[CentOS] Dell 120 GB 5400 RPM Encrypted Serial ATA Hard Drive

Robert Heller heller at deepsoft.com
Thu Mar 26 21:26:35 UTC 2009


At Thu, 26 Mar 2009 16:04:06 -0400 CentOS mailing list <centos at centos.org> wrote:

> 
> 
> 
> 
> nate wrote:
> > Agile Aspect wrote:
> >   
> >> Hi - I've been asked to re-partition a
> >>
> >>     Dell 120 GB 5400 RPM Encrypted Serial ATA Hard Drive
> >>
> >> and install CentOS 5 on the new partition.
> >>
> >> It's a Dell Lattitude E5400 laptop.
> >>
> >> Is this even possible with encrypted drives?
> >>     
> >
> > How is it encrypted? Some new laptops come with drive encryption
> > built into the hardware which I believe is totally transparent
> > to the OS, sample device:
> > http://www.seagate.com/docs/pdf/datasheet/disc/ds_momentus_5400_fde_3.pdf
> >
> > Looking at this:
> > http://accessories.dell.com/sna/products/Internal_Hard_Drives/productdetail.aspx?c=ca&l=en&s=dhs&cs=cadhs1&sku=341-6557
> >
> > The drive they have seems similar, so I would expect
> > re-partitioning to work fine, though of course backup any
> > important data before trying.
> >
> > nate
> >
> >   
> Excuse a really dumb question, how does this provide me with security?
> I assume it still uses the normal SATA interface and thus the OS writes 
> to the drive as normal, but now it is encrypted onto the physical 
> media..... so now I steal the laptop, or just the physical drive, plug 
> it into my SATA controller and voila read all the encrypted data off the 
> drive???
> I am obviously missing something - there must be a key somewhere off the 
> drive for this to work as a securely encrypted system.
> Flumoxed!

>From what little I gathered from the promo PDF, there was some mumbling
about the BIOS.  I'm guessing that the drive somehow requests a passkey
during system startup somehow.  But this is only a guess.

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>                              

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Robert Heller             -- 978-544-6933
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