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Seagate Technology on Monday announced another attempt at making a market for encrypted hard drives, and said it would start shipping units to notebook makers early next year.
Sometime in the first quarter of 2007, the Scotts Valley, Calif. drive maker will deliver the Momentus 5400 FDE.2, (Full Disk Encryption 2) a 2.5-inch drive with hardware-based, full disk encryption. All cryptographic operations and access control are performed by a separate chip within the drive. Only a password is necessary to authenticate for drive access, Seagate said.
The Momentus will come in units with 80GB, 120GB, and 180GB capacities.
Seagate also said that it will open its "DriveTrust" technology to third-party software vendors who want to integrate functions such as encryption key management and multi-factor authentication with the drive.
Seagate already sells DriveTrust-equipped disks, notably the DB35 Series, which targets digital video recorders (DVRs). In June, Seagate made noise about a drive dubbed Momentus 5400.2 FDE, a 160GB encrypted notebook unit, but the device was not adopted by manufacturers.
Interest in full-drive encryption got a boost this year as government agencies and corporations reported losing laptops containing citizen and customer personal information. In May, for instance, a burglar made off with a Department of Veterans Affairs notebook and external drive that included data on more than 26.5 million former and current members of the military.
Some versions of Windows Vista, Microsoft's next operating system, will also include the BitLocker full disk encryption software when the OS ships to businesses next month and to retail in January.