A brilliant, secure SSD that Apple should have designed

A brilliant, secure SSD that Apple should have designed

Summary: There's a new Kickstarter campaign for a brilliant SSD with a host of features that will have Seagate, WD and Toshiba kicking themselves that they didn't think of first. Will it succeed?

SHARE:

SoSecure has launched a Kickstarter campaign for a built-from-scratch, highly-secure smartphone controlled solid-state drive (SSD). It's got a host of features that should have Seagate, WD, and Toshiba ashamed that they didn't think of first:

  • Secure — hardware 256-bit AES CBC (cipher-block chaining) and certified FIPS 140-2 level 3.

  • USB 3.0 and SATA interfaces for both portable and installed use

  • Smartphone management and authentication

  • Data locking – through smartphone app & automatically when drive is disconnected from your computer

  • Simple backups - Zero Touch Backup, automatic, fully secure, fast drive backups

  • Instant data deletion – simple data destroy button

This is truly innovative technology and design:

"Random generated encryption keys are further salted via two forms of user input. Firstly by using the smartphone's accelerometer and secondly using the smartphone's touch screen. Both truly random inputs generate a very long number which is applied to the encryption key. Salting the key in this way overcomes the computer's inability to generate a truly random number.

Encryption key management which is normally done via software for self-encrypting drives has been moved for the first time to a smartphone application via built-in Bluetooth. This firstly removes the need for software and secondly protects you against keyloggers. It also allows... many new features to be offered... like Proximity Alert and Motion Detection.

There's a small, replaceable battery to power the drive when it isn't plugged into SATA or USB, which recharge it. You pair it with your smartphone — iOS and Android — and it can tell you when goes too far away or is moved.

The smartphone app looks well-designed and straight forward:

Screen Shot 2014-06-11 at 6.18.33 AM
Image: SoSecure

You can even get versions with carbon fibre, oak, or custom machined cases for a limited time, if you want to make a statement.

The Storage Bits take

A drive company — or Apple — should buy these guys for a few million bucks, pronto. This is more creativity than has come out of the mobile drive industry in 10 years, all in one neat package ready to go to market. 

But I'm pessimistic of their chances for success on Kickstarter, so readers, please prove me wrong.

Why? Because the drives cost $3/GB when the going rate is $1/GB. As drive vendors have learned through bitter experience, consumers are cheapskates. Maybe there are enough professionals to fund their campaign, but they need volume to bring the pricing down from 3x to 1.5x over existing drives.

A big company could do that with volume sourcing and mass distribution. Some of the design decisions — such as the discrete encryption chip — could be revisited to reduce cost and improve capacity. 

They could also apply the technology to create small SSD or HDD RAIDs, whose speed and capacity advantages make them more attractive to the pro market while amortizing the cost of their features over greater capacity, reducing the $/GB differential. 

Succeed or fail, SoSecure's small team has blazed a trail for the rest of the storage industry. This is a brilliant product that deserves a large audience and great success.

Comments welcome, of course. What would it take for you to buy one? 

Topics: Storage, Apple, Hardware, Mobility, Security

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

69 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Apple?

    Why would Apple have designed it? Since when does Apple design or have secure products? They just claim that their products are secure, but its just their marketing department. Actual testing has proved time and time again how insecure their entire ecosystem is...
    Jimster480
    • As far as I know, they do.

      "Since when does Apple design or have secure products?"

      As far as I know, they do.

      http://images.apple.com/ipad/business/docs/iOS_Security_Feb14.pdf

      Have they been perfect? No.

      But then again, who *is* perfect? Practically everything has been shown to have flaws at one time or another. I dare say they've been more secure than their competitors.
      CobraA1
      • Actually...

        ...Apple hardware, for the most part, is just commodity components assembled into a computer or device in China. Of course that's mostly what everyone else is doing too. Dell and HP computers and most Smart Phones and pretty much all other electronics are the same.

        It's more surprising to me that it didn't come out of Samsung or Micron/Crucial. But Apple? Why would anyone expect it from them?
        cornpie
        • PS

          PS: The $3 per GB is a non issue really because someone like Samsung or Micron could easily do it for a fraction of that price
          cornpie
        • What does that change?

          "...Apple hardware, for the most part, is just commodity components assembled into a computer or device in China."

          What does that change?

          Nothing.

