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Security Features for Solid State Drives in Defence Applications

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There are various methods for data protection and elimination in Flash solid state drives (SSDs), depending on the security level required within each application.

Security techniques can be divided into three categories:

1. Data protection
2. Data elimination
3. Media destruction

Methods of data protection include write protection, password protection and encryption. Password protection can be used in combination with a biometric key to implement a security scheme that is based on 'what you have, what you know, who you are'.

Data elimination is handled by 'clear and sanitize' procedures. Which method needs to be implemented depends on the security classification level of the organisation in which the application resides.

Typically, if the device will stay within the same security classification, a 'clear' procedure will suffice. If it is moved to a higher security classification level, the device needs to be entirely declassified, and a 'sanitize' procedure is needed. Moving the device to a lower security classification would require destruction of the drive.

Sanitizing a solid state drive is much faster and requires fewer cycles of the same procedure when compared to hard disk drives, since SSDs experience far lower levels of data remanence.

Complete media destruction can be a solution if a sanitize procedure is too time consuming. However, incineration or disintegration can be expensive and impractical for many situations.

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