Kaspersky Security Concerns

The U.S. government has moved to control the use of Russian created security applications amid concerns of state-sponsored cyber espionage activities.

Department  of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Elaine Duke has ordered that civilian agencies identify and remove Kaspersky Lab software on their networks.

The directive comes months after the federal General Services Administration, the agency in charge of government purchasing, removed Kaspersky from its list of approved vendors. In doing so, the GSA has  indicated that it considers there maybe a vulnerability that could potentially offer unsolicited access to the systems the company protects.

The DHS  has notified Kaspersky  that it must prove its products are not a security risk or to mitigate the concerns.

“ If  Kaspersky want to provide additional information or mitigation strategies, our door is open.” said Christopher Krebs, a senior DHS official in the National Protection and Programs Directorate.

Kaspersky  reponse came in a statement  made on Wednesday that “it does not have inappropriate ties with any government, which is why no credible evidence has been presented publicly by anyone or any organization to back up the false allegations made against the company. The Russian law requiring assistance does not apply to the company. Kaspersky Lab has never helped, nor will help, any government in the world with its cyber espionage or offensive cyber efforts, and it’s disconcerting that a private company can be considered guilty until proven innocent, due to geopolitical issues,”

Kaspersky comments  “The company looks forward to working with DHS, as Kaspersky Lab ardently believes a deeper examination of the company will substantiate that these allegations are without merit.”

 

Latest On Toshiba Hard Drive Manufacture.

Toshiba + Western Digital are jointly the second largest NAND flash memory producer, however Toshiba by happenstance now appears destined to dispose of its interests. Parties indicating that they may get involved in an acquisition include Broadcom, Foxcom, Google and Apple; the Japanese government has also indicated that it may get involved in such matters in order  to prevent Toshiba’s NAND flash expertise and fab capacity falling into foreign hands.

Recent reports indicate that both Apple and Google are both showing serious interest in having a stake in Toshiba’s NAND flash business. With branded memory hungry smart phones, tablets and other mobile consumer products these companies see having a stake in NAND fabrication a strategic market advantage that will obviate dependence on third party suppliers such as Samsung.

The pending sale of its flash memory division begs the question “will Toshiba also want to sell it’s HDD business?” as selling its HDD unit along with the flash unit would appear to be a logical outcome, in which case Western Digital would be the obvious favored suitor.

The outcome of the Toshiba flash memory sale will be extremely important for the future of the electronics industry, particularly in respect of who retains the manufacturing and development rights to such a strategically placed asset .

Datlabs Data Recovery Services from faulty Toshiba Hard Drives.

 

A light hearted look at how things have changed in comparison
to other earth shattering events such as the UK petrol price.

Datlabs your data recovery solutions provider working harder for less
and keeping customers happier than ever.

 

THEN (2004)NOW (2016)
Desk Top HDD  160 GBytesDesk Top HDD  8 TBytes
Seagate 160 GBytes= £120Seagate 8 TBytes= £300
Mobile Phone 1 MbytesMobile Phone 64 GBytes
Smart Phones Shipped= 0MSmart Phones Shipped =350 M
Petrol =80p/LitrePetrol =114p/Litre
Av Data Recovery =£750Av Data Recovery=£395

Mobile Phone Fault Conditions.

Battery / Charging Faults.

Mobile phone battery or charging faults will usually occur with the following symptoms:

  • The battery will not charge.
  • The battery only stays charged for a short while.

Charging Faults.

Mobile phone charging faults will usually occur with the following symptoms:

  • You are unable to charge the phone.
  • The phone charges for a short period of time only.
  • The charger will not fit correctly into the charging block.
  • The phone shows a full charge but the charge lasts only a short time.

 

Check Out:

  • Inspect the charge connection, check for dirt and crud that  prevent a clean connexion.
  • Perform a soft reset a restart may correct the problem.
  • Try an alternative cable
  • Replace the battery.
  • kill battery hungry apps and facilities that drain  the battery.

 

Phone stuck in a boot loop.

Recent failed update means phone is stuck at the logo.

Check Out:

  • Interruption part way though the update.
  • phone unplugged and loses power
  • battery fail during process.
  • non trusted apps /virus

Factory Format.

Pics, Texts, Contacts etc no longer appear

Check Out:

  • Factory resets will revert to original settings and O/S  and in some cases will overwrite storage.
  • Specialist equipment may be used to recover non indexed data. 

 

Water Damage.

