I'd love detailed explanation on how drive's password / encryption work


#1

Hello,

I just bought WD My Passport Essential SE 1TB USB 3.0 drive, but before I put my precious files there, I need to make decision what kind of protection to use. There are 2 obvious choices: the WD’s disk password and the TrueCrypt software.

I’m fan of TrueCrypt, which is by far the best software to protect data. It is very well documented, free (as in free beer), there are sources available, doesn’t have any government backdoors inside, has carefully selected algorithms. In short - very well implemented piece of cryptography.

I would like to know in more details how does WD’s HDD password work. Is there any doument that outlines its internals? How is data protected – is it encrypted in some way? If so, then by which algorithm? And how long is the actual master key used to encrypt data?

Cryptographic solutions are only trustworthy if they are publicly known, not obscured, so anyone brave can try to bypass them and fail. I don’t need, or want, to crack the drive’s encryption, I just need to know if I can trust it. And you may call me paranoid :wink:

Thanks in advance.


#2

I don’t know about any documents but their password encryption is handled by a circuit board on the drive itself. There is no way to bypass or reset password. If the board fails you’re screwed. The board is full of posts with people moaining the fact there is no reset.

Joe


#3

Hi there!! As far as I know, WD drives use 256-bit physical AES encryption… Other than that, there’s not much I can tell you…

I would like to know more details as well…


#4

I don’t know about any documents but their password encryption is handled by a circuit board on the drive itself. There is no way to bypass or reset password. If the board fails you’re screwed. The board is full of posts with people moaining the fact there is no reset.

Wow I’ve read a little, and I’m going to return the thing as soon as possible. I’m not interested in the encryption anymore :slight_smile:

First, I saw posts that suggested there is _something_ in the enclosure, you can’t put the disk in another enclosure if it fails (for example if USB socket breaks, and it happens, it happened to me, too), because the data is not readable.

I installed just the app to let me lock the drive, and here’s what I saw:

http://img26.imageshack.us/i/wdblurbs.png/

I particularly liked the “.blurb” things.

Then I proceeded to download SmartWare Update advertised on this page:

http://community.wdc.com/t5/News-Announcements/WD-SmartWare-Product-Update-My-Book-Essential-USB-3-0-and-My/td-p/120648

from this page:

http://www.wdc.com/wdproducts/wdsmartwareupdate/Step1.asp?id=wdfMP30_Essential&os=WIN

and after decompression Kaspersky told me there’s malware in it:

Trojan-Downloader.Win32.FraudLoad.ylfj

In file: C:\Users\myname\AppData\Local\Temp\ckz_7C8R\SmartWare Firmware Updater\Self-Extracting WD Application\NFU.dll

and that sounds serious…

I’ll probably resort to a plain disk with a 3rd party USB enclosure, it worked very reliably for years. So there’s no TrueCrypt vs disk encryption problem anymore.


#5

It’s probably  false posative on the Kapersky detection because it is trying to access the internet to check for updates. There are also a lot of cases with these drives setting a password on their  own.

Joe


#6

Please see VirusTotal report on the NFU.dll file:

http://www.virustotal.com/file-scan/report.html?id=817a66c98f59861f7a7dc1e99ac7371d9cfffc5f78af18cb0830fb0eefd23d2c-1298023542

12 out of 38 antiviruses marked it as a trojan! This is not just Kaspersky’s FP…

Dear WD people, are you aware of that? Are you going to fix that?

Just another reason to drop this in favor of competition or self-made stuff…

EDIT: I don’t know why the file name is garbled, just upload NFU.dll yourself if you’re not going to believe me.


#7

Sereval antivirus programs use the Kapersky engine in their product so that is part of the problem. This has been discusssed before. I admit it doesn’t make the average person feel very secure.

Joe