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[Discuss] NAS: encryption

Richard Pieri <richard.pieri at> writes:

> On 7/8/2015 10:23 AM, markw at wrote:
>> The problem with internal drive encryption is getting any level of
>> disclosure and accountability.
> This is simply not true.
> FIPS security profiles are public record. Here's the security profile
> for the cryptographic module used in several of Seagate's enterprise
> SEDs:

The problem with FIPS certification (and I know this first hand, having
been involved in multiple FIPS certifications over the past year) is
that all the cert tells you is "yes, the AES algorithm is implemented
correctly" and "yes, the FIPS core performs correctly".

However.....  (and this is the big gotcha)...  the certification does
not talk about HOW the crypto is used!  For example, if you're running
disk encryption the *crypto* can be fully FIPS compliant, but it could
still do something stupid with the FIPS-certified crypto.  For example,
it could be using ECB mode instead of some chaining mode.  Or it could
somehow store the keys in an unprotected mode.

Basically, FIPS only talks about what's inside the FIPS boundary, but
the system as a whole is always much larger than just the FIPS

As I said before, when using the disk's onboard encryption it is
unlikely that you could externally verify that the disk is actually
encrypting the data properly, unless the disk actually gives you the
encrypted content when the crypto is not initialized.  I have no idea if
this is how it works; my understanding was that if the disk is encrypted
then it wont give you any data without keys.  I.e., you cannot verify
the encryption is correct.

       Derek Atkins, SB '93 MIT EE, SM '95 MIT Media Laboratory
       Member, MIT Student Information Processing Board  (SIPB)
       URL:    PP-ASEL-IA     N1NWH
       warlord at MIT.EDU                        PGP key available

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