Mobile phone water damage faults will usually occur with the following symptoms:

Check Out:

  • If your mobile phone has been exposed to water, remove the battery and DO NOT switch it on as this could cause irreversable damage to the phone.
  • A water damaged phone does not have any specific symptoms because it could cause any of the effects listed on this page.

Software or Firmware Faults.

Mobile phone software/firmware faults will usually occur with the following symptoms.

Check Out:

  • The phone switches itself off intermittently.
  • The phone halts/freezes.
  • Certain phone menus/features are no longer accessible.
  • The screen flickers on and off.

General Stuff:

Microphone Faults.

Mobile phone microphone faults will usually occur with the following symptoms:

Check Out:

  • The caller cannot hear you.
  • Your voice is distorted to the caller.
  • The caller can hear you on some occasions but not all the time.

Speaker / Sound Faults.

Mobile phone speaker faults will usually occur with the following symptoms:

Check Out:

  • You cannot hear ringtones and/or music.
  • Ringtones and/or music is distorted or difficult to understand.
  • Ringtones and/or music is too quiet.

Earpiece / Hearing Faults.

Mobile phone earpiece faults will usually occur with the following symptoms:

Check Out:

  • You cannot hear the caller.
  • The callers voice is distorted or difficult to understand.
  • The callers voice is too quiet.

 

Above faults mean you cannot access important pics, files, txts , contacts etc.,   Need to know more ? Datlabs Data Recovery and Repair Services from Mobile Phones.

Hard Disk Drives and SSD Compared.

SSD’s and hard disk drives use different technologies to achieve the same ends i.e. they store your computer operating system, applications and/or files.

Correctly provisioned SSD’s operate noticeably faster than an equivalent hard disk drive. A PC with a SSD as primary will boot in just a few seconds whereas a PC with a hard disk drive may take 20 or so seconds at best to boot up. A hard disk drive requires a discernible length of time to initialize, establish optimum operating conditions, read, verify and load data applications into electronic memory and will be slower in operation than an SSD in all conditions.

Hard Disk Drives operate more efficiently with larger files that are recorded in contiguous blocks however when the recording media is approaching capacity or exhibits bad sectors large files can become scattered around the disk platter, causing the drive to suffer from what’s called fragmentation. While read/write algorithms have improved to the point that the effect is minimized, hard drives can still become fragmented. SSD’s however can move data directly into store without complex procedures and are therefore inherently faster.

SSD’s have no moving parts and are therefore resilient to rough handling. In operation a hard disks read/write heads “fly” over the disk platter at a distance of a few nano-meters and are vulnerable to knocks that can disturb these precision settings that will render stored data inaccessible. If you are on the move or have a rugged working environment then a SSD is absolutely recommended.

Hard disk drives are assembled from relatively low cost components and as a consequence can be produced as budget priced products. SSD manufacture involves rare earth materials and are therefore inherently more expensive and involve more demanding manufacturing processes. SSD’s have to be the boot and application product of choice.

Hard disk drives rely on precision mechanical assembly and operation and as such there is a practical limit on product dimensions and interconnections.

SSD operation are noise free, efficient low power and ideal for mobile, computing on the move applications such as laptops, tablets and “phablets”.

In current market conditions hard disk drives win on price, capacity and durability. SSDs work best if speed, ruggedness, form factor, noise are considerations.

SSD flash operation is not sustainable over an extended usage life, each cell having a limited number of cycles before it will fail, however clever TRIM technology serves to dynamically manage the available capacity.  It is good practice to use S.M.A.R.T. in association with  SSD’s particularly when a drive is approaching its natural limitations and end of life.

So there’s the rub  so to speak in Shakesperean terms, hard disk drives retain their recorded media magnetic properties for time immemorial whereas SSD flash memory retention times are measurable and component failure can result in catastrophic data loss. Datlabs Data Recovery Services successfully recover data from both hard drive technology types.

Very Small Computer Chips.

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory say they have discovered a new way to make transistors below 20 nanometres in size.

With current materials technology smaller than 5nm in size results in a quantum mechanical phenomenon called tunnelling, whereby the gate barrier is no longer able to keep the electrons from migrating to the drain terminals. This means the transistor gate becomes saturated and unable to provide a switch functionality.

Berkley research reveals that Molybdenum disulphide – MoS2 – in which electrons are “heavier” can be controlled using ion shorter gates. MoS2 can be manufactured in sheets 0.65 nanometres thick with a lower dielectric constant resulting in gate lengths of 1 nanometre.”

The potential application of this technology will hopefully facilitate the continued scaling down in the physical chip size used in computing and communication devices.

