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Old 02-09-2019, 07:57 PM   #1
Andrew B.
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Default How secure is a WD secure drive?

I didn't search a lot but I found one discussion. I got all the way to the end and the last person to post says he was able to remove his password from the drive using a WD utility, only to find that the date on the drive was not encrypted. He could be making this up, or not. But if any of you have one of these drives to spare it might be interesting to see if you can repeat this?

https://security.stackexchange.com/q...ypassport-lock

   
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Old 02-10-2019, 11:55 AM   #2
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First...the question (and that clearly stated explication of WD's encryption--or lack thereof) is from 2013 and while all of the postings might still be "true", my guess would be that 5-6 years later, things may have changed.



My thinking on this may be colored by that clear explanation by Tom Leek (how ironic is his last name? '-}}), but I don't think so and, also, I've not looked at any of these WD drives so the following is a general principles approach.

If the documentation/website info doesn't explicitly state that the entire drive is encrypted, then...it isn't and, that leaves some sort of bit being set that establishes the password requirement on the drive. If that bit is set and the correct password is entered, access to the data is allowed. Incorrect password and access is not allowed. The data on the drive remains in the same (unencrypted) state whether the password-required-bit is set or not.



I agree with those who commented on the last post the entire drive was not decrypted because it had never been encrypted in the first place and that all that was done by the use was removing the "yes this needs a password for access" flag.


Do you have a link to the specific drive you were looking at?




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Old 02-11-2019, 09:55 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by terrie View Post
Do you have a link to the specific drive you were looking at?
Terrie
It's the My Passport Ultra, 4TB. It's listed as having encryption. This is why I was searching and found the discussion I posted. The main reason I'm looking at this is because I can buy three of them for less than the cost of one Aegis Fortress L3, 5TB.

   
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Old 02-11-2019, 11:49 AM   #4
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It's a nice looking drive. After reading through the documentation, even though it references "encryption" ("WD Security: implements password protection and the 256-bit hardware data encryption capabilities of your supported WD hard drive" (page 8 of the User Guide) and "Not all of Western Digital's products contain active data encryption. For some markets, like Russia, the encryption is disabled and cannot be enabled by the end user." (page 17 of the User Guide), there are actually no details on encryption. Here's WD My Passport Ultra support page link.


The pages on setting up WD security and setting up WD drive utilities also offer absolutely no detail on encryption. The implication is that in setting up the password, the encryption is implemented but why is there no other information on encryption for the drive? For example, a user might want to password protect but not encrypt a drive but that does not appear to be an option.

Essentially given the stackexchange posts I read yesterday which were written in 2013, nothing appears to have changed except for what may be a new feature--auto-unlock which then remembers the password on that particular system so you don't have to type it in...



There is WD forum with subforums for External Drives and WD Portable Drives that might be able to give you more detailed answers...



All of the above stated, if password protection is sufficient, then go for the WD's over the Aegis--seems like a reasonable approach--or buy one WD and play with it to see if it's what you want and if it's workable, order more. If it's not workable, return and then get the Aegis?




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Old 02-11-2019, 01:23 PM   #5
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You did a lot of looking-around! I too found nothing more than the claim that when you activate the security software it establishes a password and hardware encryption. The word "hardware" is encouraging to me, but they fail to explain why I should be impressed. I kept wondering what exactly does the hardware encrypt. And what would someone see if they managed to access the platter with a platter directly.

But assuming the encryption is great, the Aegis is not vulnerable to keystroke loggers, well, unless the logger happens to visual recording device that watches me push the buttons. But the scenario I'm worried about is theft of the drive and subsequent attempts to break in. And with the Aegis, ten wrong guesses and the system locks (assuming it is set to 10). I think it can be set as low as four.

   
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Old 02-12-2019, 11:10 AM   #6
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Quote:
andrew: I kept wondering what exactly does the hardware encrypt. And what would someone see if they managed to access the platter with a platter directly.
Pretty much my thoughts also...



I also agree with you with respect to the Aegis not being as vulnerable but, I think to really make the decision, you may need to browse around the WD forums and see if there might be more info on exactly what is involved with their approach to encryption--particularly given the price difference you noted...



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