The 200 model has R/W throughput which is twice as fast as the company's earlier TRRUST-Stor due to a new generation of the company's Armor processor. Developed to endure harsh environments the new SSD - which has hardware-implemented AES 256 encryption - can withstand up to 3,000G shock and 30G rms of vibration.

Toshiba samples encrypted SAS SSD

Editor:- January 6, 2013 - Toshiba says it's sampling a new range of 2.5" SAS MLC SSDs - with self encrypting security features and on board sanitization. The PX02SMQ/U has upto 1.6TB capacity.

Crocus will sample secure fast MRAM controllers in January 2013

Editor:- November 5, 2012 - Crocus Technology today announced that in January 2013 it will sample 1.2MByte high speed SIMs and small secure MRAM controllers. The fast R/W speeds will enable optimized personalization and over-the-air updates in NFC-enabled smartphones.

"The CT32MLU product family breaks the barrier of traditional non-volatile memory that will provide smartcard makers with best-in-class secure element microcontrollers with a 20 to 30% smaller footprint," said Alain Faburel, VP security business unit at Crocus Technology.

SSDs or hard drives? - the data forensics differences

Editor:- October 23, 2012 - When you need to retrieve critical unbacked up data from a damaged notebook (which you left in the car when you clambered out the window after realizing that the puddle across the road was much deeper than you first thought) you call the process "data recovery" - but when a court seizes a suspect's notebook to try and retrieve data which may have been deliberately "deleted" - they call it "data forensics" - either way - in the most demanding cases the experts who work on these tasks are the same.

SSD Data Recovery (as opposed to dumb flash memory recovery) is a relatively new market which didn't exist 5 years ago.

A recent article Why SSD Drives Destroy Court Evidence - on a site called - discusses how techniques which are essential to the operation of flash SSDs (such as garbage collection and wear leveling) mean that from the forensic viewpoint SSDs yield up potentially much less deliberately deleted recoverable data than hard drives.

RunCore's video - phone to purge USB SSD

Editor:- May 22, 2012 - sometimes if I'm watching a movie I realize it's going to be bad - but in a way which is nevertheless all too fascinating to watch. How bad it will get? Look! - see it's getting worse - but still taking itself seriously. So - instead of zapping it like I should - I stay transfixed. Such bad movies are an artform.

What about promotional videos though? - on the subject of SSDs...

Mostly these are just time wasting. But today - in the "so dreadful I kept watching it nearly to the end" category was a new video on YouTube from RunCore about its Xapear SSD.

RunCore was the first company to haul "phone to purge capability" over the cost chasm which divides military SSDs over to the consumer SSD market - which it did 2 years ago - and the new video is simply about their latest model which combines RFID with the phone zap technology in an external USB connected SSD.

As a security concept I was convinced the idea had merit - when I first wrote about it 2 years ago. So I wasn't keen to see another new video about the same topic. But I'm glad I did - because it's an artform. to watch video

Samsung enters fast erase SSD market

Editor:- January 5, 2012 - Samsung has entered the fast purge SSD market - which currently numbers about 25 companies.

The company says that models of its PM810 2.5" SATA SSD family with its Crypto Erase technology deletes targeted data in a couple of seconds regardless of the overall volume of data or the capacity of the SSD. These models have been validated for compliance to NIST FIPS 140-2

a new way to kill flash SSD data

Editor:- March 15, 2011 - Pangaea Media has recently entered the SSD backup market with a removable 2.5" SSD which integrates backup, encryption and a completely new (to me) patented fast purge technology.

SSD Bookmarks - from Foremay's CTO and co-founder

Editor:- March 1, 2011 - today published SSD Bookmarks - suggested by Jack H Winters, CTO, Foremay .

Jack H Winters' suggestions are focused on the topic of managing data security in flash SSDs (both in working and not working devices). These links take you on a tour of the published state of the art in fast / secure SSD data erase and the related issue of SSD encryption.

RunCore launches world's 1st CF card SSD with fast purge

Editor:- November 9, 2010 - RunCore has launched the world's first CF card compatible SSDs with fast (typically 30 seconds) on-board sanitization functions.

