Hard Drive Password Problems

Discussion in 'Computer Security' started by groupware@rocketmail.com, Feb 3, 2007.

  1. Guest

    Hi,

    My laptop has died and I have taken out the hard drive and connected
    it to a USB connector.

    Windows recognised the hard drive and it apears in Device Manager but
    does not map a drive or apper in the Disk Management wndow.

    I then remembered I had set a password for the drive.

    Question 1 - Is there any way to enter a HDD passowrd via a USB/IDE
    connection

    I then put my Hard Drive into another laptop (a HP Compaq NC4010) and
    as good as gold the Bios requested the HDDDrive Bay Password.

    I entered the password but no go ?

    Question 2 - The computer that the Hard Drive comes from uses a US
    layout keyboard and the one i am trying to use it in now is a UK
    layout. I use a ~ (tilde) in my password which is in a different spot
    on these keyboards (although I have tried the various corresponding
    key locations) but it continually rejcts my password.

    Could this cause a problem ?

    Or is there something else ?

    Jason
    , Feb 3, 2007
    #1
    1. Advertising

  2. John Doue Guest

    wrote:
    > Hi,
    >
    > My laptop has died and I have taken out the hard drive and connected
    > it to a USB connector.
    >
    > Windows recognised the hard drive and it apears in Device Manager but
    > does not map a drive or apper in the Disk Management wndow.
    >
    > I then remembered I had set a password for the drive.
    >
    > Question 1 - Is there any way to enter a HDD passowrd via a USB/IDE
    > connection
    >
    > I then put my Hard Drive into another laptop (a HP Compaq NC4010) and
    > as good as gold the Bios requested the HDDDrive Bay Password.
    >
    > I entered the password but no go ?
    >
    > Question 2 - The computer that the Hard Drive comes from uses a US
    > layout keyboard and the one i am trying to use it in now is a UK
    > layout. I use a ~ (tilde) in my password which is in a different spot
    > on these keyboards (although I have tried the various corresponding
    > key locations) but it continually rejcts my password.
    >
    > Could this cause a problem ?
    >
    > Or is there something else ?
    >
    > Jason
    >

    Looks like the second question answers the first one. I do not know the
    British keyboard, but for some characters, I believe you must press
    Alt-Gr (bottom-right of the keyboard). If the tilde is located at the
    bottom right of a key, then, this is what you need to do. Try typing
    your password in Word or Wordpad to make sure it gets the way you need
    and then try for the hard drive.

    Regards

    --
    John Doue
    John Doue, Feb 3, 2007
    #2
    1. Advertising

  3. Vanguard Guest

    <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Hi,
    >
    > My laptop has died and I have taken out the hard drive and connected
    > it to a USB connector.
    >
    > Windows recognised the hard drive and it apears in Device Manager but
    > does not map a drive or apper in the Disk Management wndow.
    >
    > I then remembered I had set a password for the drive.
    >
    > Question 1 - Is there any way to enter a HDD passowrd via a USB/IDE
    > connection
    >
    > I then put my Hard Drive into another laptop (a HP Compaq NC4010) and
    > as good as gold the Bios requested the HDDDrive Bay Password.
    >
    > I entered the password but no go ?
    >
    > Question 2 - The computer that the Hard Drive comes from uses a US
    > layout keyboard and the one i am trying to use it in now is a UK
    > layout. I use a ~ (tilde) in my password which is in a different spot
    > on these keyboards (although I have tried the various corresponding
    > key locations) but it continually rejcts my password.



    You mention the 2nd but failed laptop where you tried using the password
    but never bothered to mention the ORIGINAL laptop that was used to hash
    your hard drive's contents. The other half of the hash (to decode) was
    back in the original laptop. Preventing someone from getting at it,
    especially by stealing the drive, is just what that security is for;
    i.e., unless the drive is in the original laptop that hashed up the
    drive's contents AND you know the password, you will never get at the
    decoded contents of the drive. That's why you need to do backups (which
    aren't hashed or you specify the password which is a software-based
    password that you can use regardless of to where you restore the
    password-protected backup).

    I you don't have the original laptop to reinsert the hard drive, you'll
    have to call the maker of the original laptop to see if they provide a
    backdoor password, but I doubt it (although I have seen some lists
    floating around of possible backdoor passwords). If you don't have
    possession of the original laptop and it is usable, start looking for a
    service bureau to do the recovery. Otherwise, you are stuck with
    partitioning and formatting the drive to wipe it out, and use the
    password, if wanted, for the new laptop that does whole-disk encryption.
    Hardware-based security became available starting back with the ATA-3
    specification.

    http://www.pwcrack.com/bios.shtml
    http://www.rockbox.org/lock.html
    http://www.driverforum.com/harddrive3/1642.html (but sounds very
    hazardous)
    http://www.eevidencelabs.com/article/ATA_Security_Roadblock_to_Computer_Forensics.pdf
    http://www.velocityreviews.com/forums/t307506-how-do-you-remove-an-ata-hard-disk-password.html
    Vanguard, Feb 3, 2007
    #3
  4. I don't think that there is a way to get this to work over a USB connection.

