IBM Microdrives encrypted by Trust Digital's PDASecure

A new encryption software allows users of IBM Corp.'s Microdrive hard drives to use the same drive in different mobile devices without having to reconfigure its security settings.

Trust Digital LLC announced that its PDASecure software is now available for the Microdrive, a one-inch (2.54 centimeters) wide hard drive that offers up to 1G byte of storage for mobile devices, the company said in a statement. PDASecure is a software product that can distinguish between differing encryption formats in mobile devices, and allow for that data to be transferred from device to device without losing the encryption protection or requiring the user to re-encrypt the data after transferring it, said Kevin Shahbazi, vice president of marketing for Trust Digital.

"Users don't want to go through complicated security procedures, so PDASecure allows security policies to be managed from a central location," said Shahbazi. The software can be used on any type of mobile device, including laptops, PDAs (personal digital assistants), digital camera, and others, he said.

The software is targeted towards large enterprise customers which use PDAs and must protect the data contained in those devices, such as government agencies and hospitals. For example, nurses at a hospital could have patient records uploaded to their Microdrive overnight, and then transferred via the Microdrive from a central PC to their PDA when they arrive in the morning, providing them with a detailed list of patient information for their daily rounds. U.S. federal regulations require that personal information stored by health-care providers be secured.

PDASecure can encrypt some or all of a user's files by converting the files into ciphertext, which is unreadable unless unlocked through a username and password, the company said. The encryption process was derived from a military-grade security algorithm developed by the company, Shahbazi said.

The software works on devices running Palmsource Inc.'s Palm OS, and Microsoft Corp.'s Pocket PC and Windows CE operating systems, said Shahbazi. A version for Research in Motion Ltd.'s Blackberry devices will be released by the end of the month, he said.

PDASecure is currently available worldwide. Large enterprises will pay US$79 for a single license and $999 for the server-side software package. Single users can buy the software to encrypt their personal Microdrives for $29.99, the company said.

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