Encrypted external hard drive isn’t

A new external hard drive claims to use hardware data encryption using 128 bit AES. The case is a 2.5″ Easy Nova Data Box PRO-25UE RFID hard drive case by German vendor Drecom.

drecom drive In the security world AES is a recognised and trusted encryption protocol, so at first glance this external hard drive enclosure seems useful for transporting data outside the office or home.

However on closer inspection the drive uses a chipset from INNMAX, the IM7206, believing it provided AES encryption to data. INNMAX’s marketing strongly implies that AES encryption is being used for data on disk.

When questioned, INNMAX said:

The IN7206 merely uses AES encryption when saving the RFID chip’s ID in the controller’s flash memory. The company explained that actual data encryption is based on a proprietary algorithm. The company claims the IM7206 only offers basic protection and is designed for “general purpose” users.

In fact they’re using a security known as XOR, which is as secure as writing “do not read” on an envelope. Anyone with a basic understanding of programming can decode it in minutes.

It’s a case of marketing people not really understanding the technology and using buzzwords to sell products.

If you need to transport lots of data on portable hard drives then you should encrypt the disk using some encryption software, such as the ones mentioned in our previous article.

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