    I'm surprised that it didn't work on the Compaq. The keyboard could be
    part of the issue, or the Compaq may just handle this "differently" than
    your original computer. Or your memory of what the password was might
    just be faulty.


    wrote:
    > Hi,
    >
    > My laptop has died and I have taken out the hard drive and connected
    > it to a USB connector.
    >
    > Windows recognised the hard drive and it apears in Device Manager but
    > does not map a drive or apper in the Disk Management wndow.
    >
    > I then remembered I had set a password for the drive.
    >
    > Question 1 - Is there any way to enter a HDD passowrd via a USB/IDE
    > connection
    >
    > I then put my Hard Drive into another laptop (a HP Compaq NC4010) and
    > as good as gold the Bios requested the HDDDrive Bay Password.
    >
    > I entered the password but no go ?
    >
    > Question 2 - The computer that the Hard Drive comes from uses a US
    > layout keyboard and the one i am trying to use it in now is a UK
    > layout. I use a ~ (tilde) in my password which is in a different spot
    > on these keyboards (although I have tried the various corresponding
    > key locations) but it continually rejcts my password.
    >
    > Could this cause a problem ?
    >
    > Or is there something else ?
    >
    > Jason
    >
    Barry Watzman, Feb 3, 2007
    #4
  5. Re: "The other half of the hash (to decode) was back in the original
    laptop. Preventing someone from getting at it, especially by stealing
    the drive, is just what that security is for; i.e., unless the drive is
    in the original laptop that hashed up the drive's contents AND you know
    the password, you will never get at the decoded contents of the drive."

    I don't think that's correct. This isn't windows, this is an IDE
    password. The implementation of that is supposed to prevent access, on
    ANY computer, without the password. But as far as I know, it is NOT
    supposed to tie the drive to the computer ... the correct password
    should work on any computer. Otherwise, as has happened here, if the
    computer motherboard dies, then the drive is lost, and that is beyond
    secure, it is "data endangering". And I don't think that's how it works.


    Vanguard wrote:
    > <> wrote in message
    > news:...
    >> Hi,
    >>
    >> My laptop has died and I have taken out the hard drive and connected
    >> it to a USB connector.
    >>
    >> Windows recognised the hard drive and it apears in Device Manager but
    >> does not map a drive or apper in the Disk Management wndow.
    >>
    >> I then remembered I had set a password for the drive.
    >>
    >> Question 1 - Is there any way to enter a HDD passowrd via a USB/IDE
    >> connection
    >>
    >> I then put my Hard Drive into another laptop (a HP Compaq NC4010) and
    >> as good as gold the Bios requested the HDDDrive Bay Password.
    >>
    >> I entered the password but no go ?
    >>
    >> Question 2 - The computer that the Hard Drive comes from uses a US
    >> layout keyboard and the one i am trying to use it in now is a UK
    >> layout. I use a ~ (tilde) in my password which is in a different spot
    >> on these keyboards (although I have tried the various corresponding
    >> key locations) but it continually rejcts my password.

    >
    >
    > You mention the 2nd but failed laptop where you tried using the password
    > but never bothered to mention the ORIGINAL laptop that was used to hash
    > your hard drive's contents. The other half of the hash (to decode) was
    > back in the original laptop. Preventing someone from getting at it,
    > especially by stealing the drive, is just what that security is for;
    > i.e., unless the drive is in the original laptop that hashed up the
    > drive's contents AND you know the password, you will never get at the
    > decoded contents of the drive. That's why you need to do backups (which
    > aren't hashed or you specify the password which is a software-based
    > password that you can use regardless of to where you restore the
    > password-protected backup).
    >
    > I you don't have the original laptop to reinsert the hard drive, you'll
    > have to call the maker of the original laptop to see if they provide a
    > backdoor password, but I doubt it (although I have seen some lists
    > floating around of possible backdoor passwords). If you don't have
    > possession of the original laptop and it is usable, start looking for a
    > service bureau to do the recovery. Otherwise, you are stuck with
    > partitioning and formatting the drive to wipe it out, and use the
    > password, if wanted, for the new laptop that does whole-disk encryption.
    > Hardware-based security became available starting back with the ATA-3
    > specification.
    >
    > http://www.pwcrack.com/bios.shtml
    > http://www.rockbox.org/lock.html
    > http://www.driverforum.com/harddrive3/1642.html (but sounds very hazardous)
    > http://www.eevidencelabs.com/article/ATA_Security_Roadblock_to_Computer_Forensics.pdf
    >
    > http://www.velocityreviews.com/forums/t307506-how-do-you-remove-an-ata-hard-disk-password.html
    >
    >
    >
    Barry Watzman, Feb 3, 2007
    #5
  6. "Barry Watzman" <> wrote in message news:45c4b406$0$9009$
    > Re: "The other half of the hash (to decode) was back in the original
    > laptop. Preventing someone from getting at it, especially by stealing
    > the drive, is just what that security is for; i.e., unless the drive is
    > in the original laptop that hashed up the drive's contents AND you know
    > the password, you will never get at the decoded contents of the drive."


    > I don't think that's correct.


    It isn't. He's obviously one of those rocket scientists.

    > This isn't windows, this is an IDE password. The implementation of that
    > is supposed to prevent access, on ANY computer, without the password.
    > But as far as I know, it is NOT supposed to tie the drive to the computer
    > ... the correct password should work on any computer.
    > Otherwise, as has happened here, if the computer motherboard dies,
    > then the drive is lost, and that is beyond secure, it is "data endangering".


    > And I don't think that's how it works.


    It doesn't.

