Toshiba touts drives that wipe data when turned off

Toshiba on Tuesday introduced a new hard drive feature that can wipe out data after the storage devices are powered down.

The Wipe feature in Toshiba's SED (Self-Encrypting Drives) will allow for deletion of secure data prior to disposing or repurposing hard drives, Toshiba said in a statement. This feature prevents secure data from getting lost or stolen.

The technology revolves around invalidating a hard-drive security key when a system's power supply is turned off.

The first SED drive hard drive was announced in July. The new Wipe capability will go into future versions of the drives, according to the company, which did not provide a timeframe. Drives with the technology will go into hard drives for laptops and desktops. Beyond PCs, Toshiba wants to put this feature on storage devices in copiers and printers, which handle secure documents in digital imaging environments.

The new feature adds a level of convenience to the process of wiping data from hard drives. Today data can be wiped using data-removal software like Eraser, and systems have to keep running as the data is being erased. Depending on the method used and a drive's storage size, erasing data can take hours.

The Wipe feature is based on the Trusted Computing Group "Opal" storage specification, which allows users to protect stored against theft or loss. The hard drives will have hardware modules that enable the Wipe feature.

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