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Phison and Cigent create self-defending flash storage

by Mark Tyson on 21 May 2021, 11:11

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Phison Electronics Corp. is claiming to have created "the industry’s first and only line of self-defending storage devices with cybersecurity built into the firmware" thanks to its partnership with Cigent Technology Inc. In simple terms the firmware protects against ransomware, data theft and malicious insider theft from beneath the software, OS, and BIOS layers for the greatest security – with compute capabilities, attack detectors and sensors directly on the drive.

"As the world's first and only self-defending solid-state storage devices, the Cigent Secure SSD family is a true breakthrough that challenges conventional thinking about data security," said Michael Wu, President and GM of Phison Electronics US. "Combining Cigent's pioneering development of software and firmware-based security solutions with Phison's leading expertise in providing highly customized secure SSD platforms ensures end-users can trust that their data remains fully available and free from the effects of ransomware or other malicious intrusions."

Cigent's CTO, Greg Scasny, added to the statement above by saying that working closely with Phison created a holistic data protection solution which makes it "virtually impossible for critical data and applications to be accessed from unauthorized sources".

So, what specific technologies are in play here? The new self-defending flash storage devices leverage Phison's E12DC Crypto-SSD tech and Cigent's D³E Zero Trust multi-factor authentication tech. Together, applied to the Denali Secure SSD line available this summer, these devices will utilise "machine learning, deception detection, and a family of threat sensors to identify security anomalies and actively respond with integrated data defense for industry-leading protection," according to the Phison blog.

There are some flexible security options available to users of the new drives. Particularly sensitive data can be stored in 'safe rooms' on the drive, which "cease to exist from the operating system’s point of view during an attempt to ransom or steal data". Meanwhile, a dual-mode is available to provide for private/secure and non-private storage partitions that are independent and invisible to one another and adversaries.

Drives can be installed and will function as expected as your primary Windows drive, for secondary internal storage, or in external USB caddies. Cigent's tech was originally developed for U.S. government and military use but will be available in self-defending storage devices for businesses/consumers this summer, thanks to its Phison collaboration. I don't have any prices / capacities for the upcoming Cigent Denali SSDs.

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very good to see this type of technology developed.