WD ArmorLock SSD does away with passwords and PINs

Western Digital has developed a password-free secure external SSD that uses smartphone biometric recognition and fancy cryptographic technology.

The G-Technology ArmorLock external NVMe SSD is intended for content creators and collaborators, and provides encryption without getting in the way of the workflow, the company says. Users can unlock the device via a smartphone app connected via Bluetooth. The app authenticates using face recognition, fingerprint, or the phone’s passcode.

WD’s GM of consumer solutions products, Jim Welsh, said the new drive addresses “the real pain points our customers face when trying to secure their creative workflows while also allowing them to capture, preserve and access their data at scale and at speed.” 

ArmorLock drive and mobile phone app.

The ArmorLock SSD delivers up to 1,000MB/sec read and write speeds though its USB 10Gbit/s port. ArmorLock mobile and desktop apps give fleet managers the ability to configure and manage multiple drives and users to control who has access. The technology will be added to other WD drives in the future.

A 2TB ArmorLock NVMe SSD has a $599 MSRP and is available from the Western Digital Store and from select retailers in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France and Germany. The ArmorLock app for iOS and macOS is available for free download.

ArmorLock security features

  • Manufacturing technologies to give each device a root of trust and digital certificate of product authenticity
  • In-field firmware updates delivered from the ArmorLock app
  • Open source, third party audited Sweet B core cryptography featuring elliptic curve cryptography and side-channel attack mitigation
  • Sandboxed smartphone and desktop applications delivered through platform-native app stores with no installer required
  • Communications over wireless and wired connections with zero-touch certificate-based provisioning
  • Password-less authentication and key exchange technologies that directly link storage encryption to hardware-backed biometric authentication
  • Zero-knowledge public key management that helps protect data on the drive if it is lost or stolen
  • Secure erase and reformat to a file system in one step
  • Track the last known location of the drive on a map
  • IP67 dust/water resistance, up to 3 metre drop protection and 1000lb crush resistance

Sweet B is available in GitHub with documentation, a test suite, and an independent third-party audit by the security research firm Trail of Bits. Side-channel attacks use device features, such as keyboard button sounds, power draw variations and screen emissions to indirectly access data such as passwords.

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