Thursday, June 16, 2005

Encrypted Laptop Hard Drives

Yesterday someone asked me what I thought about encrypted laptop hard drives. I believe he was referring to this recent Seagate press release. The new Seagate Momentus Full Disk Encryption (FDE) product should ship this winter and will provide OS-independent disk encryption. This Extreme Tech article references technology by 4c Entity to encrypt the drive.

4 comments:

Dv8or025 said...

He might also have been referring to the Flagstone products from Stonewood I have no experience with those drives but I noticed them on Infosecurity Europe 2005 in London. They also have versions approved for use by the UK Government.

So far for my 2 eurocents! ;-)

J Ward said...

Yesterday someone asked me what I thought about encrypted laptop hard drives

Ok, so what did you think? Ive seen various techniques using a USB flashdrive key for bootup on encrypted disk setup and loop-AES setups, but what techniques do you recommend?

Richard Bejtlich said...

Looks like we have to wait until 1Q06:

AnandTech.

Anonymous said...

The Seagate drives don't exist. Feel free to call 'em up and ask 'em. Once you actually get their tech support on the line, they'll freely admit that the drives require a specially-written BIOS that no one is using and that literally none of the drives have been sold. Total vaporware.

The Flagstone drives, otoh, are quite real. I'm not sure how much I like them in an external configuration, though. I have a Flagstone Freedom USB drive in 60gig capacity and it works fine. The install disk put some sort of .NET voodoo on my boot drive and now every time I boot up, I have to enter a password to access the USB drive.

I don't know how well the .NET stuff works (actually, I haven't a clue just HOW any .NET stuff works), so I'm not entirely comfortable with this. Based on what I had read of them online, I expected to get an interrupt of the BIOS during boot during which I was to enter a password, but this only seems to be the case when the Flagstone drive is the boot drive. (The USB drive can be set up to be the boot drive, btw.)

I'll put it this way - my next laptop will be bought with as cheap a hard drive as is offered and I'm going to replace it with a Flagstone. I guess that's about as much of an endorsement as I can offer.

Oh, btw, my 60gig external drive cost about USD$500. HTH.