SSD Uses AI to Protect Your Data From Ransomware Attacks

Cigent Technology, Inc., a specialist in data security, has announced the company’s new lineup of Cigent Secure SSD+ drives. Unlike the company’s previous Secure SSD series, the Cigent Secure SSD+ debuts with a unique AI microprocessor that uses machine learning (ML) to stop ransomware attacks and prevent perpetrators from stealing or encrypting the data on the drive.

The Cigent Secure SSD+ focuses on a prevention-first approach, to impede ransomware attacks before they can do any damage. This means allocating the attack prevention inside the storage itself. The integrated AI microprocessor monitors the SSD’s activity with ML algorithms to fight ransomware attacks. In addition, consumers can tweak the detection sensitivity to their needs to avoid false positives.

Together with the company’s Cigent Data Defense software, the Secure SSD+ has a couple of protection mechanisms in place once it detects a potential attack. For example, the SSD can go into a “Shields Up” mode, requiring multi-factor authentication (MFA) from users to access protected files. In addition, the software can automatically contain the data on the drive to block any unauthorized access from malware or Windows processes. Alternatively, users can put the drive in read-only mode so attackers can’t modify, erase or encrypt the data for ransom.

Once an attack is detected, the Cigent Data Defense software gives security personnel a heads-up to activate “Shields Up” on other Cigent-protected systems on the network, even if they don’t house a Secure SSD+.

The Cigent Secure SSD+ logs all data access to the drive, so it’s nearly impossible for criminals to cover their tracks in an attempt to steal any data. Furthermore, the company has implemented safeguards to prevent bad actors from disabling security controls. Additionally, an embedded storage firmware hides the SSD’s data if the Cigent Data Defense software is disabled. Finally, a future update will reportedly prevent criminals from closing, wiping, or accessing the data if the drive is booted from a different operating system.

There are a few caveats with the Cigent Secure SSD+, though. First, consumers need to install the SSD as the primary drive with the operating system. In its current form, ransomware detection is only available on Windows, although Linux support should arrive soon. Finally, the ML algorithm, although mature, isn’t perfect. So some files may fall victim to ransomware before the protection kicks in.

The full Cigent Secure SSD+ specifications are unknown at this point. The manufacturer only confirmed that it’s an M.2 2280 drive with a double-sided design. Therefore, the SSD may not fit ultra-thin laptops. The Cigent Secure SSD+ will be available in May 2023, so we should have more information on the performance and pricing very soon.