Toshiba Reveals Self-Wipe HDDs, Hide Your Vids!

Monday Toshiba revealed a new technology for its Self-Encrypting Drive (SED) hard drives that allow for secure wiping of sensitive data when a system is powered down, or when the HDD is physically removed from a system. Called Wipe Technology, the new tech could also be used to erase user data before returning a leased system, or before a defunct system is taken out to the trash.

But there's a catch: the data isn't really deleted. When the drive's power supply is severed, Toshiba's Wipe Technology merely invalidates the security key that was originally used to encrypt the stored data. Without the key, data becomes indecipherable and virtually "erased" to would-be snoops. Now nervous administrators won't have to worry about company notebooks loaded with sensitive info being left behind at the local bar.

Although Toshiba's Wipe Technology would be ideal for government use, the company indicated that copier and printer systems vendors would benefit by automatically erasing the SED's internal encryption key, eliminating "data at rest"--sensitive document images stored on the hard drives inside copiers and printers.

"This feature can easily be used prior to system disposal or re-purposing to ensure that private data never leaves the control of the responsible business unit or IT department," Toshiba added. Wipe Technology also reduces overall time investment to secure data, removing the need to use overwriting software to erase data or physically destroy a device.

Toshiba's new Wipe Technology will be included on the 2.5-inch 7200rpm SED HDD announced last month. The drive will supposedly offer on-board encryption and improved access security for both notebooks and desktops. It was also designed with the Trusted Computing Group "Opal" Specification in mind.