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back to article Smoke-belching flash drive self-destructs on command

Chinese flash biz Runcore has built a self-destructing solid-state drive. The ironically named InVincible SATA SSD is aimed at military applications and customised SSD markets where a very high degree of data protection is required. It comes in 1.8-inch and 2.5-inch rugged form factors with SATA, PATA and CF Card interfaces, and …

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Anonymous Coward

Shades of Mission Impossible?

This USB stick will self destruct in 5..4..3..2..1..0

Poof!

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Devil

Re: Shades of Mission Impossible?

No, shades of Apple Design (TM).

Look where the red and green buttons are wired to - these go to the unused pins on the SATA interface, the same ones Apple uses for their cursed "special thermal management" system in iMacs. I bet this drive has an entertaining compatibility problem - plug it into a reasonably new Mac and it will selfdestruct spontaneously straight away.

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Mushroom

@Voland's right hand - Re: Shades of Mission Impossible?

Maybe the Mac will explode instead.

Just hoping.

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Coffee/keyboard

Re: Shades of Mission Impossible?

I wonder why this was my FIRST though after seeing the video and the mention of the Blue Smoke <grin>. My ideas was the fabricators watched too many MI episodes in their youth.

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Happy

Cue Q

"Please be careful with it Bond!"

I bet Simon Travaglia would like these. Paint the green button red and vice versa.

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Mushroom

Re: Cue Q

Nah, just label the red one "Do not push"

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Re: Cue Q

Pfft. As if he'd allow case access anyway. He'd have the case wired into the live circuit of the power supply.

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Coat

Re: Cue Q

Not while there's the possibility of using a three-phase supply he wouldn't.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Cue Q

@Anonymous Custard

You label it "Push here to secure data permanently.", then when Customs or Plod pick up the drive and ask you questions about it, they're bound to find such a button hard to resist, they destroy the data for you! Simple!

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Blue Smoke? Good luck getting this past CE approval for sale in the EU.

One feature missing from the self destruction option; remote "detonation", in the event of theft/loss etc. Quite how you'll get it to 'phone home' is another issues though...

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Military use

I love the idea that it wouldn't be allowed, but deadly firearms would be.

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Remote detonation.

Think about it -- anyone with high enough security requirements *will* *not* *want* a publically available protocol for remote detonation: they'll want a top secret, in-house one. They can roll their own and simply connect it to the appropriate pins on the device.

I mean, imagine if the US army invaded Iran with this stuff in their equipment and the Iranians just started saturating the airwaves with remote destruct signals.

So the manufacturer can't make the remote option as standard.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Remote detonation.

remote detonation sadly is "not an option in the United Kingdom of Great Britain...." due to the safety at work regulations". Moreover, the EU directive No 433337532/EC/43443B-1Aa/4332466645/2016 makes it illegal to "install explosives in the working environment with the presence of a human operator in the proximity of 5 km (5,000 metres) due to the potential loss of life, hearing and other unforseen but strictly prohibited circumstances"

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Orange Boiler Suits

Kudos to the first person to (try to*) take one of these through airport security

*depending on your views of the effectiveness of airport security

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Remote detonation.

@The Indomitable Gall

"Now Abdul we wait for night for the light show from the indfidels! Ha ha ha! You push the radio transmitter button and I film it for YouTube. 3...2...1...Oooooh! Look at all the pretty blue explosions all over the enemy camp!"

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FAIL

Re: Remote detonation.

Maybe watch the video and learn that it uses a massive over-voltage surge to burn the chips out...hardly explosives.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Remote detonation.

Thales used to sell a VPN device which had a small block of explosive over the IC with a motion sensor component to prevent theft. Apparently a certain military thought they were a good idea until someone did a certain manoeuvre in a submarine and the unit under test destroyed itself.

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Re: Remote detonation.

@ AC: 21st May 2012 10:17 GMT

Need not be explosives. An exothermal device of sucffcient capacity will do. All you need would be a contained chemical reaction, such as water + potasium hydroxide.

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I think I'll just carry on with a pair of good ol' defrib paddles on the outside of the case.

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I still think sledgehammers are a more fun way of destroying data.

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Facepalm

@Benjamin 4

Yes, but there's never a sledgehammer handy when you are stopped for a search at customs.

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FAIL

Re: @Benjamin 4

The scarily depressing part is the way things are going, it'll be US customs that are more likely to do this type search rather than a visit to a supposedly "hostile" nation.

<-- Still, at least they're winning the war on terror...

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Re: @Benjamin 4

Yes, but there's never a sledgehammer handy when you are stopped for a search at customs.

Finally a use for those armed guards walking around.. Aim here, please..

Actually, I can see it now - a new coin driven machine with the kind of pulse degausser that is guaranteed to melt the NHS amalgam out of every Brit in the vicinity with NHS dental treatment. Hmm, must go and look in the old shed if I find parts..

