Toshiba to launch self-erasing hard drives

Providing an extra level of security, Toshiba will soon roll out a series of hard drives that will automatically erase or prevent access to the data should the drive be connected to an unknown system.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read

Toshiba will soon debut a series of hard drives that can automatically erase or prevent access to their own data should the drives end up in the wrong hands.


The company's new self-encrypting drive family will include a new feature that detects if the drive is connected to an unknown and undefined computer or other system. If so, the drive can either securely wipe all of its data or just deny access to that data. Customers can apply the feature to specific data on the drive and choose how and when to render the data indecipherable, according to Toshiba.

The drives are designed to provide an extra layer of security, especially for corporations, government agencies, and other organizations that need to adhere to certain security and data privacy requirements. The security technology itself is built on the "Opal" specification from the Trusted Computing Group, which dictates certain requirements for data protection in enterprise environments.

The new MKxx61GSYS family consists of five different drives, ranging in size from 160GB to 640GB, all of which connect via a SATA (Serial ATA) interface, run at 7200 RPM, and use AES 256 encryption. Being demonstrated this week by Toshiba in Japan, the drives will go into mass production and reach a few select customers sometime in the second quarter.

"Digital systems vendors recognize the need to help their customers protect sensitive data from leakage or theft," Scott Wright, product manager with Toshiba's storage device division. "Toshiba's security technologies provide designers of copiers, printers, PCs, and other systems with new capabilities to help address these important security concerns."

Toshiba said it will work closely with PC and hardware manufacturers as well as security vendors to integrate the new security technology with their products.