The accidental loss or deliberate theft of notebooks with drives full of sensitive information is not just the cause of red faces (or worse) for government or military officials around the globe, as the world of business has also been touched by such security breaches. Self-encrypting drives have done much to help lock down important files, but Toshiba has gone a step further by developing a technology that securely erases data rather than let it fall into unauthorized hands. Originally announced last August, Wipe Technology has now been incorporated into a new range of self-encrypting hard drives which will go into mass production at the end of June.

The 2.5-inch MK6461GSYG drives will be available in capacities ranging from 160GB to 640GB and are not only destined for enterprise notebooks and mini-PCs, but could also end up in copiers, printers, and point-of-sale systems. The inclusion of the latest version of Wipe Technology allows users to have hardware encryption keys invalidated, or all data automatically erased when the drive's power supply is turned off or when connected to an unauthorized system.

The latter control is a new addition and works by triggering a challenge response when the drive is inserted into a system. If the system is known to the drive, all works as it should. However, if an attempt is made to read data on the drive by physically removing it from a secure host system and running it in an unauthorized system, the drive automatically deletes the encryption key, rendering the data inaccessible.

IT departments within an organization can also use the technology to ensure that private or sensitive data is cleansed ahead of system disposal or hard drive hotswaps.

Toshiba says that Wipe can be incorporated into existing system architecture and will be headed for its own-brand enterprise computer solutions, multi-function printers and POS systems. The company is also currently looking at integrating it into solid state storage solutions.