Of late there’s been a spate of high-profile laptop thefts, including 26.5 million military personnel files, Indian nuclear secrets (from one laptop in each case) and the whopping 287 computers lost or stolen by the British MoD over an 18 month period (we always suspected Daniel Craig was soft). One Chinese manufacturer, sensing a market gap, has delivered to what might just save a few red faces in the future – or possibly millions of angry red faces depending on the circumstances.
Typical secure drives used by corporations and government agencies feature ‘whole-drive encryption’, which does render a lot of stolen data unusable. However in an update to its military focused InVincible line of solid state drives (already found in Armoured Personnel Carriers and Helicopters) Runcore has added a pair of features which take things a step further.
The latest InVincible drive comes with two options to erase data – the first is fairly self-explanatory allowing for manually deleting the entire drive via what is essentially a secure erase. The more exotic option available to the owner is an actual self-destruction mechanism that over-volts the drive’s NAND flash. Based on Runcores own pictures this does more than add just ‘a bit too much’ voltage, actually appearing to slag the memory chips altogether, making data extraction just that little bit more difficult.
What isn’t so clear is exactly how this is done. Atomic presumes an automatic trigger encoded to activate in the firmware on being connected to an unsecure computer would be useful, however the vendor just mentions ‘the button of physical destruction’ and ‘the button of intelligent destruction’. Either we’re worryingly more foresighted than Runcore is, or it tends to rely overly on Google translate (this is a question we’re following up for tinfoil hat wearing Atomicans).
Fleshing out Runcore’s secure offerings is a secure USB 2.0 drive, known as the ‘XAPEAR’. This is much like a traditionally RFID secured, encrypted USB drive, however it also contains a simcard, allowing the owner to overwrite the entire protected portion of the drive via a text message. While the truly determined could probably block a cellphone signal, it does allow spies to say things like “Markos! Run a trace on the XAPEAR!” which we suspect they’ll view as a massive bonus. Whether the XAPEAR and InVincible will be offered to the general public on our fair shores has yet to be announced.