The thing about data encryption is that it’s basically a flashing neon sign indicating “SENSITIVE DATA HERE!” A new technique lets you secure your data by customising the way that data is fragmented across your drive.
The new method uses special software to place data on specific parts of your hard disc using a code instead of the disc drive controller chip. A binary value can then be derived based on whether or not sequential clusters of data are stored adjacently. If they are stored adjacently, it represents a binary 1; if they are not, it’s a 0.
The system was developed by Hassan Khan and his team at the University of Science and Technology in Islamabad, Pakistan. They say that it can hide a 20MB message on a 160GB hard drive, and detecting its existence would be “unreasonably complex”. This is important because the normal methods of encryption are so well known that they’re dead giveaways that something is amiss.
This isn’t a permanent solution for data security, of course. Now that this type of camouflage is in the field, it won’t be long until a detection method is reverse engineered. But research like this is important for everyone – journalists, dissidents, LOIC enthusiasts – who thinks they are at risk of having their drives seized and searched for incriminating information. [ScienceDirect via New Scientist]