SSDs can mitigate data security risks from hidden data

Solid State Drives based which work on flash technology can save you from data security concerns related to hidden data or deleted data. Yes, you’ve read it right! A research carried out by Dave Richardson, an under graduate student from America Military University along with some support from a senior researchers from MIT has discovered this fact very recently.

For those who think that how hidden data or deleted data can pose as a security risk…here’s a briefing- People delete data which is useless or invaluable to them. This includes emails, memos, docs, drafts and other related info. But there is no guarantee that files which are being deleted by a user are invaluable to hackers.

When a user deletes a file on a PC, the file is often not actually removed from the storage media. File blocks (the units by which files are stored and divided) just change their designation from allocated to free. But they still hold the info until those blocks are allocated to a new file and are overwritten. This is where a hacker is able to retrieve those deleted files.

Users who went through the process of Windows Quick format will be able to grasp this concept easily. The said formatting tool only deletes drive organization functions such as the file allocation table and the root directory. PC files remain untouched unless they are overwritten.

Hackers can analyze data recovery methods, and can better account for and deal with hidden data in security systems. Their knowledge is similar to that of those who are working in the field of digital forensic investigation.

So, how to deal with this situation?

Richardson has found out two ways to tackle the risks associated with hidden data. One is to use SSDs and the second is to use software suits.

Flash usage is the best way to come out this situation. Flash technology requires blocks to be wiped before a write operation can be used, leading the drive to utilize unoccupied blocks. Due to the inevitable amount of unnecessary occupied blocks, the drive runs a background garbage collection, physically erasing blocks designated for deletion. This action almost blocks all future recovery operations, and is called as ‘self –corrosion’.

The only problem with Solid State Drives is that they are expensive- a 4TB drive is available for $1500 while a 10TB HDD is available for just $605.

For those, who cannot afford an SSD, software tool kits can prove as an alternative method of defense. Freeware like ‘File shredder’ applications can prove handy. If you can afford, then they are multi thousand dollar forensic kits available online which are mostly used by data recovering companies

For individuals freeware software can help in keeping all data security related concerns at bay.

For organizations and companies which work with data intensive objectives, investment on SSDs will prove worthy.


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