Did you know that the majority of external hard drives that you can buy today, manufactured by Western Digital (WD), have hardware encryption built into the enclosure? Seems like a good idea right? It is a great selling point for Western Digital, right??
We are all for protecting your data. Keeping it safe from those who might use the picture of you dressed up like Little Orphan Annie from last Halloween as blackmail is important.
But, when data is encrypted at a hardware level you have very little control over your data should something go wrong. And with they way WD has implemented this encryption, your data isn’t really all that safe just because it is encypted. Consider this, the data on the drive is only protected if the hard drive is removed from its enclosure. The enclosure itself has the encryption chip. So, if your hard drive is stolen from your office anyone could plug it into a computer and see your data. Not much protection, eh?
Encryption works by running your data through an algorithym that scrambles the data based on an encryption key. So, saving the word “CAT” in an encrypted format might look like “$r,”. If you lose that key, there is NO way to decrypt that data. What happens if your encryption key is actually stored on a computer chip and determined by WD, then that chip stops working. Cancel Christmas!!
We have recovered data from many, many WD drives that other firms and IT groups have determined that the data is lost because of this encryption. If you have a WD external drive do not ever throw away the enclosure – it is the key to a successful recovery.