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Solid State Drives and Digital Forensics

September 28th, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

Solid State Drives and Digital Forensics

What is a solid state drive?

We have discussed the basics about solid state drives (SSD) here at DriveFish before. While our traditional hard disk drives contain sensitive platters and many moving parts on the inside, modern solid state drives use integrates circuit assemblies to serve as memory and store data, eliminating the need for moving parts. Solid state drives have decreased in price significant and are becoming commonly used for their increased performance and reliability. At DriveFish we know all too well the problems sensitive moving parts within a hard drive can create and look forward to a more stable future for hard drive data storage.

How does digital evidence work with solid state drives?

One overlooked aspect of this transition is digital forensics, or the retrieval of digital evidence, which is a critical factor in many of today’s legal cases. While great deals of effort must be made to truly format a traditional hard disk drive, solid state drives make it much easier to remove data in a seemingly permanent fashion. It has many experts worried, with one quoted as saying, “It seems possible that the golden age for forensic recovery and analysis of deleted data and deleted metadata may now be ending.” Manufacturers are attempting to create solutions balancing the needs of law enforcement with the needs of security for any public or government entity, but the specific construction of solid state drives imposes some design limitations. As it stands, certain secure erase tools use encryption making it seemingly impossible to retrieve targeted files.

It will be interesting to observe the future of digital forensics with solid state drives.

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