Solid State Drive Limitations.

Latency in a Hard Disk Drive is measured in milliseconds, compared with nanoseconds for a typical  Solid State Drive (SSD). SSD’s do however have their limitations.

Solid State Drives are different.

“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” — Henry Ford

 

Solid-state drives don’t rely on moving parts or spinning disks. Instead, data is saved to arrays of floating gate transistors termed NAND flash. Unlike the transistor designs used in DRAM, which must be refreshed multiple times per second, NAND flash retains its charge state even when not powered up. This makes NAND flash a type of non-volatile memory. In a hard drive NAND flash is organized in a grid. The entire grid layout is referred to as a block, while the individual rows that make up the grid are called a page. Common page sizes are 2K, 4K, 8K, or 16K, with 128 to 256 pages per block. Block size therefore typically varies between 256KB and 4MB. One of the functional limitations of SSDs is that whilst they can read and write data very quickly, overwriting data is much slower. This is because SSDs read data at the page level (meaning from individual rows within the NAND memory grid) and can write at the page level, assuming that surrounding cells are empty, they can only erase data at the block level. This is because the act of erasing NAND flash requires a high amount of voltage.

Whilst you can theoretically erase NAND at the page level, the amount of voltage required stresses the individual cells around the cells that are being re-written. Erasing data at the block level helps mitigate this problem. The only way for an SSD to update an existing page is to copy the contents of the entire block into memory, erase the block, and then write the contents of the old block + the updated page. If the drive is full and there are no empty pages available, the SSD must first scan for blocks that are marked for deletion but that haven’t been deleted yet, erase them, and then write the data to the now-erased page. This is why SSDs can become slower as they age — a mostly-empty drive is full of blocks that can be written immediately, a mostly-full drive is more likely to be forced through the entire program/erase sequence.

 

You can find out about  Datlabs data recovery capability from SSD’s.

mSATA SSD types.

SSDs can now be found in many PCs with a variety of connector and interface types.

PCI-Express SSDs.

The PCI-Express connector is exclusively used in PCs. PCI-Express SSDs are attractive because they break the boundaries of SATA III’s ~550MB/s: with the ROG RAIDR Express topping 780MB/s, for example. As long as you have 2 or more  free PCI-Express slot in your PC, a PCI-Express SSD will fit and work.

mSATA SSDs.

The mSATA (mini-SATA) interface appeared briefly for a generation of motherboards. mSATA SSDs follow the SATA specification, offering a maximum performance of 6Gbit/s and look much like mini-PCI-Express devices, but the two connectors are not inter-compatible. mSATA has been phased out and replaced with the improved M2.

SATA Express.

SATA Express is designed for PCs and operates at up to 10Gbit/s. The new wider connectors can be found around the existing SATA ports on motherboards and requires new cables.

M2 Connector (NGFF).

Briefly known as NGFF (next generation form factor ) M.2 is the current connector standard for mobile SSDs, although it has also been adopted by motherboards as well.

M2 connectors conditionally plug in both PCI-Express-based and SATA-based SSDs, but in general are  PCI-Express-based only.  Confirm compatibility between motherboard by referencing product specifications.

M2 SATA SSDs.

M.2 SATA SSDs perform up to SATA III speeds (6Gbit/s); the same as other SATA-based SSDs.

M2 PCI-Express SSDs.

M.2 PCI-Express uses the same PCI-Express protocol as SATA Express but drops the ‘SATA’ to avoid confusion. M.2 PCI-Express is set to be the interface of choice due to its small form factor and 10Gbit/s performance.

 

For more information visit  hard drive and data recovery technology. 

SSD Data Recovery and Explainer.

A SSD (Solid State Drive) contains only semiconductor and discrete electronic components. Compared with an equivalent capacity Hard Disk Drive, a SSD will be faster in operation, use less power and be more efficient. With no moving parts, SSD’s are less prone to malfunction due to mishandling. SSD’s come in a wide range of specifications, capacities, interfaces and form factors and are available from Samsung, Kingston, Sandisk and a range of other brands. Many SSD’s are manufactured in 2.5 inch form factor (laptop size).  To deploy a SSD in a  legacy desktop PC housing requires a bay adapter. Alternative form factors such as mSATA are now available for use in both laptop, notebook, PC and other devices. The popular capacity SSD,s and therefore least expensive,  are the 256 gb and 512 gb models.

SSD Components.