    >
    >
    > Vanguard wrote:
    > > > wrote in message news:...
    > > > Hi,
    > > >
    > > > My laptop has died and I have taken out the hard drive and connected
    > > > it to a USB connector.
    > > >


    [snip]
    Folkert Rienstra, Feb 3, 2007
    #6
  7. Vanguard Guest

    "Barry Watzman" <> wrote in message
    news:45c4b406$0$9009$...
    > Re: "The other half of the hash (to decode) was back in the original
    > laptop. Preventing someone from getting at it, especially by stealing
    > the drive, is just what that security is for; i.e., unless the drive
    > is in the original laptop that hashed up the drive's contents AND you
    > know the password, you will never get at the decoded contents of the
    > drive."
    >
    > I don't think that's correct. This isn't windows,


    I don't care what OS is on the drive, encrypted or not. The whole-disk
    encryption is performed in hardware. Half of that support is on the
    hard drive, the other half is back in the mobo. If the drive wanders
    off from the mobo that hashed up the drive, that drive cannot be
    decoded. It is very similar to e-mail encryption: the source (owner of
    the certificate or the mobo) has the "private" portion and the target
    (recipient or hard drive) has the "public" portion. Without both,
    there's no decryption, and the source controls that.

    > this is an IDE


    Yep, as I said, this hardware encryption was first provided in ATA-3
    specification. It is NOT solely implemented on the hard drive alone.
    Unfortunately it costs to get copies of the ATA specs from
    http://www.t13.org/ and I really don't need them.

    > Otherwise, as has happened here, if the computer motherboard dies,
    > then the drive is lost, and that is beyond secure, it is "data
    > endangering".


    Yep, that is what happens. And that is why you MUST do data backups
    since they won't depend on the private key for the encryption that the
    mobo has. The backups can either be open in that anyone could restore
    from them or you would password-protect them, but that password
    protection is entirely within the backup file so you could use another
    computer running the same backup program to restore your data because
    the password was only used to encode the file (i.e., there is no
    separation of private and public keys, there is just the one key used to
    encode the file).
    Vanguard, Feb 3, 2007
    #7
  8. John Doue Guest

    Vanguard wrote:
    > "Barry Watzman" <> wrote in message
    > news:45c4b406$0$9009$...
    >> Re: "The other half of the hash (to decode) was back in the original
    >> laptop. Preventing someone from getting at it, especially by stealing
    >> the drive, is just what that security is for; i.e., unless the drive
    >> is in the original laptop that hashed up the drive's contents AND you
    >> know the password, you will never get at the decoded contents of the
    >> drive."
    >>
    >> I don't think that's correct. This isn't windows,

    >
    > I don't care what OS is on the drive, encrypted or not. The whole-disk
    > encryption is performed in hardware. Half of that support is on the
    > hard drive, the other half is back in the mobo. If the drive wanders
    > off from the mobo that hashed up the drive, that drive cannot be
    > decoded. It is very similar to e-mail encryption: the source (owner of
    > the certificate or the mobo) has the "private" portion and the target
    > (recipient or hard drive) has the "public" portion. Without both,
    > there's no decryption, and the source controls that.
    >
    >> this is an IDE

    >
    > Yep, as I said, this hardware encryption was first provided in ATA-3
    > specification. It is NOT solely implemented on the hard drive alone.
    > Unfortunately it costs to get copies of the ATA specs from
    > http://www.t13.org/ and I really don't need them.
    >
    >> Otherwise, as has happened here, if the computer motherboard dies,
    >> then the drive is lost, and that is beyond secure, it is "data
    >> endangering".

    >
    > Yep, that is what happens. And that is why you MUST do data backups
    > since they won't depend on the private key for the encryption that the
    > mobo has. The backups can either be open in that anyone could restore
    > from them or you would password-protect them, but that password
    > protection is entirely within the backup file so you could use another
    > computer running the same backup program to restore your data because
    > the password was only used to encode the file (i.e., there is no
    > separation of private and public keys, there is just the one key used to
    > encode the file).
    >

    I am curious to know what the final word is on that issue. Until reading
    your post, I shared Barry's opinion. If you are correct, and you seem to
    know your stuff, then I would look twice before passwording a hard-drive.

    Regards

    --
    John Doue
    John Doue, Feb 3, 2007
    #8
  9. Rod Speed Guest

    John Doue <> wrote:
    > Vanguard wrote:
    >> "Barry Watzman" <> wrote in message
    >> news:45c4b406$0$9009$...
    >>> Re: "The other half of the hash (to decode) was back in the original
    >>> laptop. Preventing someone from getting at it, especially by
    >>> stealing the drive, is just what that security is for; i.e., unless
    >>> the drive is in the original laptop that hashed up the drive's
    >>> contents AND you know the password, you will never get at the
    >>> decoded contents of the drive."
    >>>
    >>> I don't think that's correct. This isn't windows,

    >>
    >> I don't care what OS is on the drive, encrypted or not. The
    >> whole-disk encryption is performed in hardware. Half of that
    >> support is on the hard drive, the other half is back in the mobo. If the drive wanders off from
    >> the mobo that hashed up the drive,
    >> that drive cannot be decoded. It is very similar to e-mail
    >> encryption: the source (owner of the certificate or the mobo) has
    >> the "private" portion and the target (recipient or hard drive) has
    >> the "public" portion. Without both, there's no decryption, and the
    >> source controls that.
    >>> this is an IDE

    >>
    >> Yep, as I said, this hardware encryption was first provided in ATA-3
    >> specification. It is NOT solely implemented on the hard drive alone.
    >> Unfortunately it costs to get copies of the ATA specs from
    >> http://www.t13.org/ and I really don't need them.
    >>
    >>> Otherwise, as has happened here, if the computer motherboard dies,
    >>> then the drive is lost, and that is beyond secure, it is "data
    >>> endangering".

