In Win 2.5” drive enclosure has RFID encryption

COMPUTEX — In Win’s Computex booth caught our eye because of the strong military theme and the decommissioned assault rifles lying around. (More on that later.) That theme choice wasn’t entirely gratuitous, as it turned out, because the firm was pimping its new rifle magazine-styled Ammo hard drive enclosure.

The Ammo is designed to enclose 2.5" mobile hard drives and connect them to an outside system via USB. The steel enclosure certainly looks distinctive, and coupled with the internal silicon shock absorbers, it ought to keep the hard drive inside relatively safe from shocks. Well, as long as the hard drive’s guts stay in place.

That’s not the most interesting part, though. See that dog tag in the photo? That’s not decorative. Set it within 5 mm of the enclosure, and the RFID chip inside will unlock the contents of your hard drive. Pull the dog tag away, and the built-in RFID encryption technology purportedly makes your files inaccessible.

In Win expects the Ammo to reach U.S. shores next month with a suggested retail price of $50.

On another note, In Win was seemingly balancing out the military theme in the biggest part of its booth with a smaller, girly-themed section at the back. In that section, we saw this:

Looks like a porcelain box, doesn’t it? Well, that’s actually the NA, a 3.5" hard drive enclosure. Yeah, it’s got cables poking out the back and everything. The activity light shines through the lid, and you can slide that lid off easily to reveal the hard drive mounting mechanism under it. This isn’t quite as new a  product as the Ammo, though—it’s already available at Newegg for $35.99.

Comments closed
    • ssway
    • 11 years ago

    Great…..until you lose your ‘dogtag’. Stupid idea IMO.

    • Trymor
    • 11 years ago

    I thought I read somewhere that RFID was easily copied and resubmitted or something. Of course I could be wrong, I sometimes mix up facts on my quest to read the whole internet 😉

      • AxMi-24
      • 10 years ago

      That is true. This is a gimmick for people who don’t know any better. Like the crap about keeping the encryption algorithm secret in order to make it more secure.

    • sluggo
    • 11 years ago

    The first that came to mind when I saw that porcelain box was “specimen tray”.

    • anand
    • 11 years ago

    Having a hard drive shaped like a rifle magazine seems like a bad idea if you ever travel by air…

    • UberGerbil
    • 11 years ago

    The dogtag has to be within 5mm of the drive for it to unencrypt the drive contents? Is there some more secure way to place the tag there than just laying it on top like that? A socket or something? Because I doubt it weighs very much, and with that chain hanging off it there are lots of situations where it’ll get snagged or bumped or just slide off… and having your hard drive suddenly stop responding in the middle of something wouldn’t be good.

    I’ll set aside any questions about the encryption process and the RFID tag itself until I know more — its an interesting approach, but as implemented it seems like there might be even more basic issues.

      • Forge
      • 11 years ago

      Perhaps it’s supposed to be ‘m’, meters, not ‘mm’, millimeters?

        • UberGerbil
        • 11 years ago

        Maybe. RFID normally works at more reasonable distances, but who knows how they designed this.

        • ludi
        • 11 years ago

        5m would be an awfully long distance for an RFID device. 5cm-5dm would be more plausible AFAIK.

          • ssidbroadcast
          • 11 years ago

          I’ve heard and seen evidence that RFID is good within 5 meters, maybe 10. They use that tech at the WA-BC border crossing, and they certainly don’t need to be within 5cm of your Enhanced ID.

            • ludi
            • 11 years ago

            True, come to think of it I think some of those automatic toll transponders are RFID? Guess it depends in part on the size of the tag’s hardware, since it has to reply back using only its internal antenna.

            • UberGerbil
            • 11 years ago

            There are two types of RFID tags — active and passive. The passive ones have no power source of their own, and respond entirely via the energy transmitted to them as part of the interrogation request. Your passport/enhanced ID obviously doesn’t have a battery in it, so it’s passive; the fact that it can function over several meters just tells you they’re using relatively powerful/sensitive interrogation equipment at the border. The tags on merchandise / inventory work the same way, but because the scanners are generally not as powerful (often hand-held and battery powered) the tags need to be nearer to them to respond.

            It’s not at all clear whether this dogtag contains a battery or not, but the scanner in the drive has to be powered by USB (using whatever is left over after powering the drive) so it’s not going to be a particularly strong transmitter.

            It’s quite possible that the tag is only checked when the drive initially powers up, though I wonder how that interacts with the system powering down the drive after a time-out (which is a common part of power profiles, particularly for laptops). From a security standpoint, I’d much rather have the drive lock whenever I walk away (assuming I take the dogtag with me). For that reason a range of a meter or so should be adequate; in fact, you might want the drive to simply sleep (power down) whenever the RFID tag isn’t detected (attempts to wake it would cause it to look for the RFID and then spin up or not depending on the response).

            • just brew it!
            • 11 years ago

            q[

      • eitje
      • 11 years ago

      wrap the chain around the drive! 😉

      but i slot idea.

      • nerdrage
      • 11 years ago

      I’m guessing the dog tag only needs to be present on power-up. Otherwise, like you said, it’s an accident waiting to happen.

    • ssidbroadcast
    • 11 years ago

    Imagine if they mixed up their orders…

      • MadManOriginal
      • 11 years ago

      “Don’t ask, don’t tell”

        • Rakhmaninov3
        • 11 years ago

        ROFLOL!!!!!!!

    • emorgoch
    • 11 years ago

    I just built my girlfriend a new computer using the In Win Allure (http://images.google.ca/images?q=in%20win%20allure&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&hl=en&tab=wi) case. I think I just found part of her Christmas present.

    • [TR]
    • 11 years ago

    Those PSUs wouldn’t use the same RFID principle, by any chance?
    That would be cool. The PC would only be powered if the dog tags were around it.

      • ludi
      • 11 years ago

      Go down that road very far, and it quickly becomes much more practical to just install a locking server room.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 11 years ago

    I read the headline as ‘RDF Encryption’ at first glance although they first picture doesn’t go along with the Mac asthetic. I thought maybe someone had figured out a way to encrpyt the RDF in such a way that it is impossible to crack versus merely very hard to crack like it is now.

    • highlandr
    • 11 years ago

    Yeah, I would say both of those are….

    Interesting.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 11 years ago

    Despite the ‘girly theme’ I almost like that enclosure. I can see how it might go with some people’s decor *cough* Mac users* a lot better than most enclosures.

      • ludi
      • 11 years ago

      Mac users are girly men, you say?

        • Meadows
        • 11 years ago

        Experience shows it.

        • ssidbroadcast
        • 11 years ago

        Yeah I’m fairly effeminate, compared to most men.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This