Self-Encrypting Hard Drives Deter Data Theft
Self-encrypting hard drives are finally hitting the consumer market, providing a much-needed defense against data theft.
Toshiba recently introduced its line of Toshiba Self-Encrypting Drives (SED), designed to render any and all data stored on them unreadable when plugged into an unfamiliar host computer, PCWorld reported.
If the hard drive is lost or stolen, or somehow falls into the wrong hands, the potential for data theft is reduced by a multipronged line of defense.
First, the drive requires authentication when turned on. If the user isn't the drive's rightful owner, the encrypted data on the disk becomes indecipherable. The SED can be configured to restrict access entirely, and also wipe some or all of the contents.
The Toshiba SED can also perform a "crypto-erase" of sensitive data, a process that deletes the keys used by a system to decrypt data, according to the PC World.
Toshiba's self-encrypting drives are designed for PC, copier and printer use as well as point-of-sale systems used in government, financial and medical fields.
Although Toshiba's SEDs are not on sale yet, hard-drive manufacturer Seagate has a line of self-encrypting drives that are currently available for purchase.
The new generation of self-encrypting hard drives should be a boon for the data security industry, which has been the subject of widespread criticism following several recent high-profile data breaches, including a hack at Epsilon which exposed the email databases of dozens of major U.S. companies such as Citi, Best Buy, Capitol One and JPMorgan Chase.