Self-encrypting drives represent a very specific problem for digital investigators. The direction of technology is clear: within the next few years, strong encryption will be baked into the silicon of every hard drive from every major manufacturer. Self-encrypting drives (SED) offer greater data security than traditional full-disk encryption in that the data stored is always encrypted at rest and the keys to decrypt the data never leave the device, which means they cannot be practically brute-forced through traditional means.
SEDs render “cold boot” and “evil maid” attacks useless and offer instant encryption and crypto-erase when a drive needs to be repurposed. SEDs are very attractive, but present significant obstacles to traditional disk-based forensics. In this post, we’ll walk through how EnCase 7.10 works with WinMagic SecureDoc to enable forensic investigation of self-encrypting drives.