The fast erase - which is designed to protect confidential data leaks and thwart any attempts at data recovery - is achieved by pressing a button or activating erase pins while the device is powered. It can be once again used by formatting after the data destruction process.

Editor's comments:- due to the popularity of the CF form factor in consumer products many equipment designers have adopted it as a convenient way of incorporating solid state storage into products in the industrial, medical and prosumer markets. Without an on-board fast purge feature - achieving effective disk sanitization as a software process in an SSD can take upto 24 hours (depending on disk capacity). RunCore's industrial CF cards are true SSDs with wear-leveling, vibration tolerance and low power consumption.

a reader asked me about notebook SSD encryption

Editor:- June 29, 2010 - a reader asked me some good questions about notebook SSD encryption.

Did encryption impact performance and endurance? Had I already written about this in another article he had missed? ...see what I said

Super Talent's Cryptic USB 3 SSD

Editor:- March 2, 2010 - Super Talent Technology today announced imminent availability of a new encrypted USB 3 flash SSD - with upto 256GB capacity.

When I asked for more technical details I was told the datasheet isn't ready yet. The USB 3.0 SuperCrypt is a true SSD (with wear-leveling). Internally the module (95 x 34 x 15.4 mm) is a SATA SSD with a USB bridge chip.

Fast Purge flash SSDs

Editor:- September 25, 2009 - today published a new directory of Fast Purge flash SSDs.

The need for fast and secure data erase - in which vital parts of a flash SSD or its data are destroyed in seconds - has always been a requirement in military projects. Although many industrial SSD vendors are offering their products with extended "rugged" operating environment capabilities - it's the availability of fast purge which differentiates "true military" SSDs which can be deployed in defense applications.

Most Secure USB Flash Memory Stick

Editor:- July 13, 2009 - IronKey today announced the launch of its S200 USB flash drive for government and enterprise customers.

IronKey's CEO David Jevans said: "The IronKey S200 is the first and only USB flash drive to achieve the demanding FIPS 140-2, Level 3 security validation from NIST, giving even more proof that IronKey is the world's most secure flash drive. We are also releasing a suite of new enterprise remote management capabilities, available over the Internet from the IronKey managed service, or from our enterprise server software that companies can install and operate themselves."

ZoneLoc Prevents flash SSD Data Walking into the Wrong Hands

Phoenix, Arizona - February 12, 2009 - White Electronic Designs Corp announced a new technology - ZoneLoc - which automatically desanitizes a flash SSD to military standards - when the device is moved outside a specified operating zone - to prevent data falling into enemy hands.

The boundary can be tied to a fixed location or made to be portable for mobile applications. ZoneLoc has configurable features and options, including audible warnings, programmable response times, wireless remote purging and sensitivity modes. Because the protected device takes its own action, autonomously, security is guaranteed. ...White Electronic Designs profile, Storage Security, Disk Sanitizers

STMicroelectronics Samples Secure e-Passport Microcontroller

Geneva, Switzerland - November 25, 2008 - STMicroelectronics is sampling a new microcontroller for secure identity cards.

The ST23YR80, which offers contact and contactless interfaces, complies with the most advanced security smartcard standards and meets ICAO requirements for machine readable travel documents. The EAC (extended access control) e-Passport operation will be supported in less than 3.5 seconds. The device can also optimize the operating distance and transaction time by adapting its processor clock speed to the magnetic field of the application reader It has 80Kbytes of onchip flash memory to store extra biometric data. ...STMicroelectronics profile, storage chips

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Vendors don't like to talk much about the implementation details - but the fast purge options in SSDs typically fall into 2 categories:- fastest operation, or lowest power.
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"Don't use Self-Encrypting SSDs (if you think you might need a future data recovery)..."
That's the "advice" in a blog SSDs: Flash Technology with Risks and Side-Effects (August 2013) - by Kroll Ontrack - which goes on to say -

"This type of encryption is very secure, but ensures total data loss in the event of a failure. With SEDs, the encryption keys are only known to the hardware manufacturers and will not be released. What this means is in the event of a failure, the data is no longer accessible to professional data recovery companies".

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Military projects started using SSDs as early as the 1970s because they were faster, more rugged and more reliable than hard drives.
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