06-03-2009 10:33 AM
I have an FDE HDD drive. I use online backup. I'm assuming the data is encrypted before it's uploaded.Is this the case?
If I lose my laptop / HDD and I want to restore data from online backup, how is it possible to restore encrypted data from my lost FDE HDD onto a new HDD with a different encryption key?
06-03-2009 11:59 AM
No, the data are not encrypted before they are unloaded. Your online backup service might use encryption of its own, but that's a different matter.
The FDE drives (at least those from Hitachi and Seagate that I've looked at) encrypt the data ONLY on the drive surface. By the time the drive supplies data on its interface to your ThinkPad, the drive has already decrypted the data. In other words, the encryption / decryption happens transparently to the ThinkPad. The encryption key is in the hard drive itself, and was set at the factory. Access to the drive is still only protected by the usual ATA passwords.
The Seagate drives use a more complex system for authentication. I don't fully understand how it works, and don't know how secure it is. But the 30,000-ft view is the same: by the time your computer gets the data off the drive, the data are in plaintext.