The security risk of hard disk password protection

    Date04 Apr 2005
    Posted ByBrittany Day
    In most notebooks the hard disk can be protected against unauthorized access with the aid of a password. Without it the disk, even went inserted into another computer, cannot be made to divulge its data. This security function has meanwhile become a feature of almost all 3.5" ATA hard disks and presents a full-blown security loophole.

    Via the so-called ATA Security Feature Set an attacker might lock the hard disk with a password, thus to all intents and purposes locking out its rightful owner. Cracking the password protection by ordinary means, such as by venturing a guess, say, is then entirely out of the question, what with the password running to up to 32 bytes. Though data retrieval companies can still outwit the password protection, their services cost more than a new hard disk would, which in economic terms renders the locked disk a total loss.

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