Saturn Cipher Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is the largest 3.5" hard drive can be installed into the Saturn or Saturn Cipher Hard Drive enclosure?
A. There is no capacity limitation on the hard drive. You can partition and formt any hard drive as 1 large volume.

Q. Does the Saturn Hard Drive kit support SATA hard drive?
A. Yes. Saturn and Saturn Cipher drive kit come with choice of enclosures for IDE or SATA hard drive, Both drive enclosures share the same drive cradles, interface cables and power adapter.

Q. I started with a Saturn IDE drive kit with a drive cradle already installed in my desktop, can I use the accessories, USIB cables and drive cradle with the Saturn SATA or Saturn SATA enclosure?
A. Yes. All Saturn drive enclosures, whether it is IDE or SATA, with or without encryption, have the same mechanical dimension and USIB connector. Thus any Saturn drive enclosure can be ed into the same Saturn drive cradle or share the same USIB interface cable.

Q: What is "Saturn Cipher"?
A. Saturn Cipher is a family of Addonics Hard Drive enclosures that incorporate a real-time hard drive cryptographic bridge ASIC (Application Specific Integrated Circuit) to encrypt and decrypt the entire hard drive including boot sector, temp files, swap files and the operating system without degrading system overall performance. Inside the Saturn Cipher cryptographic engine are the DES (Data Encryption Standard) and TDES (Triple DES) standard algorithms certified by the NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) of the United States of America and CSE (Communications Security Establishment) of Government of Canada.

Q. How is Saturn Cipher differs from the regular Saturn hard drive kit?
A. The difference is in the additional encryption electronics inside the Saturn Cipher drive enclosure. Other than that, Saturn Cipher enclosure has the same mechanical design and connectors on the back of the enclosure as the regular Saturn enclosure. As a result, Saturn Cipher drive kit has the same flexibility of the Saturn hard drive kit and can share the same drive cradles and interface cables.

Q. If I already have Saturn drive cradle installed in a system, can I just purchase the Saturn Cipher enclosure for encrypting some of my hard drives?
A.Yes. The Saturn Cipher and the regular Saturn hard drive kit shares the same drive cradle. You can mix encrypted and regular hard drive in the same system. The encryption is with the Saturn Cipher enclosure. The convenience of the Saturn Cipher design is that it can be taken to anywhere you want and still access the data in your encrypted hard drive so long you have the Saturn Cipher key with you.

Q. How is Saturn Cipher differs from other hardware based hard drive encryption solutions out in the market?
A. All the hardware based encryption solutions in the current market have one or more of the following limitations:

Hard drive can only be encrypted or decrypted on the same computer

Hard drive is limited to a single interface connection

Limited to IDE hard drive. No solution for SATA hard drive at this time Saturn Cipher does not have any of these limitations. It is also one of the first hardware encryption solutions for both IDE and SATA hard drive. Saturn Cipher is by far the most flexible and yet extremely secure. Because we are offering this solution in the form of a a drive kit, you can encrypt whatever capacity hard drive you need and as many hard drives as you want.





Q: Is the Saturn Cipher certified?
A. Addonics hardware encryption is based on the eNova's XO DES/TDES Cryptographic engine that has been certified by NIST and CSE. These certificates are available on NIST web links: (http://csrc.nist.gov/cryptval/des/desval.html and http://csrc.nist.gov/cryptval/des/tripledesval.html).


Q: What's the security variety of "Saturn Cipher"?
A.Saturn Cipher is available with three different levels of encryption strength.
Saturn Cipher-64 - DES 64-bit encryption strength
Saturn Cipher-128 - TDES 128-bit encryption strength
Saturn Cipher-192 - TDES 192-bit encryption strength

Q: How can Saturn Cipher encrypt the entire disk without losing performance?
A. Saturn Cipher is specifically engineered for high speed communications with the disk drive. It's high throughput enables real-time communications with all the IDE or SATA hard drives. The operations of encryption and decryption are accomplished using high speed hardware circuit to ensure no performance loss. There isn't't any extra software device driver required. Thus memory and interrupt overheads are completely eliminated.


Q: Can Saturn Cipher work with all types of disk drives?
A. Saturn Cipher offer choices of two different type of enclosures. The Saturn Cipher SATA enclosure works on any 3.5" and 2.5" SATA or SATA II or SATA III hard drive. The Saturn Cipher IDE enclosure works on any Ultra ATA (Ultra DMA) 66/100/133 compliant 3.5", 2.5" and 1.8" disk drives. No support on SCSI hard drive at this time.



