Blog Archives

LaCie 2Big Thunderbolt 3 Dock is a nearly perfect desktop companion

The LaCie 2Big Thunderbolt 3 Dock not only offers a staggering amount of RAID-equipped storage, but a full set of expandable I/O as well. See why the 2Big is my favorite Thunderbolt 3 dock to date.

New LaCie + Seagate drives bring USB-C, style, and high SSD/HDD capacities

Following its annual tradition, Seagate has announced a new collection of stylish, premium-priced drives in time for the 2016 CES, most now featuring USB-C and USB 3.1 connectors. Three of the drives carry Seagate’s LaCie branding; one is a handsome but Seagate-branded model. The apparent flagship in the series is the LaCie Chromé ($1,100, shown above left), a […]

How to replace El Capitan’s missing Secure Empty Trash

Yves Laurin echoes a concern of many people:

Secure Empty Trash: We lost that option with El Capitan; how could we get it back?

I’ve seen this question come up a number of times since late in the El Capitan public beta cycle, and you can find hundreds of postings about it on Apple’s forums and elsewhere. People have a concern about this option having gone missing, even if they used it as an extra measure of security, rather than ever having had a breach due to not using it.

Secure Empty Trash was originally designed around hard disk drives (HDDs). When you perform a normal Empty Trash operation, the file isn’t immediately overwritten on your HDD; rather, the disk’s index, created as part of the formatting operation, has its entry for that file removed. The space is available for other files, but someone could still recover the data from magnetic spinning media, or at least read some of the deleted files using basic disk repair or disk analysis software.

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How to access a Mac drive from a Windows or Linux system

Rakesh Shewale writes with a common question about formatting compatibility:

I bought a new external HDD for my mac about a month ago and formatted it to Mac OS X Extended Journaled. Now it has my all data. But the problem is I can’t access this HDD from my PC which has Windows and Linux.

The trouble is that the drive is already formatted—this limits options, but it’s neither expensive nor impossible to proceed. Paragon is a long-time developer of cross-platform Mac/Windows disk mounting software, and its HFS+ for Windows 10 works on Windows releases all the way back to XP and Windows Server 2003 all the way through the present Windows 10 release. It’s $20, but also has a 10-day trial. HFSExplorer for Windows is free and updated for Windows 10, but requires the installation of the Java 5 or later runtime environment (JRE), which can introduce security issues unless you configure it carefully.

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Western Digital encrypted external hard drives have flaws that can expose data

The hardware-based encryption built into popular Western Digital external hard disk drives has flaws that could allow attackers to recover data without knowing the user password.

A team of three security researchers investigated how the self-encryption feature was implemented in several popular Western Digital My Passport and My Book models. Depending on the type of microchip used for the encryption operation, they found design flaws and backdoor-like features that enable brute-force password guessing attacks or even decryption of the data without knowing the password.

In some cases they found that the encryption is performed by the chip that bridges the USB and SATA interfaces. In other cases the encryption is done by the HDD’s own SATA controller, with the USB bridge handling only the password validation.

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