Self-destruct sequence fractures the NAND in ultra-secure SSD

SSDs with full-drive encryption are a dime a dozen these days. A UK-based company called SecureDrives is taking data security much further, though. It's developed a line of SSDs with robust encryption, two-factor authentication, and a novel self-destruct mechanism.

256-bit AES encryption is just the beginning for the Autothysis SSD, which can use a physical token or smartphone app for secondary authentication. Those unlocking mechanisms are completely separate from the host machine's operating system and software, so they should be less vulnerable to tampering.

To keep precious data out of the wrong hands, the drive can scramble itself by "flipping" the encryption key. If that's not enough, there's an actual self-destruct routine that involves "fracturing the NAND Flash storage and security processor, effectively giving the same result as taking a hammer to the drive."

The self-destruct sequence can be triggered automatically if the SATA connection is interrupted or any physical tampering is detected. External power isn't required, either; the drive's internal battery has enough juice to fuel self destruction all on its own. There's also an embedded GSM module that allows users to kill the drive remotely via a text message. Naturally, the drive can be configured to commit suicide if the battery runs too low or if the GSM hardware goes without a signal for a predetermined period of time.

All of this is wildly excessive for the vast majority of users, but it's still pretty cool. Too bad the underlying SSD is kind of a dud. There's no word on the controller, but the NAND comes from 20-nm Micron MLC stock, and the SATA interface is limited to 3Gbps. Peak sequential throughput clocks in at a mere 127MB/s. Then there's the price: $1665 for a 128GB drive, which works out to over $13/GB. And that only includes one year of GSM service.

You didn't think an SSD worthy of James Bond would be cheap, did you? Thanks to Gizmodo for the tip.

Comments closed
    • Bensam123
    • 5 years ago

    This definitely needs to be benchmarked… in all fashions!

    • Voldenuit
    • 5 years ago

    OCZ files lawsuit, claims prior art.

    • UberGerbil
    • 5 years ago

    [url<]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MA2KmJMKFrQ&feature=youtu.be&t=1m17s[/url<]

    • UnfriendlyFire
    • 5 years ago

    $13 per GB with a throughput that won’t saturate a 6Gbps connection.

    Wow. Such expensive.

      • thor84no
      • 5 years ago

      It’s pretty obvious that if that’s the criteria you care about in a drive, this is not the device you’re looking for. Move along.

    • wizardz
    • 5 years ago

    [url=http://memegenerator.net/instance/45873075<]Premature Detonation?[/url<]

    • just brew it!
    • 5 years ago

    I wonder if they’ve potted the circuit board. Because if not, then destroying the controller doesn’t increase security much beyond what the encryption already provides, since the data is still physically present on the NAND chips. If the board is potted, then at least it will be extremely difficult to replace the controller.

    Edit: Headline implies that the NAND itself is destroyed, but the text of the news story seems to indicate that only the controller is fried.

      • jdevers
      • 5 years ago

      From the page, NAND destruction is fairly explicit.

      “This patented technology is designed to fragment the NAND Flash along with the security controller…”

        • just brew it!
        • 5 years ago

        Ahh, I parsed the news post incorrectly. I was mentally interpreting “NAND Flash storage and security processor” as “the processor that implements the storage and security functions for the NAND flash”, not “the NAND flash, and the processor that implements its storage and security functions”.

    • geekl33tgamer
    • 5 years ago

    That’s incredibly cool tech, but if any consumer wants this – I would be questioning what on earth they don’t want anyone to see!

      • Terra_Nocuus
      • 5 years ago

      “Oh, you want privacy? You must be guilty!”

        • geekl33tgamer
        • 5 years ago

        Come on, I can’t be the only one that thought it…

      • Milo Burke
      • 5 years ago

      Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton have their reasons…

    • derFunkenstein
    • 5 years ago

    Are they warrantied against accidental self-detonation?

    • not@home
    • 5 years ago

    We have had embedded dram and the like for a while. But, this is a first for embedded plastic explosives.

    • ronch
    • 5 years ago

    [quote<]SSDs with full-drive encryption are a dime a dozen these days.[/quote<] We wish!

    • chuckula
    • 5 years ago

    Yes, but if they don’t explode, then how is Inspector Gadget going to make the Chief look funny???!?!?!???!?!?

    • Star Brood
    • 5 years ago

    And we taxpayers will be footing the bill for the NSA’s new security methods.

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