SSDs Get Built-In Protection Against Ransomware


Storage solutions provider Phison and cybersecurity technology company Cigent are releasing an SSD platform that uses mechanisms built into the SSD’s firmware to protect against ransomware and data theft. These Cigent Secure SSD drives, originally developed for U.S. government agencies the U.S. military, are now accessible to the general public including dedicated hosting providers.

“As the world’s first and only self-defending solid-state storage devices, the Cigent Secure SSD family is a true breakthrough that challenges conventional thinking about data security,” said Michael Wu, President and GM of Phison Electronics US. “Combining Cigent’s pioneering development of software and firmware-based security solutions with Phison’s leading expertise in providing highly customized secure SSD platforms ensures end-users can trust that their data remains fully available and free from the effects of ransomware or other malicious intrusions.”

Phison’s collaboration with Cigent expands the E12DC Crypto-SSD security architecture to add additional compute capabilities, attack detectors and sensors directly on the drive. Cigent’s K2 and Denali Safe SSDs incorporate Phison’s PCIe NVMe controller firmware with multi-patented firmware-based cyber security features. This firmware integration brings active data security as close to the data as possible, inside the storage unit and under the applications, BIOS, and operating system layers.

When a threat occurs, Cigent Secure SSDs detect and repel the ransomware attacks, automatically encrypt and conceal confidential information, and have ‘safe rooms’ that render data completely invisible to any intruder.

“The Cigent Secure SSD product family was developed by Cigent’s team of experts in data recovery and cybersecurity working in close cooperation with the cutting-edge storage experts at Phison. This combined team developed holistic data protection solutions with security built-in, making it virtually impossible for critical data and applications to be accessed from unauthorized sources,” said Greg Scasny, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of Cigent. “Software-only security is often easily bypassed, but our multi-patented, multi-layered self-defending storage is able to make critical data completely inaccessible and literally invisible to adversaries, giving customers peace of mind that their sensitive data and digital assets are safely stored and protected.”

Machine Learning, Deception Detection

Photo Greg Scasny, CTO of Cigent
“Software-only security is often easily bypassed, but our multi-patented, multi-layered self-defending storage is able to make critical data completely inaccessible and literally invisible to adversaries,” said Greg Scasny, CTO of Cigent.

Denali and K2 work together to secure data at all times by combining embedded firmware features including ransomware detection and response with Cigent’s D3E for Windows-based agent. D3E protects data from any attack by adding a layer of transparent Zero Trust multi-factor authentication to any file.

When combined with D3E, Phison’s E12DC Crypto-SSD uses machine learning, deception detection, and a family of threat sensors to detect security anomalies and react with integrated data defense for industry-leading safety. Data may be held in threat-aware safe rooms that vanish from the operating system’s perspective during a ransom or data theft attempt. Cigent’s unique Dual Mode function separates private/secure and non-private storage partitions that are completely separate and invisible to each other and adversaries.

Both the K2 Secure SSD and D3E software from Cigent are now available. In Summer 2021, the Denali Secure SSD with machine learning-based data protection will be eligible. Drives may be used as primary internal storage for Windows PCs, secondary internal storage (for example, in a desktop tower), or external USB-connected media.