    >>
    >> Yep, that is what happens. And that is why you MUST do data backups
    >> since they won't depend on the private key for the encryption that
    >> the mobo has. The backups can either be open in that anyone could
    >> restore from them or you would password-protect them, but that
    >> password protection is entirely within the backup file so you could
    >> use another computer running the same backup program to restore your
    >> data because the password was only used to encode the file (i.e.,
    >> there is no separation of private and public keys, there is just the
    >> one key used to encode the file).


    > I am curious to know what the final word is on that issue. Until
    > reading your post, I shared Barry's opinion. If you are correct, and
    > you seem to know your stuff,


    He doesnt, actually. Where the encryption is done is an entirely
    separate issue to whether the ATA password can be reentered
    for a drive that is moved from one system that supports ATA
    passwords to another that also does.

    > then I would look twice before passwording a hard-drive.


    That should always be done, if only because you
    need to be sure that you wont lose the password.
    Rod Speed, Feb 3, 2007
    #9
  10. Odie Ferrous Guest

    Vanguard wrote:
    >
    > "Barry Watzman" <> wrote in message
    > news:45c4b406$0$9009$...
    > > Re: "The other half of the hash (to decode) was back in the original
    > > laptop. Preventing someone from getting at it, especially by stealing
    > > the drive, is just what that security is for; i.e., unless the drive
    > > is in the original laptop that hashed up the drive's contents AND you
    > > know the password, you will never get at the decoded contents of the
    > > drive."
    > >
    > > I don't think that's correct. This isn't windows,

    >
    > I don't care what OS is on the drive, encrypted or not. The whole-disk
    > encryption is performed in hardware. Half of that support is on the
    > hard drive, the other half is back in the mobo. If the drive wanders
    > off from the mobo that hashed up the drive, that drive cannot be
    > decoded. It is very similar to e-mail encryption: the source (owner of
    > the certificate or the mobo) has the "private" portion and the target
    > (recipient or hard drive) has the "public" portion. Without both,
    > there's no decryption, and the source controls that.


    Vanguard,


    All the drive manufacturers have their own method of enforcing password
    protection at this level.

    Some of them can be overcome quite easily (for instance, a typical
    resurrection for Western Digital drives is to enter, as the password,
    WDC repetitively for 32 characters) whereas others (most) require
    hardware intervention.

    We can recover / obliterate passwords for almost all drives - using
    specialist equipment - but for the lucky user of a WD-type drive, it's
    fairly straightforward.

    The password is rarely stored on multiple media - as far as I can tell
    with up-to-date information and experience. (i.e. it's never stored as a
    combination of platter-based info (system area) and hardware (BIOS / ROM
    / NVRAM.)



    --
    Retrodata
    www.retrodata.co.uk
    Globally Local Data Recovery Experts
    Odie Ferrous, Feb 3, 2007
    #10
  11. Re: "The whole-disk encryption is performed in hardware."

    We are not talking about encryption at all. IDE drive passwords are not
    encryption. The way that this works is that on startup, the drive will
    one and only one command over the IDE port ... the password command.
    Until that command is issued, with the correct password, the drive will
    simply not respond to ANY other valid IDE commands, including the
    "identify drive" command. Thus, until the password command is issued
    and the drive activates itself, it's not even seen by the bios. The
    system will act as if there is simply no drive installed at all. It has
    nothing to do with encryption or keys.

    I think that we are talking about two different things.


    Vanguard wrote:
    > "Barry Watzman" <> wrote in message
    > news:45c4b406$0$9009$...
    >> Re: "The other half of the hash (to decode) was back in the original
    >> laptop. Preventing someone from getting at it, especially by stealing
    >> the drive, is just what that security is for; i.e., unless the drive
    >> is in the original laptop that hashed up the drive's contents AND you
    >> know the password, you will never get at the decoded contents of the
    >> drive."
    >>
    >> I don't think that's correct. This isn't windows,

    >
    > I don't care what OS is on the drive, encrypted or not. The whole-disk
    > encryption is performed in hardware. Half of that support is on the
    > hard drive, the other half is back in the mobo. If the drive wanders
    > off from the mobo that hashed up the drive, that drive cannot be
    > decoded. It is very similar to e-mail encryption: the source (owner of
    > the certificate or the mobo) has the "private" portion and the target
    > (recipient or hard drive) has the "public" portion. Without both,
    > there's no decryption, and the source controls that.
    >
    >> this is an IDE

    >
    > Yep, as I said, this hardware encryption was first provided in ATA-3
    > specification. It is NOT solely implemented on the hard drive alone.
    > Unfortunately it costs to get copies of the ATA specs from
    > http://www.t13.org/ and I really don't need them.
    >
    >> Otherwise, as has happened here, if the computer motherboard dies,
    >> then the drive is lost, and that is beyond secure, it is "data
    >> endangering".

