Paper: "Pocket SDV with SDGuardian: A Secure & Forensically Safe Portable Execution Environment"

Title: Pocket SDV with SDGuardian: A Secure & Forensically Safe Portable Execution Environment

Authors: Peter Hannay, Peter James

Storage of sensitive and/or business critical data on portable USB attachable mass storage devices is a common practice. The ability to transport large volumes of data from the standard place of work and then access and process the data on an available PC at a different location provides both convenience and flexibility. However, use of such USB attachable mass storage devices presents two major security risks; the risk of loss of the portable storage device during transport and the risk of data remnants residing on a PC after accessing the data from the USB storage device. The latter risk is due to the way Windows and third party applications store temporary information on the host PC’s hard disk. Even if every effort is made to delete temporary information it may be possible to recover this information by using forensic data recovery techniques such as header analysis and magnetic force microscopy.

The Pocket SDV with SDGuardian provides an elegant solution to the aforementioned security risks. The Pocket SDV is a commercially available USB attachable secure hard disk drive. Features of the Pocket SDV include hardware based encryption, strong authentication, differentiated access rights and cryptographically separate partitioning capabilities. Only a user with the correct authentication credentials can gain access to data stored on the Pocket SDV, thus providing assurance if the Pocket SDV is lost. SDGuardian is a proof of concept toolkit that minimises the remnants left on a PC if it is used to process data stored on a Pocket SDV. Forensic examination of the PC, following processing of data held on a Pocket SDV with SDGuardian, should not reveal any remnants of protected data. In this paper an overview of the Pocket SDV is given and its functionality is enumerated. The motivation for SDGuardian is outlined before discussing the design, capabilities and limitations of the Pocket SDV with SDGuardian.

Files: Full Paper (PDF)

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