Toshiba's New Hard Drives Can Wipe Themselves Clean When Breached

Toshiba Unveils Self-Encrypting Drives with Auto-Cleaning Capability

by Anton Shilov
04/13/2011 | 01:09 PM

Toshiba Corp. on Wednesday announced the industry's first self-encrypting drives (SEDs) that can wipe themselves clean authomatically when unauthorized data access is detected. The new Toshiba SED models enable OEMs to configure different data invalidation options that align with various end-user scenarios. 


Building on the industry-standard Trusted Computing Group “Opal” specification, the new Toshiba MKxx61GSYG models leverage advanced access security and on-board encryption alongside second generation data wipe technology. Whether to protect against data loss resulting from lost or stolen notebooks or to maintain the security of document image data stored within copier and printer systems, Toshiba SEDs can securely invalidate protected data. Data invalidation attributes can be set for multiple data ranges, enabling targeted data in the drive to be rendered indecipherable by command, on power cycle, or on host authentication error.  This flexibility provides systems designers with a powerful set of data security options that can be easily incorporated into existing system architecture. The data invalidation may be made very rapidly: by deleting the AES256 key and takes a matter of seconds.

Toshiba MKxx61GSYG SEDs with AES256 encryption are available in 160GB, 250GB, 320GB, 500GB and 640GB capacities and sport one or two platters. The drives feature 7200rpm spindle speed, 16MB cache and Serial ATA-300 interface.  Average seek time of the new SEDs is 12ms.


With the latest enhancement to Toshiba’s SED technology, the risk of data theft is reduced in cases where the drive is removed from its defined host environment and connected to an unknown system.  At power ON, the SED and host perform an authentication process. If the authentication fails, the drive can be configured to simply deny access or crypto-erase sensitive user data.

“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 Scott Wright, product manager at Toshiba storage device division.

Customer sampling and volume production of the MKxx61GSYG models will occur in Q2, and Toshiba will focus on working closely with targeted OEMs and security ISVs to help them closely integrate the latest wipe technology features.