    >
    > Yep, that is what happens. And that is why you MUST do data backups
    > since they won't depend on the private key for the encryption that the
    > mobo has. The backups can either be open in that anyone could restore
    > from them or you would password-protect them, but that password
    > protection is entirely within the backup file so you could use another
    > computer running the same backup program to restore your data because
    > the password was only used to encode the file (i.e., there is no
    > separation of private and public keys, there is just the one key used to
    > encode the file).
    >
    Barry Watzman, Feb 3, 2007
    #11
  12. Vanguard Guest

    "Rod Speed" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > John Doue <> wrote:
    >> Vanguard wrote:
    >>> "Barry Watzman" <> wrote in message
    >>> news:45c4b406$0$9009$...
    >>>> Re: "The other half of the hash (to decode) was back in the
    >>>> original
    >>>> laptop. Preventing someone from getting at it, especially by
    >>>> stealing the drive, is just what that security is for; i.e., unless
    >>>> the drive is in the original laptop that hashed up the drive's
    >>>> contents AND you know the password, you will never get at the
    >>>> decoded contents of the drive."
    >>>>
    >>>> I don't think that's correct. This isn't windows,
    >>>
    >>> I don't care what OS is on the drive, encrypted or not. The
    >>> whole-disk encryption is performed in hardware. Half of that
    >>> support is on the hard drive, the other half is back in the mobo. If
    >>> the drive wanders off from the mobo that hashed up the drive,
    >>> that drive cannot be decoded. It is very similar to e-mail
    >>> encryption: the source (owner of the certificate or the mobo) has
    >>> the "private" portion and the target (recipient or hard drive) has
    >>> the "public" portion. Without both, there's no decryption, and the
    >>> source controls that.
    >>>> this is an IDE
    >>>
    >>> Yep, as I said, this hardware encryption was first provided in ATA-3
    >>> specification. It is NOT solely implemented on the hard drive
    >>> alone.
    >>> Unfortunately it costs to get copies of the ATA specs from
    >>> http://www.t13.org/ and I really don't need them.
    >>>
    >>>> Otherwise, as has happened here, if the computer motherboard dies,
    >>>> then the drive is lost, and that is beyond secure, it is "data
    >>>> endangering".
    >>>
    >>> Yep, that is what happens. And that is why you MUST do data backups
    >>> since they won't depend on the private key for the encryption that
    >>> the mobo has. The backups can either be open in that anyone could
    >>> restore from them or you would password-protect them, but that
    >>> password protection is entirely within the backup file so you could
    >>> use another computer running the same backup program to restore your
    >>> data because the password was only used to encode the file (i.e.,
    >>> there is no separation of private and public keys, there is just the
    >>> one key used to encode the file).

    >
    >> I am curious to know what the final word is on that issue. Until
    >> reading your post, I shared Barry's opinion. If you are correct, and
    >> you seem to know your stuff,

    >
    > He doesnt, actually. Where the encryption is done is an entirely
    > separate issue to whether the ATA password can be reentered
    > for a drive that is moved from one system that supports ATA
    > passwords to another that also does.



    http://www.ami.com/support/doc/AMIBIOS8_HDD_Security.pdf

    The user password is normally used to unlock the hard drive. The master
    password, if one exists, can also be used to unlock the hard drive.
    That is why I've seen some backdoor lists floating around of what some
    mobo makers have been found to commonly use for a master password. The
    master password is also why you can call the maker of your mobo as they
    may be able to tell you what is the master password for you to unlock
    the drive. Drive locking protection is obviously degraded if such
    backdoor [master] passwords are common and maybe that's why
    security-conscious users and corporations rely on whole-disk encryption
    instead.

    Ron is correct in that I was mixing hard drive locking with whole-disk
    encryption. These are separate security mechanisms. From the OP's
    post, perhaps just disk locking was employed and not encryption. Since
    the OP gave absolutely no details on WHAT was the original computer in
    which the drive was locked (and maybe encrypted, too), guesses is all
    that can be profferred.

    Since the OP already tried in another computer that prompted for the
    password but it did not work then it sure seems that the BIOS makers can
    customize how they support the drive lock feature. That is, just
    because there is an ATA standard, it could be rather vague or the BIOS
    makers may even deliberately tweak it so to be almost proprietary. As
    Odie alluded, drive locking may not be compatible between different
    BIOSes.

    I'm wondering if a replacement of the PCB on the hard drive might
    "repair" or unlock the drive. That is, get another exact same drive and
    use its PCB on the problematic drive. Since the replacement PCB hasn't
    been password enabled yet, maybe it would permit access to the drive. I
    tried this once with an old drive (so getting an exact replacement was
    pricey due to rarity) because a voltage regulator component blew which
    rendered the drive useless (it wouldn't spin up). The replacement PCB
    got the drive to spin up.

    It could even be that the translation geometry for LBA mode of the
    original computer doesn't match that used in the second computer. Start
    at http://www.pcguide.com/ref/hdd/bios/modesLBA-c.html. Then read
    http://www.pcguide.com/ref/hdd/bios/modesCaveats-c.html about the hazard
    (to data) of moving hard drives between computers, especially with
    different BIOSes. I have ran into this when moving drives between hosts
    really old hardware hosts to new hardware hosts.
    Vanguard, Feb 4, 2007
    #12
  13. Arno Wagner Guest

    In comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage Odie Ferrous <> wrote:
    > Vanguard wrote:
    >>
    >> "Barry Watzman" <> wrote in message
    >> news:45c4b406$0$9009$...
    >> > Re: "The other half of the hash (to decode) was back in the original
    >> > laptop. Preventing someone from getting at it, especially by stealing
    >> > the drive, is just what that security is for; i.e., unless the drive
    >> > is in the original laptop that hashed up the drive's contents AND you
    >> > know the password, you will never get at the decoded contents of the
    >> > drive."
    >> >
    >> > I don't think that's correct. This isn't windows,

    >>
    >> I don't care what OS is on the drive, encrypted or not. The whole-disk
    >> encryption is performed in hardware. Half of that support is on the
    >> hard drive, the other half is back in the mobo. If the drive wanders
    >> off from the mobo that hashed up the drive, that drive cannot be
    >> decoded. It is very similar to e-mail encryption: the source (owner of
    >> the certificate or the mobo) has the "private" portion and the target
    >> (recipient or hard drive) has the "public" portion. Without both,
    >> there's no decryption, and the source controls that.

