Electronic Design
Controller Bridges USB Disk Connection Securely

Controller Bridges USB Disk Connection Securely

Storage systems are getting more complex (see The Storage Hierarchy Gets More Complex) and the need for secure storage is also becoming more important. Secure hard drives like Seagate's Constellation 2 (see 2.5-in Terabyte Hard Drive Secures Secrets) provide encryption support but at a premium price. Hardware encryption support can also be added to the controller.

The X-Wall DX chip from eNova allows its encryption support to be used with any USB controller. It does this by sitting in between a USB drive and a USB controller (Fig. 1). It is a pair of USB interfaces, one for the drive and one for the controller. The chip uses 128-, 192- and 256-bit AES encryption.

The approach has many advantages. First, it works with any USB compatible drive and USB controller. Second, it operates at high speed USB rates. Finally, once configured, full disk encryption services are provided transparently.

The chips come in an 7mm by 7mm 48-pin QFP package. The system supports Windows XP and Windows 7. Android and MAC support will be available in the future.

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