Disk Manufacturers Settle on Encryption Standard

Disk drive manufacturers of the world, unite!

According to Computer World, the six biggest disk drive companies on the planet have put their heads together and agreed upon a set of encryption standards, which will eventually make their way onto every hard drive and solid state drive on the market. The Trusted Computing Group (TCG), which includes Seagate, Western Digital, Hitachi and Toshiba as some of its storage members, has released details on three encryption standards which cover desktop, laptop and enterprise storage drives.

The three specifications introduced by the group today each target a different segment of the hard drive industry. The Opal specification gives requirements for hard drives used in desktops and laptops. The Enterprise Security Subsystem Class specification focuses on enterprise hard drives, which are typically found in data centers. The last standard, or Storage Interface Interactions specification, focuses on the connection types, including Parallel ATA, Serial ATA, SCSI and ATAPI.

“Lost and stolen data costs industry and consumers hundreds of millions of dollars, not to mention loss of credibility, legal issues and lost productivity," said Robert Thibadeau, chief technologist at Seagate and chairman of TCG's Storage workgroup. "TCG’s approach to Trusted Storage gives vendors and users a transparent way to fully encrypt data in hardware without affecting performance so that data is safe no matter what happens to the drive.”

With universal encryption standards, end-user security is now already in place. If Joe Q. Consumer buys a new internal hard drive at retail, or an IT department is refitting its servers with new enterprise drives, the security is already there, making their lives and jobs a lot easier, as well as potentially saving them money.

According to the statement released by the TCG, over 250 million records have been lost and/or stolen since 2005. With these new universal specifications, perhaps that number will be drastically reduced over the next several years.

You can find the TCG's statement in its entirety here.

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  • jhansonxi
    Trusted Computing Group - the ultimate in DRM:
  • joex444
    This is pathetically unspecific. What kind of encryption did they decide on, a Caesar shift cipher or AES256?
  • TheViper
    Maybe it uses a Rotating Clear Text.