    >
    > Vanguard,



    > All the drive manufacturers have their own method of enforcing password
    > protection at this level.


    > Some of them can be overcome quite easily (for instance, a typical
    > resurrection for Western Digital drives is to enter, as the password,
    > WDC repetitively for 32 characters) whereas others (most) require
    > hardware intervention.


    > We can recover / obliterate passwords for almost all drives - using
    > specialist equipment - but for the lucky user of a WD-type drive, it's
    > fairly straightforward.


    > The password is rarely stored on multiple media - as far as I can tell
    > with up-to-date information and experience. (i.e. it's never stored as a
    > combination of platter-based info (system area) and hardware (BIOS / ROM
    > / NVRAM.)


    So basically a HDD password is only protection angainst amateurs and
    even they can get it removed for a few thousand EUR/USD?

    Hmmm. If this were crypto, it would fall into the ''ridiculous''
    security level class...

    Arno
    Arno Wagner, Feb 4, 2007
    #13
  14. Rod Speed Guest

    Vanguard <> wrote
    > Rod Speed <> wrote
    >> John Doue <> wrote
    >>> Vanguard wrote
    >>>> Barry Watzman <> wrote


    >>>>> Re: "The other half of the hash (to decode) was back in the original laptop. Preventing
    >>>>> someone from getting at it, especially by stealing the drive, is just what that security is
    >>>>> for; i.e., unless the drive is in the original laptop that hashed up the drive's contents AND
    >>>>> you know the password, you will never get at the decoded contents of the drive."


    >>>>> I don't think that's correct. This isn't windows,


    >>>> I don't care what OS is on the drive, encrypted or not. The
    >>>> whole-disk encryption is performed in hardware. Half of that
    >>>> support is on the hard drive, the other half is back in the mobo.
    >>>> If the drive wanders off from the mobo that hashed up the drive,
    >>>> that drive cannot be decoded. It is very similar to e-mail
    >>>> encryption: the source (owner of the certificate or the mobo) has
    >>>> the "private" portion and the target (recipient or hard drive) has
    >>>> the "public" portion. Without both, there's no decryption, and the
    >>>> source controls that.


    >>>>> this is an IDE


    >>>> Yep, as I said, this hardware encryption was first provided in ATA-3 specification.


    No it wasnt.

    >>>> It is NOT solely implemented on the hard drive alone.


    There was no hardware encryption on the hard drive with the ATA spec.

    >>>> Unfortunately it costs to get copies of the ATA specs from http://www.t13.org/ and I really
    >>>> don't need them.


    The drafts are readily available for free and that detail didnt change.

    >>>>> Otherwise, as has happened here, if the computer motherboard dies,
    >>>>> then the drive is lost, and that is beyond secure, it is "data endangering".


    >>>> Yep, that is what happens. And that is why you MUST do data
    >>>> backups since they won't depend on the private key for the
    >>>> encryption that the mobo has. The backups can either be open in
    >>>> that anyone could restore from them or you would password-protect
    >>>> them, but that password protection is entirely within the backup
    >>>> file so you could use another computer running the same backup
    >>>> program to restore your data because the password was only used to encode the file (i.e., there
    >>>> is no separation of private and
    >>>> public keys, there is just the one key used to encode the file).


    >>> I am curious to know what the final word is on that issue. Until reading your post, I shared
    >>> Barry's opinion. If you are correct, and you seem to know your stuff,


    >> He doesnt, actually. Where the encryption is done is an entirely
    >> separate issue to whether the ATA password can be reentered
    >> for a drive that is moved from one system that supports ATA
    >> passwords to another that also does.


    > http://www.ami.com/support/doc/AMIBIOS8_HDD_Security.pdf


    > The user password is normally used to unlock the hard drive.


    Yep, and it says absolutely NOTHING about any ATA spec encryption.

    > The master password, if one exists, can also be used to unlock the hard drive.


    Irrelevant to your pig ignorant claims about ENCRYPTION.

    > That is why I've seen some backdoor lists floating around of what some mobo makers have been found
    > to commonly use for a master password.


    Pity the user is welcome to change that and obviously should do so.

    > The master password is also why you can call the maker of your mobo as they may be able to tell
    > you what is the master password for you to unlock the drive.


    Pity that only allows you to ERASE the drive, not access the DATA.

    > Drive locking protection is obviously degraded if such backdoor [master] passwords are common


    No it doesnt if you actually have a clue and change that master password.

    > and maybe that's why security-conscious users and corporations rely on whole-disk encryption
    > instead.


    Thats for a different reason entirely, because its actually possible to bypass
    that password protection when you have physical access to the drive.

    > Ron is correct in that I was mixing hard drive locking with whole-disk
    > encryption. These are separate security mechanisms. From the OP's
    > post, perhaps just disk locking was employed and not encryption.


    > Since the OP gave absolutely no details on WHAT was the original computer in which the drive was
    > locked (and maybe encrypted, too), guesses is all that can be profferred.


    Anyone with a clue has noticed that you mangled the story completely.

    > Since the OP already tried in another computer that prompted for the password but it did not work
    > then it sure seems that the BIOS makers can customize how they support the drive lock feature.


