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Xeb's Misadventures as a Data Recovery Engineer - Updated 4/11/2017 - Page 15

post #141 of 220
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Oh for god sakes

Case 7
So… a 1TB 2.5” WD drive came in and it was clicking. Okay, no surprises there.

What could be the issue?
1) Heads
2) Firmware
3) Platter damage
I open the drive in the clean room and completely remove the heads. After checking things over I see no BT lines, no platter damage and all sliders are in place and intact. But that was only on what was visable and could be seen. There could still be an issue with a head regardless if the platters look okay.

Alright, well… Lets see what we can do here.
Since this drive has just a USB interface on it I need to find a donor board that is compatible and swap the ROM over for a USB to SATA conversion. Once done I am able to connect the drive to the PC3K. Albeit, the PC3K does support opening a drive that is USB but it is slow and a real pain to work with and easily locks up. Lets just avoid that altogether.
Upon attempting to open the drive it seems bugs out and doesn’t want to behave and is giving signs of bad heads. That is exactly what I do. Put in a quote based on what I found and submit.

Some time later…
The drive got approved! Cool!
Looks through inventory for donors and finds ones that work
Okay. Head exchange and… done.
Plug the drive in and try to open the utility… NOPE. O_o. What the hell. Same thing. Strange. Lets confirm to be on the safe side shall we?

I put the old heads back into the donor drive to see if that does anything different (with a PCB coversion). Guess what? Original heads work fine. Issue has to be a firmware problem. The issue is that the drive takes FOREVER to get ready.

Sets timeout to 15 minutes
Lo and behold it gets “ready” but it is ungodly slow. I mean SUPER SLOW. Just to verify the modules on the drive took over an hour. This process normally takes a couple of minutes. I try to resolve the issue by applying the slow responding fix which clears the relo list. Sadly, this fails nut it fails saying it had an error with the relo list itself.... Interesting.

Okay, can I at least read the modules and tracks?

Yep. Those read. How about a verify? Welp. Look what we have here. The Relo List module itself is bad. Lets just take one from another drive and guess what? Drive runs pretty well! Interesting how the reallocation list can affect a drive in such a way.

Best part is that this drive imaged pretty well but did have some bad blocks. Only about 5 or so files were damaged. Not bad if I do say myself. 5 files (~3MB) out of nearly 700GB is really good.

Now that the job is complete we have to create a file list. Something that is important. I do so, send to the customer and they are very happy. Sweetness. Transfer and out the door.

Interesting job.
 
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post #142 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Xeb View Post

There could be a few things that are causing the issues on that drive. Most cases it is NOT a PCB. With what you are experiencing I am suspecting it could have either a firmware issue or a bad head(s). On some drives the ROM for the drive is not on a separate PCB and is instead embeded in an internal ROM on the CPU itself. Not something your average joe is going to know how to swap over. Other times the PCB itself is just dead and ROM cannot be accessed. This is where a hot swap comes into play but has its own challenges. Again, not something that an average joe would know how to do. Let alone even have access to reading modules, rebuilding the ROM and burning to the donor PCB.

I can just simply say, "UR DOIN IT WRUNG!".

If you don't know what you are doing and dont have to tools or know how then send it to someone who can.

Yes, data recovery can get expensive but you pay for what is required to recover the data, the knowledge and the equipment.

Alright, I see what you're saying. I havent messed with the drive in a couple years. It does contain data I want, but not sure if it is worth the cost of true professional recovery.

I appreciate the response.
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post #143 of 220
@Xeb

Many thanks for the latest. biggrin.gif I have to ask though...who thought of putting a USB interface directly onto a drive? Like, why even bother?
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post #144 of 220
Thread Starter 
Because WD does what WD does. Why in the hell do they also enable encryption of the drives themselves? Same for their external drives. Like.. huh? Y U DO DIS?
 
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post #145 of 220
@Xeb

Yeah, I've never seen the point of Self-Encypting Drives - classic example of technology implemented to drive sales through marketing rather than merit.
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post #146 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by parityboy View Post

@Xeb

Yeah, I've never seen the point of Self-Encypting Drives - classic example of technology implemented to drive sales through marketing rather than merit.

You don't see the good in having the encryption self contained on the drive, as opposed to having been loaded in the memory or the cpu of the host machine? Surely you jest, sir! I think SED are remarkable, and I wish more industries would use the feature. You wouldn't believe how much access a hacker has to encryption files via exploitation of the OS. By-pass the middle man and keep everything self contained.

How is that a bad thing?
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post #147 of 220
Thread Starter 
I don't think you understand here.

I get SED drives. Personally, I live them but it is WD's implementation that I have a problem with. If you take a drive and plug it into a computer, you should just be able to read the data if is unencrypted right? Well, depending on the drive from WD that may not be the case.

Lets take the WD 2.5 and 3.5 series here. The Passport and Elements series for specifics.


Lets say the hard drive inside the Elements (3.5") has failed or that the electronics in the enclosure itself have failed. What would any normal, rashional person do? Take the drive out and just plug it into a computer or another enclosure right? Well, WD prevents this. Their drives encrypt them not through the drive but through the enclosure. Why would you do this if the drive itself can be accessed without any password through the enclosure? Makes absolutely no sense. Maybe this is how WD makes the drives ready to go for encryption and a simple password is needed? Who knows but it makes my life difficult sometimes.

The same goes for the WD 2.5" drives. The PCB itself has a USB controller on it wired directly into the SATA traces of the MCU. If you swap out the PCB to a compatible SATA one you would expect to just be able to read the data? WRONG. Drive is encrypted as well and you cannot do this. Even if the drive does not have a password. Everything written to the drive is encrypted when through the USB controller.


Not that this is a bad thing I just think it is poor implementation. They have been doing this crap for years.
 
