New Toshiba Hard Disks to Self-Erase Secure Data

Dennis Faas's picture

Too often security measures taken against identity theft, malware infection and other vulnerabilities are performed in reaction to an attack. With the creation of their latest hard drive feature, however, Toshiba is taking a proactive approach in combating online thieves.

The new Toshiba hard drive boasts a feature that effectively wipes out data after the storage devices are powered down. The Wipe setting is available with Toshiba's SED (Self-Encrypting Drives) and promises to delete secure data prior to disposing or repurposing hard drives. (Source:

While the new technology actually works by invalidating a hard-drive security key when the power supply is turned off, its main purpose is to prevent secure data from getting lost or stolen. Without the key, data on the drive "becomes indecipherable and would appear virtually 'erased' to would-be snoops." (Source:

Toshiba Wipe Feature: Software-Free, Cost-Cutting

While an interesting and important feature, a number of products are already available on the market that perform in a similar manner to that of 'the Wipe'. The Eraser, for example, is a form of data-removal software that requires the system to keep running as the data is being erased. The process of erasing data can take hours, depending on the method used and the storage size of the hard drive.

Having the Wipe feature embedded into the hard drive saves the hassle of having to purchase and install additional software to get the job done. At the same time, its ability to instantaneously wipe the drive's data out even without requiring power saves time and money in the long run.

Coming to a Desktop and Laptop Near You

Talk of the first SED hard drive began this past July. While no specific ship date for the Wipe-based drives has been announced, the feature is expected to be incorporated in future versions of the drives.

Toshiba did announce, however, that the technology will first go into hard drives designed for laptops and desktops. If successful, the company plans to one day include the feature with other storage devices such as copiers and printers, which also continue to handle secure documents on a frequent basis. (Source:

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