Toshiba releases self-encrypting, self-erasing HDD

Security is an issue that has increased significantly in importance as technology has evolved. With that in mind, Toshiba has created a new line of hard drives that not only encrypt the data stored upon them, but also have the ability to erase themselves if they happen to land in the hands of a thief.

The Toshiba Self-Encrypting Drives are 2.5-inch, 7,200 rpm HDDs ranging from 160GB to 640GB capacities. The drives have a multi-faceted target market, including consumer PCs and enterprise-level organizations.

Toshiba releases self-encrypting, self-erasing HDD

“Digital systems vendors recognize the need to help their customers protect sensitive data from leakage or theft. Toshiba’s security technologies provide designers of copiers, printers, PCs, and other systems with new capabilities to help address these important security concerns,” said Toshiba product manager Scott Wright to Computer World in a statement this week.

So how exactly do these things work?

“The Toshiba SED has a bunch of data-securing tricks up its sleeve,” writes Brennon Slattery of PC World. “When powered on, the host and the Toshiba SED start an authentication process. From there, it can simply restrict access, wipe the entire drive, or wipe only certain blocks of information on the drive. Aside from eliminating data, the Toshiba SED can also do a cryptographic erase, which deletes the keys that allow a system to decrypt data; this approach renders the data unreadable, unless you can reinstate the original keys. All of these powerhouse methods can be jumpstarted by command, on power cycle, or on host authentication error — which Toshiba says is an industry first.”

Toshiba plans on launching five models of the SED in Q2 of this year, initially focusing on shipments to computer manufacturers. No pricing information has been released at this time.

While SSDs have recently increased in popularity because of the performance boosts they offer, security has been an issue. If you’re storing extremely sensitive data on your system, this could be the way to go.