    You dont even know that the OP is entering the password correctly.

    > That is, just because there is an ATA standard, it could be rather vague


    No it isnt.

    > or the BIOS makers may even deliberately tweak it so to be almost proprietary.


    No they dont.

    > As Odie alluded, drive locking may not be compatible between different BIOSes.


    He didnt say anything like that. The ATA standard makes it very clear how it works.

    > I'm wondering if a replacement of the PCB on the hard drive might "repair" or unlock the drive.
    > That is, get another exact same drive and use its PCB on the problematic drive. Since the
    > replacement PCB hasn't been password enabled yet, maybe it would permit access to the drive.


    VERY unlikely that it would be that pathetically implemented.

    Because that would defeat the whole point of the ATA security feature.

    > I tried this once with an old drive (so getting an exact replacement was pricey due to rarity)
    > because a voltage regulator component blew which rendered the drive useless (it wouldn't spin up).
    > The replacement PCB got the drive to spin up.


    Irrelevant to the ATA security feature.

    > It could even be that the translation geometry for LBA mode of the
    > original computer doesn't match that used in the second computer.


    Wrong again. You'd get a different result if that was the problem.

    > Start at http://www.pcguide.com/ref/hdd/bios/modesLBA-c.html. Then
    > read http://www.pcguide.com/ref/hdd/bios/modesCaveats-c.html about
    > the hazard (to data) of moving hard drives between computers, especially with different BIOSes.


    Pity that is irrelevant when the AUTO drive type is used.

    > I have ran into this when moving drives between hosts really old hardware hosts to new hardware
    > hosts.


    Pity his isnt really old hardware.
    Rod Speed, Feb 4, 2007
    #14
  15. John Doue Guest

    Rod Speed wrote:
    > Vanguard <> wrote
    >> Rod Speed <> wrote
    >>> John Doue <> wrote
    >>>> Vanguard wrote
    >>>>> Barry Watzman <> wrote

    >
    >>>>>> Re: "The other half of the hash (to decode) was back in the original laptop. Preventing
    >>>>>> someone from getting at it, especially by stealing the drive, is just what that security is
    >>>>>> for; i.e., unless the drive is in the original laptop that hashed up the drive's contents AND
    >>>>>> you know the password, you will never get at the decoded contents of the drive."

    >
    >>>>>> I don't think that's correct. This isn't windows,

    >
    >>>>> I don't care what OS is on the drive, encrypted or not. The
    >>>>> whole-disk encryption is performed in hardware. Half of that
    >>>>> support is on the hard drive, the other half is back in the mobo.
    >>>>> If the drive wanders off from the mobo that hashed up the drive,
    >>>>> that drive cannot be decoded. It is very similar to e-mail
    >>>>> encryption: the source (owner of the certificate or the mobo) has
    >>>>> the "private" portion and the target (recipient or hard drive) has
    >>>>> the "public" portion. Without both, there's no decryption, and the
    >>>>> source controls that.

    >
    >>>>>> this is an IDE

    >
    >>>>> Yep, as I said, this hardware encryption was first provided in ATA-3 specification.

    >
    > No it wasnt.
    >
    >>>>> It is NOT solely implemented on the hard drive alone.

    >
    > There was no hardware encryption on the hard drive with the ATA spec.
    >
    >>>>> Unfortunately it costs to get copies of the ATA specs from http://www.t13.org/ and I really
    >>>>> don't need them.

    >
    > The drafts are readily available for free and that detail didnt change.
    >
    >>>>>> Otherwise, as has happened here, if the computer motherboard dies,
    >>>>>> then the drive is lost, and that is beyond secure, it is "data endangering".

    >
    >>>>> Yep, that is what happens. And that is why you MUST do data
    >>>>> backups since they won't depend on the private key for the
    >>>>> encryption that the mobo has. The backups can either be open in
    >>>>> that anyone could restore from them or you would password-protect
    >>>>> them, but that password protection is entirely within the backup
    >>>>> file so you could use another computer running the same backup
    >>>>> program to restore your data because the password was only used to encode the file (i.e., there
    >>>>> is no separation of private and
    >>>>> public keys, there is just the one key used to encode the file).

    >
    >>>> I am curious to know what the final word is on that issue. Until reading your post, I shared
    >>>> Barry's opinion. If you are correct, and you seem to know your stuff,

    >
    >>> He doesnt, actually. Where the encryption is done is an entirely
    >>> separate issue to whether the ATA password can be reentered
    >>> for a drive that is moved from one system that supports ATA
    >>> passwords to another that also does.

    >
    >> http://www.ami.com/support/doc/AMIBIOS8_HDD_Security.pdf

    >
    >> The user password is normally used to unlock the hard drive.

    >
    > Yep, and it says absolutely NOTHING about any ATA spec encryption.
    >
    >> The master password, if one exists, can also be used to unlock the hard drive.

    >
    > Irrelevant to your pig ignorant claims about ENCRYPTION.
    >
    >> That is why I've seen some backdoor lists floating around of what some mobo makers have been found
    >> to commonly use for a master password.

    >
    > Pity the user is welcome to change that and obviously should do so.
    >
    >> The master password is also why you can call the maker of your mobo as they may be able to tell
    >> you what is the master password for you to unlock the drive.

    >
    > Pity that only allows you to ERASE the drive, not access the DATA.
    >
    >> Drive locking protection is obviously degraded if such backdoor [master] passwords are common

    >
    > No it doesnt if you actually have a clue and change that master password.
    >
    >> and maybe that's why security-conscious users and corporations rely on whole-disk encryption
    >> instead.

