[ISN] Hard Disk Will Have Hackers Seeing Double

From: InfoSec News (isnat_private)
Date: Tue Jul 23 2002 - 00:07:29 PDT

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    Kuriko Miyake, IDG News Service
    Monday, July 22, 2002
    Hackers will be unable to attack Web sites protected by a new security
    system unless they can change the laws of physics, according to Naoto
    Takano, chief executive officer of Scarabs, a Japanese company.
    The company claims that it has developed a hard disk with two heads
    that prevents disk files published on the Web from being altered by
    Scarabs put two heads on the hard disk, a read-only head that is
    connected via one cable to a Web server for people to browse content
    on the disk file and a read/write head that is connected by another
    cable to a PC for administrators who renew the data. Internet users
    have access to the disk file only through the read-only head and so
    there is no physical way they can go into the system and rewrite the
    Original Idea
    The original idea of a hard disk having two heads emerged around 1985,
    when Takano was a scientific researcher. Analysis of data took a long
    time because all the data needed to be written to a drive before it
    could be read out again. If the hard disk was fitted with a read-only
    head, which could start reading data for analysis while the read/write
    head was still writing data on the disk, analysis could be done
    faster. At that time, however, the idea was never implemented.
    "I realized about three to four years ago, this could be used for
    server system security on the Internet," Takano says.
    The company succeeded in making a prototype last December. Since then,
    it has been showing real-time video streaming images on the Web.
    In the prototype, each head works independently, and as long as both
    the Internet server and the internal company PC are running operating
    systems which can read the same disk format, it could run on any
    operating system, Takano says. The prototype currently works on
    Windows NT4.0 CD-ROM running Active Server Pages and IIS, Takano says.
    It costs around $863 to build the simplest version of this system,
    Takano says.
    Modified Version
    Scarabs is also working on a different version of the
    technology--instead of putting two heads on a hard disk, the company
    is connecting two SCSI interface circuits to a conventional hard disk
    with one head, one set to send read-only electronic signals and the
    other to send read/write signals.
    "From an end user's point of view, the electronic implementation is
    more complicated but the professionals and vendors are more interested
    in this method. We have approached three vendors so far and hopefully,
    will be able to start sample shipping within this year," Takano says.
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