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Anonymous Coward

Remember this is not intended for Joe Bloggs users.

If your a soldier in combat about to be overridden by the enemy I think you would rather have a covered button to press for destroying all the data that run around trying to find a big hammer, and just shooting it a few times would not ensure the data was not recoverable.

This would also be ideal for embassy kit, as the days of opening the lead acid batteries used for backup power and pouring the contents over the equipment are hopefully gone (standard practice I'm told for the 1960's and 70's), plus this would be a lot quicker.

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Windows

Re: Remember this is not intended for Joe Bloggs users.

Go! Get away from here! Shoo!

There will be NO serious postings in this thread.

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Re: @Benjamin 4

Yes, but there's never a sledgehammer handy when you are stopped for a search at customs.

Is that not the definition of customs, using a sledgehammer to crack a peanut.

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Re: Remember this is not intended for Joe Bloggs users.

@AC

I don't know about UK procedures but I'm given to understand that the US armed forces employ a three-part procedure to destroy their data. First they format the drives, then they cut the drives into pieces with an industrial cutter, then they pile them up with a few cases of thermite and throw a match. You know, just in case.

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Mushroom

Real men

Uses thermite to destroy the entire computer enclosed in ceramic casing.

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Coat

Cilit Bang.

Boom, and the data's gone...

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Lookout!

Gads, that computer is rather precariously balanced on the desk!

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I'd want the drive to have the option of having to depress the green button on power up to avoid the drive wipe, and have it as a firmware option that you can update using a utility. That way you can only change it while it's powered up.

Even better would be if you had to provide a key string within a certain time period or it self destructed, and it has enough capacitors on board to do it even if the power is subsequently removed.

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Mushroom

The red button needs one of those cool flip up covers... just for added dramatic affect :)

Once you let the smoke out of the box, its very difficult to get it back in!

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Mushroom

Not sure I could resist pressing that red button, I'd end up buying a new drive every week... hang on maybe that's their plan!

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It's not smoke, ...

it's the data evaporating.

Finally a Flash drive that really makes a flash! I wonder if you will be allowed to board the plane with this.

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Mushroom

2:30 is the bit you want.

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Anonymous Coward

"who could resist hitting a shiny big red button?"

Narrator: How can he possibly resist the maddening urge to erradicate history at the mere push of a single button? The beautiful, shiny button? The jolly, candy-like button? Will he hold out, folks? Can he hold out?

Stimpy: No I can't! Yeagh!

[Pushes button]

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Mushroom

Re: "who could resist hitting a shiny big red button?"

There are many, many, many Shiny Red Buttons. Don't press them.

http://www.the-whiteboard.com/autobutton01.html

http://www.the-whiteboard.com/autobutton02.html

http://www.the-whiteboard.com/autobutton03.html

http://www.the-whiteboard.com/autobutton04.html

http://www.the-whiteboard.com/autobutton05.html

Roger is one dead raccoon as soon as Doc and Sandy get hold of him.

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TRT
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Mushroom

I'm surprised that they didn't use any kind of special security screws on the casing. Also, it must take a lot of power to burn up those chips, so there's no way that the drive can have an integral battery to enable the physical destruction completely autonomously.

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Big Brother

power

Power could be an issue then - can I plug my laptop in so I can self destruct it?

My drives are truecrypted but what I want is a truecrypt delete password - type in the right password and all is good, type in the specific delete password and it scrambles the lot. If anyone forces me to disclose the password I can give the delete one.

DaveF

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Mushroom

It's awesome!

I want one.

With thermite.

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Why not use the TRIM command?

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I was told at my university, in the mid 70's,

That a couple of post-grad students doing a research degree accidently destroyed their processor, back when such things were exotic.

On the one spare backup processor, they single stepped the code until they came to an error: an undocumented opcode.

Which short-circuited the power supply through a path through the centre of the chip. They had been shipped a military version of the processor.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I was told at my university, in the mid 70's,

Distant memories suggest that may have been an 8 bit, 6800 derivative?

There was a chip (early SOC) of that eara that had an illegal instruction that opened up the serial lines and/or power lines directly onto the address buss and fried the CPU in seconds.

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Re: I was told at my university, in the mid 70's,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halt_and_Catch_Fire

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FAIL

It's fake

Look at the image at 2:30. The while silkscreen looks blurred, like someone did a bad smudge with photoshop.

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Pint

Re: It's fake

Might have a point - with that big CPU fan running that close to the drive, wouldnt you exepct the smoke to be sucked in/blown away by the fan??

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Re: It's fake

Actually, no - that's the exhaust fan on the XPC, and if it's anything like mine, unless the machine is doing something intense, it's very slow and quiet, one of the reasons I love my XPCs.

The smoke does drift away slowly, which is roughly what I'd expect at the range (my little incense burner, alongside my SX58H7 is hardly affected at about 3 inches range - until I play a decent game, when the smoke goes horizontally...

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