Storage Station

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Seagate Earns FIPS Clearance for Momentus Laptop Drives

Seagate Technology told The Station last week -- then announced Sept. 14 -- that after three years of development, its Momentus self-encrypting hard disk drive for laptops has been granted the FIPS (Federal Information Processing Standard) 140-2 certification from the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology.

This is the first such drive to earn this highest certification from the U.S. government. That's some high security clearance.

"This government certification clears the way for a lot of new deployments of Momentus drives," Joni Clark, Seagate Senior Product Marketing Manager for Momentus, told The Station. "We're looking at all U.S. and Canadian federal agencies, many state and local governments, and regulated industries such as health care, finance and defense that are required to use FIPS-certified gear to help protect sensitive data on PCs and computer networks."

Appears to be a huge new business opportunity for Seagate, to be sure.

The Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) chip in the Momentus drives automatically and transparently encrypts all drive data, not only selected files or partitions. The 2.5-inch drive also eliminates disk initialization and configuration required by encryption software, allows IT administrators to instantly erase all data cryptographically so the drive can be quickly and easily redeployed, and delivers full inline-speed encryption with no impact to system performance, Clark said.

These drives keep all security keys and cryptographic operations within the drive, separating them from the operating system to provide greater protection against hacking and tampering. Traditional software alternatives can give thieves backdoor access to encryption keys and are otherwise more vulnerable to key theft. With third-party management software, organizations can easily manage and protect encryption keys and passwords. Momentus SEDs are offered in capacities up to 500GB, Clark said.

The FIPS 140-2 seal of approval comes three years after NIST certified the AES chip built into the Momentus drive. Seagate has shipped more than 1 million self-encrypting laptop drives since 2006, Clark said.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 13 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...