    >
    > Thats for a different reason entirely, because its actually possible to bypass
    > that password protection when you have physical access to the drive.
    >
    >> Ron is correct in that I was mixing hard drive locking with whole-disk
    >> encryption. These are separate security mechanisms. From the OP's
    >> post, perhaps just disk locking was employed and not encryption.

    >
    >> Since the OP gave absolutely no details on WHAT was the original computer in which the drive was
    >> locked (and maybe encrypted, too), guesses is all that can be profferred.

    >
    > Anyone with a clue has noticed that you mangled the story completely.
    >
    >> Since the OP already tried in another computer that prompted for the password but it did not work
    >> then it sure seems that the BIOS makers can customize how they support the drive lock feature.

    >
    > You dont even know that the OP is entering the password correctly.
    >
    >> That is, just because there is an ATA standard, it could be rather vague

    >
    > No it isnt.
    >
    >> or the BIOS makers may even deliberately tweak it so to be almost proprietary.

    >
    > No they dont.
    >
    >> As Odie alluded, drive locking may not be compatible between different BIOSes.

    >
    > He didnt say anything like that. The ATA standard makes it very clear how it works.
    >
    >> I'm wondering if a replacement of the PCB on the hard drive might "repair" or unlock the drive.
    >> That is, get another exact same drive and use its PCB on the problematic drive. Since the
    >> replacement PCB hasn't been password enabled yet, maybe it would permit access to the drive.

    >
    > VERY unlikely that it would be that pathetically implemented.
    >
    > Because that would defeat the whole point of the ATA security feature.
    >
    >> I tried this once with an old drive (so getting an exact replacement was pricey due to rarity)
    >> because a voltage regulator component blew which rendered the drive useless (it wouldn't spin up).
    >> The replacement PCB got the drive to spin up.

    >
    > Irrelevant to the ATA security feature.
    >
    >> It could even be that the translation geometry for LBA mode of the
    >> original computer doesn't match that used in the second computer.

    >
    > Wrong again. You'd get a different result if that was the problem.
    >
    >> Start at http://www.pcguide.com/ref/hdd/bios/modesLBA-c.html. Then
    >> read http://www.pcguide.com/ref/hdd/bios/modesCaveats-c.html about
    >> the hazard (to data) of moving hard drives between computers, especially with different BIOSes.

    >
    > Pity that is irrelevant when the AUTO drive type is used.
    >
    >> I have ran into this when moving drives between hosts really old hardware hosts to new hardware
    >> hosts.

    >
    > Pity his isnt really old hardware.
    >
    >

    Rod,

    Those links are interesting but it would be nice to know when they were
    written. They do not seem to relate to today's hard drive issues.

    Regards

    --
    John Doue
    John Doue, Feb 4, 2007
    #15
  16. JHEM Guest

    wrote:
    >
    > Question 1 - Is there any way to enter a HDD passowrd via a USB/IDE
    > connection


    No, it must be connected directly to an IDE port. If your laptop has a
    removable media bay whereby you can remove the optical drive and replace it
    with a second HD adapter then the locked HD will be correctly accessed on
    BOOT and prompt you for the password.

    > Question 2 - The computer that the Hard Drive comes from uses a US
    > layout keyboard and the one i am trying to use it in now is a UK
    > layout. I use a ~ (tilde) in my password which is in a different spot
    > on these keyboards (although I have tried the various corresponding
    > key locations) but it continually rejcts my password.
    >
    > Could this cause a problem ?


    Yes.
    --
    James

    Visit the Thinkpad Forums
    http://forum.thinkpads.com
    JHEM, Feb 4, 2007
    #16
  17. Arno Wagner wrote:

    > So basically a HDD password is only protection angainst amateurs and
    > even they can get it removed for a few thousand EUR/USD?


    A few thousands would be nice. You just need to by the same model and
    exchange the electronic board, as many hobbyists already showed. Cost: $200
    Sebastian Gottschalk, Feb 4, 2007
    #17
  18. Odie Ferrous Guest

    Sebastian Gottschalk wrote:
    >
    > Arno Wagner wrote:
    >
    > > So basically a HDD password is only protection angainst amateurs and
    > > even they can get it removed for a few thousand EUR/USD?

    >
    > A few thousands would be nice. You just need to by the same model and
    > exchange the electronic board, as many hobbyists already showed. Cost: $200


    That generally won't work either, as parameters to each unique drive are
    stored on the ROM / EEPROM on the logic board for many manufacturers.

    There are plenty of people offering password removal, myself included.


    Odie
    --
    Retrodata
    www.retrodata.co.uk
    Globally Local Data Recovery Experts
    Odie Ferrous, Feb 4, 2007
    #18
  19. Arno Wagner Guest

    In comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage Sebastian Gottschalk <> wrote:
    > Arno Wagner wrote:


    >> So basically a HDD password is only protection angainst amateurs and
    >> even they can get it removed for a few thousand EUR/USD?


    > A few thousands would be nice. You just need to by the same model
    > and exchange the electronic board, as many hobbyists already
    > showed. Cost: $200


    Same cost class. Basically worthless protection if anybody
    wants to remove the password. Only protects against accidental
    reading of data.

    Arno
    Arno Wagner, Feb 4, 2007
    #19
  20. Vanguard's posts have been totally "out to lunch" on this entire subject
    and thread.
    Barry Watzman, Feb 4, 2007
    #20
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