New SSD From Phison and Cigent Claims to Have Anti-Ransomware Protection

By Bill Toulas / May 21, 2021

The Taiwan-based NAND maker ‘Phison Electronics’ has partnered with cybersecurity expert Cigent to create a new product promoted as a “self-defending” SSD. The particular SSD features a firmware-based security feature that combines Phison's E12DC with the Cigent Dynamic Data Defense Engine for Windows (D³E).

These two are allegedly able to hide sensitive data from ransomware scans and keep it safe from encryption incidents. It is like having two compartments, a secure/private one and an open/public one on the same SSD, accomodating work and ultimate data access security at the same time.

The Cigent Denali Secure SSD™, as it's named, has monitoring “sensors” to help with ransomware detection - so the defending mechanisms are active, not passive. These detectors, which employ machine learning AI, can identify certain anomalies relevant to malware infections and respond accordingly.

As soon as an anomaly is detected, the data is passed in threat-aware safe rooms that cease to exist from the operating system’s point of view, so they are out of reach for anything that runs on it, including any kind of malware or ransomware.

As the relevant press release details, the drive features a multi-layered defense mechanism that doesn’t rely on software tricks alone. Most notably, there’s a layer of seamless Zero-Trust multi-factor authentication that applies to all files, protecting their contents from malicious, unauthenticated access.

This sounds like the perfect SSD, no doubt, and if it works well against the most dangerous strains that circulate in the wild right now, Phison wouldn’t be able to catch up with the demand. That said, we’ll have to wait and see what the first hands-on tests will say when the product is made available in the summer of 2021.

Cigent states that they originally developed this technology for the U.S. government and the American military, so this is the first time they make it commercially available. If this is proven to be a market success, we’re will soon see more SSD makers attempting to enter this space and expand it with new offerings.

It has now become clear that data security is not a matter that can be addressed with single-faceted solutions, not even when combining multiple software tools. As such, products like the Cigent Denali Secure SSD could theoretically bring a revolution in the field.

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