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Read/Write Protect and External Hardrive

by williamsmw / August 3, 2004 12:48 AM PDT

I have a requirement to be able to Write Protect an external hardrive. We have unclassified data that we need to move to a classifed system. The whole purpose of write protecting is to insure that no sensitive data is inadvertantly copied to the external drive while its connected to the classified system. We currently have 6 Maxtor 250GB drives that do not have any type of physical switch for enabling write protection, nor does their software enbable us to do that either. Does anyone know of a procedure we could use to enable write protection on these drives? Does anyone know of a external drive that has a physical/software means of enabling write protection?

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Here's how we did it.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 3, 2004 3:07 AM PDT

We put it on CDR or DVD-R and moved it over. The CDR and DVD-Rs were put in the burn barrel for destruction later.

This was the only solution our security officer would accept since the write protect can... fail.

Bob

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Write protection for external harddrive
by gernotg / October 6, 2005 1:25 PM PDT

An ancient original post, but still a current problem...

I use internal hard drives to store all of my data, and I use various external USB/firewire enclosures which conveniently allow me to hot-swap my hard drives and take my data to other computers.

There have been several occasions where friends of mine and I personally have lost all data on external hard drives - corrupting the data on external drives seems to be a fairly common problem that may occur for instance if the drive is powered on while the computer reboots, or if you connect to a computer with an old operating system, or if you hook up additional external devices that don't get along with yours.

I find this situation very troublesome, and I would like my data to be protected from this kind of corruption. I am not interested in password protecting my files, or preventing them from being read, but simply in preventing deletion and corruption. In my opinion, there can be no software solution to this problem: Even if it worked, it would only apply to one system, and not to any arbitrary system I would like to hook my drive to.

It seems that the only secure solution would be an external enclosure that only allows read commands to the enclosed hard drive. It would be nice if this write protection could be turned on and off with a switch, but a permanent one would be just as good (I can always put the drive in another enclosure if I want to write to it). It seems that to find this kind of device, you need to add the word "forensic" to your search, as if forensics were the only application that this is useful for.

Some search results that offer IDE to either USB or firewire:
~$100: http://www.cooldrives.com/firewirepcmcia.html
$195: http://www.coreprotect.com/core_shield.html
$330: http://www.cooldrives.com/usb20toatast.html
$400: http://www.logicube.com/products/accessories/usbwriteprotect.asp
$980: http://fwdepot.com/thestore/product_info.php/products_id/1086

Good luck...

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The best I could find
by quarky42 / July 2, 2007 3:17 AM PDT

For the price, form factor, etc... the best I could find was the UltraBlock USB write blocker... this is a USB device you plug "in-line" and it will write protect what ever is connected to it.

It is a Hardware Write protect, so it isn't prone to failure.

They aren't cheap...to the tune of $300 each, but being a simple "in-line" USB device that cannot be accidentally "unwrite protected", it is worth it. Yes, it does NOT have a switch on it... it is always in READ ONLY mode. A big plus if your security officers are paranoid.

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Next best...
by quarky42 / July 2, 2007 3:19 AM PDT
In reply to: The best I could find

Too bad I don't live/work in the UK. Plextor has a write protect hdd available to Europeans.

http://www.plextor.be/products/px-ph08u.asp?choice=PX-PH08U

It is NOT available in the USA. I've already looked. I wish it was. I even contacted Plextor to try and find out what it would take to get some here. The guy on the phone was a real smartass about it and wouldn't lookup any contact info for anyone in the company that would actually know something.

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