Post Process

Everything to do with E-discovery & ESI

Solid State Drives and the Future of Computer Forensics

Posted by rjbiii on March 8, 2011

John Dunn, in an article on TechWorld, cites a study that claims that firmware built into solid state hard drives (SSD’s) erase data, rendering current forensics technologies effective. From the article:

After examining an SSD for traces of data after it had been quick formatted, the team expected the purging routines to kick in around 30-60 minutes later, a process that must happen on SSDs before new data can be written to those blocks. To their surprise, this happened in only three minutes, after which only 1,064 out of 316,666 evidence files were recoverable from the drive.

Going a stage further, they removed the drive from the PC and connected a ‘write blocker’, a piece of hardware designed to isolate the drive and stop any purging of its contents. Incredibly, after leaving this attached for only 20 minutes, almost 19 percent of its files had been wiped for good, a process the researchers put down the ability of SSDs to initiate certain routines independent of a computer.

For comparison, on the equivalent hard drive all data was recoverable, regardless of the time elapsed, as a forensic examiner would expect.

The study cited in the article may be found here (PDF).

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