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post #148 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Xeb View Post

I don't think you understand here.

I get SED drives. Personally, I live them but it is WD's implementation that I have a problem with. If you take a drive and plug it into a computer, you should just be able to read the data if is unencrypted right? Well, depending on the drive from WD that may not be the case.

Lets take the WD 2.5 and 3.5 series here. The Passport and Elements series for specifics.


Lets say the hard drive inside the Elements (3.5") has failed or that the electronics in the enclosure itself have failed. What would any normal, rashional person do? Take the drive out and just plug it into a computer or another enclosure right? Well, WD prevents this. Their drives encrypt them not through the drive but through the enclosure. Why would you do this if the drive itself can be accessed without any password through the enclosure? Makes absolutely no sense. Maybe this is how WD makes the drives ready to go for encryption and a simple password is needed? Who knows but it makes my life difficult sometimes.

The same goes for the WD 2.5" drives. The PCB itself has a USB controller on it wired directly into the SATA traces of the MCU. If you swap out the PCB to a compatible SATA one you would expect to just be able to read the data? WRONG. Drive is encrypted as well and you cannot do this. Even if the drive does not have a password. Everything written to the drive is encrypted when through the USB controller.


Not that this is a bad thing I just think it is poor implementation. They have been doing this crap for years.

I think about it differently:

A self-encrypted drive is supposed to be this pinnacle of secure storage type thing… so if you plug it into another computer, all you get is a load of gibberish, such that you don’t even know partitioning, file system or boot sector (yes, those do not really contain data, but you can infer at least some information about the nature of the drive’s usage from that). It’s supposed to be a completely black box for anyone who does not have the decryption key. Now, if you decide to bake the encryption into the enclosure somehow, then losing the enclosure means losing the data. Attach it to the drive controller, and losing the controller loses the data. OS, fingerprint, retina scan, any identification technique you use, the entire point of encryption is that it’s supposed to be super easy to irrecoverably lose the data and possible to get the data only for the approved identity. Security = inconvenience (no password, easy access, everyone has your data; one password, stuff to remember, get hacked in 10 seconds; tough password, tough to remember, get hacked through 0-day security holes; five super-tough passwords, an encryption key, and a drop of blood collected from 90-year old virgin goat on top of Mount Kilimanjaro at full moon, real tough to access, even when you get hacked, it’s going to be useless for the hackers).
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post #149 of 220
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by KYKYLLIKA View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Xeb View Post

I don't think you understand here.

I get SED drives. Personally, I live them but it is WD's implementation that I have a problem with. If you take a drive and plug it into a computer, you should just be able to read the data if is unencrypted right? Well, depending on the drive from WD that may not be the case.

Lets take the WD 2.5 and 3.5 series here. The Passport and Elements series for specifics.


Lets say the hard drive inside the Elements (3.5") has failed or that the electronics in the enclosure itself have failed. What would any normal, rashional person do? Take the drive out and just plug it into a computer or another enclosure right? Well, WD prevents this. Their drives encrypt them not through the drive but through the enclosure. Why would you do this if the drive itself can be accessed without any password through the enclosure? Makes absolutely no sense. Maybe this is how WD makes the drives ready to go for encryption and a simple password is needed? Who knows but it makes my life difficult sometimes.

The same goes for the WD 2.5" drives. The PCB itself has a USB controller on it wired directly into the SATA traces of the MCU. If you swap out the PCB to a compatible SATA one you would expect to just be able to read the data? WRONG. Drive is encrypted as well and you cannot do this. Even if the drive does not have a password. Everything written to the drive is encrypted when through the USB controller.


Not that this is a bad thing I just think it is poor implementation. They have been doing this crap for years.

I think about it differently:

A self-encrypted drive is supposed to be this pinnacle of secure storage type thing… so if you plug it into another computer, all you get is a load of gibberish, such that you don’t even know partitioning, file system or boot sector (yes, those do not really contain data, but you can infer at least some information about the nature of the drive’s usage from that). It’s supposed to be a completely black box for anyone who does not have the decryption key. Now, if you decide to bake the encryption into the enclosure somehow, then losing the enclosure means losing the data. Attach it to the drive controller, and losing the controller loses the data. OS, fingerprint, retina scan, any identification technique you use, the entire point of encryption is that it’s supposed to be super easy to irrecoverably lose the data and possible to get the data only for the approved identity. Security = inconvenience (no password, easy access, everyone has your data; one password, stuff to remember, get hacked in 10 seconds; tough password, tough to remember, get hacked through 0-day security holes; five super-tough passwords, an encryption key, and a drop of blood collected from 90-year old virgin goat on top of Mount Kilimanjaro at full moon, real tough to access, even when you get hacked, it’s going to be useless for the hackers).

You do have a point. My issue is that the drives encrypt no matter what but just have no password. Why not just have encryption off till the customer or whoever decides to use it? Before the advent of many of the tools I use doing recoveries on these drives was very difficult and sometimes even nigh impossible. I understand the point of encryption but the recovery process from these things is a real pain sometimes.
 
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post #150 of 220
Of course, if one has their data properly backed up, then it won't matter if data can't be recovered from an SED that has gone bad.

It's still boggles my mind (or what passes for one) that people just can't understand that making and maintaining backups is so much more cost effective (and effective, period) than attempting to recover data after a drive failure (which is iffy at best). If people would just realize when they budget for data drives, they also need to budget for backup drives or some other reliable form of backup, people like Xeb would be out of work. But, due to ignorance (it's also amazing how many people still think RAID is a backup) or people just flat being cheap, Xeb doesn't have to worry about job security.
     
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Overclock.net › Forums › Components › Hard Drives & Storage › Xeb's Misadventures as a Data Recovery Engineer - Updated 4/11/2017