The key components of a SSD are the controller and the memory. These components contain what is called flash memory, a medium that can be electrically erased and reprogrammed. The two main types of flash memory are named after NAND and NOR logic gates and have similar characteristics. The performance of an SSD scales with the number of parallel chips used in the device. When multiple NAND devices operate in parallel the overall transaction load can be evenly distributed between devices. Most SSD manufacturers use non-volatile NAND flash memory which has the ability to retain data without a constant power supply.

SSD Controller.

The SSD controller system electronics provide a bridge between the host computer operating system and the memory area of the device.  The controller system electronics have embedded firmware functions:

  • Bad Block mapping
  • Read Write Caching.
  • Encryption.
  • Error Detection and Error correcting code.
  • Garbage Collection
  • TRIM
  • Wear Levelling.

Bad Block mapping, Read Write Caching, Encryption and Error Detection are self explanatory functions  however specific to SSD’s are :-

SSD Garbage Collection.

Unlike hard disk drives (HDDs), NAND flash memory cannot overwrite existing data they must first erase old data before writing new data to the same location. With SSDs, Garbage Collection (GC) is the name for the process of relocating existing data to new locations and allowing the surrounding invalid data to be erased. Flash memory is divided into blocks, which is further divided in pages. Data can be written directly into an empty page, but only whole blocks can be erased. Therefore, to reclaim the space taken up by invalid data, all the valid data from one block must be first copied and written into the empty pages of a new block. Only then can the invalid data in the original block be erased, making it ready for new valid data to be written.

SSD TRIM Command.

The TRIM command enables the OS to notify the SSD that old data is no longer valid about the time it deletes the logical block addresses from its logical table. The advantage of the TRIM command is that it enables the SSD’s GC to skip the invalid data rather than moving it, thus saving time not rewriting the invalid data. This results in a reduction of the number of erase cycles on the flash memory and enables higher performance during writes. The SSD doesn’t need to immediately delete or garbage collect these locations it just marks them as no longer valid.

SSD Wear Levelling.

Wear levelling is a technique for prolonging the service life of erasable computer storage media, such as flash memory used in solid-state drives (SSDs) and USB flash drives.There are two distinct kinds wear leveling, dynamic and static. Dynamic pools erased blocks and selects the block with the lowest erase count for the next write. Static wear leveling, selects the target block with the lowest overall erase count, erases the block if necessary, writes new data to the block, and ensures that blocks of static data are moved when their block erase count is below a certain threshold. This additional step of moving data can slow write performance due to overhead on the flash controller, but static wear leveling is considerably more effective than dynamic wear leveling for extending the lifespan of solid state devices.

SSD Interfaces.

Apart from associated connectors, interface functionality is incorporated into the controller and includes:

  • Serial attached SCSI
  • Serial ATA
  • PCI Express
  • Fibre Channel  – found on servers

SSD Data Recovery.

Solid State Drives pose new challenges for Data Recovery companies. The way of storing data on SSD’s is non-linear and much more complex than that of Hard Disk Drives. The control elements of an SSD vary between manufacturers, and the TRIM command zeroes the whole range of a deleted file. Wear Levelling also means that the physical address of the data and the address exposed to the operating system are different.

Typically the same file systems used on hard disk drives can also be used on solid state disks. It is usually expected for the file system to support the TRIM command which helps the SSD to recycle discarded data. There is no need for the file system to take care of wear levelling or other flash memory characteristics, as they are handled internally by the SSD.

A TRIM command in the ATA command set, (UNMAP in the SCSI command set) allows an operating system to inform a solid-state drive (SSD) which blocks of data are no longer considered in use and can be wiped internally. The TRIM command was introduced co-incident with SSD availability.

SSD Windows Basics.

Versions of Microsoft Windows prior to 7 do not take any special measures to support solid state drives. Starting from Windows 7, the standard NTFS file system provides TRIM support.  Windows 7 and later versions have native support for SSDs. The operating system detects the presence of an SSD and optimizes operation accordingly. For SSD devices Windows disables SuperFetch and Ready Boost, boot-time and application prefetching operations.  Windows 7 also includes support for the TRIM command to reduce garbage collection for data which the operating system has already determined is no longer valid. Without support for TRIM, the SSD would be unaware of this data being invalid and would unnecessarily continue to rewrite it during garbage collection causing further wear on the SSD. It is beneficial to make some changes that prevent SSDs from being treated more like HDDs, for example cancelling defragmentation, not filling them to more than about 75% of capacity, not storing frequently written-to files such as log and temporary files on them if a hard drive is available and enabling the TRIM process.

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