          We're discussing the security of their devices, not which nation assembles them.
          CobraA1
          • Comparative Security

            It's all about security relative to the other available options. Every Apple product is the LEAST secure of all of its major competitors. This isn't just my opinion, but the data gathered by security firms who make a living by breaking into things for the betterment of security. The bottom line is that the fabled "immunity to viruses and malware" simply does not exist. Apple simply hasn't put any resources into security. Marketing is too important. After all, they're a marketing company first, and a technology company second.
            AnomalyTea
          • Okay, gimme the data for iOS.

            "Every Apple product is the LEAST secure of all of its major competitors."

            Evidence?

            "This isn't just my opinion, but the data gathered by security firms who make a living by breaking into things for the betterment of security."

            Okay, gonna call your bluff: Which data do you have for iOS?

            "Apple simply hasn't put any resources into security."

            Okay, how many marketing folks do you suppose know the terminology found in this link, and do you have any evidence that anything in this link is untruth:

            http://images.apple.com/ipad/business/docs/iOS_Security_Feb14.pdf
            CobraA1
          • Military

            Maybe you should ask the U.S. military. There is probably a reason they decided to use Android and not iOs.
            TheBlackCat13
          • The military . . .

            First of all, "the military" is a pretty broad organization with various branches, whom often set their own IT policies.

            Second, it probably comes down to price and how easy it is to set up the device for an enterprise-like environment. The iPhone is a great personal device, but was never all that great an enterprise device.
            CobraA1
          • DoD

            When I say "the U.S. military", obviously I mean the Department of Defense, which is the agency which oversees all branches of the U.S. military, and is the one that gets to determine which devices can be used on DoD networks.

            And no, the problem has nothing to do with iOs not being suited for enterprise use, it has to do with security.

            Technically, you can use iOS, but only government-issued iOs devices that include software to lock out pretty much all of the iOs functionality.

            Further, Android was the operating system chosen by DARPA for their ultra-secure military-issues smartphones, although that had more to do with Apple not wanting to let the military make their devices more secure while Google was very open to the idea.
            TheBlackCat13
          • Military doesn't trust Apple

            The military and tweak Android, they can't do that with iOS without Apple seeing what they are doing.
            winGeek
          • Apple can let them

            Of course Apple can see what they are doing, but Apple refused to let them do that.
            TheBlackCat13
        • Re: Apple hardware.. is just commodity components

          That’s not true of iOS devices, which is what we’re talking about here.

          Samsung uses licensed ARM chips. Since the iPhone 5, Apple have been using Apple designed ARM chips, which are then manufactured by whoever Apple contracts (often Samsung). See http://bit.ly/1lfyC7V

          This is one reason why Samsung latest devices use commodity 32-bit ARM chips, while Apple uses their own 64-bit chips, with instructions that are especially useful for encrypt and which contain an encrypted region of hardware (the “secure enclave”) for storing sensitive data, such as biometrics.

          The Samsung Galaxy Tab S and the Samsung S5 both use 32-bit commodity chips.

          Apple’s proprietary M7 motion-sensing chip is also not a commodity part, nor is their fingerprint scanner. The slices of synthetic sapphire which cover the fingerprint scanner and protect the camera lens are also not available on other phones or tablets.
          Slurry
      • That's simply because

        there isn't enough high-value Apple hardware out there with company IP to make busting its security a profitable business.
        Jacob VanWagoner
      • Apple really has next to no real world experience in security

        Think about it, they've never had to deal with any real threats. Whenever somebody goes to the trouble to write a real virus for osx, it literally takes them months to address the issue.
        Remember the flashback trojan? It was around for months when Intego, not Apple, discovered it existed in September of 2011. Guess when Apple finally issued a fix? April of the next year.
        That isn't security competence. That's just embarrassing.
        blarelli
    • I think he was implying that only Apple

      can come up with a great idea.
      William.Farrel
      • Right

        Only iHoles believe that.
        ubangeee
        • Don't get me wrong

          Apple has come up with some great ideas - but so have others.

          Why believe that if it's an idea whose time has come, that Apple should have thought of it long before the other company or person dud.
          William.Farrel
          • Um, I was chastising Apple.

            Obviously Apple didn't invent it and other people have good ideas.

            The larger Apple issue is that they've abandoned working on storage and file systems, not just a point product like SoSecure.

            Robin
            R Harris
    • $3 per GB? Are you sure Apple didn't design it?

      Sounds neat but not $3 per GB neat. Actually I see drive specials more and more often for closer to 50 cents a GB. Crucial just introduced the new MX100 line not discounted less than 50c.
      ArtInvent