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Repair information on hard drives or hard disks. Hard drives are magnetic data storage devices. They are used in most desktop, laptop, and server due to their low cost and high data density.

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Does anyone but Seagate make a FIPS 140-2 SED?


I ask this question not as a way to repair a laptop needing a SED for reasons like HIPAA or FIPS regulated businesses with bad hard drives, but as a just in case, so if I ever run into a industry that is so regulated you need to use one of these FIPS 140-2 SED's. I also ask this since my current laptop has a Seagate SED, and we'll get into why I mention this laptop later.

Now, before we get too deep into this question I would like to explain the FIPS classes best I understand them from the research I did on it

FIPS-140-1; no detection or tamper evident labeling to make drive tampering obvious, but it needs to have the ability to have an inaccessible drive key, and be able to be erased by changing or erasing the key and making it inaccessible and as a result, unrecoverable in the most basic sense. This is what my E6540 uses.

FIPS-140-2; Has to have a hidden drive key disk wiping SW can't see, easy erase by making it so all you need to do is change the key to make the data inaccessible but this steps 140-1 up in the sense the drive needs to have a tamper evident label that either falls apart, OR leaves marks on the drive if someone tries to reverse engineer it; this is to provide evidence the drive is tampered with and should not be considered "secure" anymore. This is the most common SED most people will be able to find without hassle.

FIPS-140-3; Has to have the tamper evident label of FIPS-140-2, the drive keys like 140-1 and the drive key deletion to remove the data 140-1 offers with one key difference of all of these drives: This one has to have a physical switch in some place to detect tampering further and notify the user in BIOS at POST. These allow machine level evidence and on drive evidence. These aren't as common as the 140-2 variety, partially due to the cost. These are only really used in cases you have to use them.

FIPS-140-4; Has to have the drive key the previous levels do, the tamper evident label label and the ability to erase the drive by deleting or changing the key on the drive. They also have to notify the end user at POST about tampering like 140-3, with one critical difference: These drives have to format when tampering is detected, so they are commonly used in governments for security reasons. You will not find these that easily as the vendors only sell them to people who really need them for their industry.

Now that we got the FIPS classes out of the way, I am referring to 140-2 drives and not the 140-1, 140-3, and 140-4 drives.

I have had very bad luck with Seagate over the years when I did computer repair-the majority of "dead" drives I run into is Seagate so you can kind of understand why I distrust Seagate

This is why I am asking if there are other more reliable vendors who make FIPS-140-2 SEDs, since Seagate is the only vendor I know of making these drives, at all so far.

Here is the list of vendors I can say make stable hard drives off the top of my head

  • Western Digital(Black series-NOT blue)
  • Hitatchi
  • HGST
  • Fijitsu

There are more, but those are the only ones I know of off the top of my head. Personally, I prefer WD, and HGST/Hitatchi(WD bought Hitatchi, and merged the 2 companies but WD as a single company is still around)

Does WD or HGST make a FIPS 140-2 SED for laptops, mostly? It would be nice to know they are also made for desktops, but I am more concerned about these vendors and laptop drives, since the industry these SEDs are required in are mostly laptops with some desktops.

If anyone knows about this, I'd like to know more about this because I didn't find much info on this kind of hard drive from anyone but Seagate

Also, I'd just like to say the Samsung SSD's are not really OPAL compliant so they are not relevant to this post.

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What about the Toshiba MQ01ABUxxxBW series?


Nick you may want to review this: SelfEncrypting Drive Market & Technology Report


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We were all excited with the idea of protecting our clients data with SED drives. As it turned out it was a nightmare! While the idea is great! You end up loosing control of the drive so if the system dies so does the data it had ;-{

We now use a software method Vs hardware method on all internal HD's in systems and with external HD's we use a dual key setup so we have a means to access the disk from two systems.

Bottom line I would not recommend using a SED drive in a laptop as much as it looks tempting it will not serve you well. Instead use a software solution and use a SED external storage solution.

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