Are SSDs a Security Risk?


The past few months we've watched SSDs gain momentum and attract the focus of both manufacturers and consumers. From larger capacities to faster performance, traditional hard drives suddenly find themselves on the verge of obsolesence. Or do they?

One of the biggest concerns surrounding SSDs continues to be long-term reliability, but there might even be a bigger stumbling block. Because many SSDs use industry-standard NAND flash chips designed for handheld gadgets, physical security becomes a potential issue. Jim Handy, director of semiconductor research and consulting firm Objective Analysis, points out there's nothing to prevent a hacker from unsoldering NAND chips from an SSD and extracting the data using a flash chip programmer. "There's really nothing sophisticated about this process," Handy said.

But that's not the only method. A hacker could use an ultraviolet laser to wipe out lock bits (encryption locks) from fuses on chip that secure SSDs. The data can then be read without any special software.

Is Jim Handy right to be concerned? Hit the jump to post your thoughts.

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