Q: Can Saturn Cipher work with all types of operating systems?
A. The Saturn Cipher cryptographic engine requires no device drivers and is compatible with all operating systems. However some OS may not offer support to certain interface. Below is a list of OS support using different interface connection:

IDE - DOS, all Windows OS, Linux, Solaris, Unix, Mac OS

SATA - DOS, Windows NT4, 98SE, Me, 2000, 2003, XP, Linux, Solaris, Mac OS

USB 2.0/1.1 - DOS, Windows 98SE, Me, 2000, 2003, XP, Linux kernel 2.4 and above, Solaris 9 and above, Mac OS 9 and above

Firewire - Windows 98SE, Me, 2000, 2003, XP, Mac OS9 and above

CardBus/PCMCIA - DOS, Windows NT4, 98SE, Me, 2000, 2003, XP,



Q: What are the advantage of Saturn Cipher hardware encryption comparing to Software encryption?
A. Addonics Saturn Cipher enclosure kit, a hardware encryption solution for the hard drive, is by far the most secure and simplest to deploy, particularly for large organizations. Below are some of key benefits of Addonics hardware encryption products:

High performance - Data is encrypted and decrypted on the fly by a certified cryptographic engine inside an ASIC without taking any CPU resources

Platform independency - There is no software or driver to install to use Addonics encryption products. As a result, it can be deployed in any systems running any OS. This is important in organization with multi platform computing and legacy systems.

Data portability - Addonics encryption storage device, designed with its USIB interface, can be used as an internal removable hard drive or an external hard drive with USB, SATA, Firewire or CardBus/PCMCIA interface. Unlike many software or hardware products that limit accessing the encrypted hard drive to certain specified computer system, Addonics encryption storage device can be accessed by practically any system while still maintaining high level of security.

No training required - There is no password to remember nor running any special program commands. The solution is truly plug and play. Encryption and decryption is all controlled by a physical key.

Low TCO (Total cost of ownership) - With hardware based encryption, there is no IT maintenance required, no software version to maintain nor any updates to keep track of.



Q: Are everything in the hard drive encrypted?
A. Saturn Cipher encrypts every thing on your disk drive without exception. It encrypts the entire volume of your disk drive such that if you have a 300GB hard drive, the entire 300GB will be encrypted including the boot sector and partition tables.

Q: Do I need to establish a separate "encrypted folder" under file directory as required by some software solutions?
A. No. Everything you write to the disk drive is automatically strongly encrypted. There is no need to establish a separate "encrypted folder."

Q. Can the Saturn Cipher encrypted data on an existing hard drive?
A. No. To ensure absolute security, the Saturn Cipher Enclosure is designed to encrypted everything in the hard drive. When a hard drive is installed into the Saturn Cipher enclosure the first time, the drive must go through an initialization process with the Saturn Secure Key. This process will reformat the hard drive by the Saturn Cipher Cryptographic Engine, thus all previous data stored on the hard drive will be erased. So if you have valuable data on an existing hard drive that need to be preserved, this data must be saved in a safe location and restored to the Saturn Cipher hard drive after it has been prepared with the Saturn Secure key.

Q: Do I need any training to use Saturn Cipher?
A. No. The good news is that you don't have to learn or manage anything. After ing the Saturn Cipher Secure Key, everything will function as before. There isn't't any GUI for you to learn and manage and you don't have to memorize your password.

Q: Will I expect a multi-step log on procedures & complex GUI (Graphical User's Interface) like other systems require?
A. No. the Saturn Cipher solution does NOT change user's regular computing behavior, nor does it require learning a complex GUI. It does not require you to memorize frequently used and cumbersome log on procedures. It is totally transparent to all users. You need only to present your Secure Key token every time before you attached the hard drive to any computer.

Q: How does Saturn Cipher compare with Smart Card and PCMCIA encryption products?
A. Saturn Cipher is dramatically faster than PCMCIA or Smart Card solutions, and encrypts the entire hard drive instead of just ed files. There is no possibility that any data or credentials can be left unprotected on the hard drive. Drive locking and boot sector encryption solutions do not encrypt the data, and thus it is vulnerable to attack.

Q. Can a Saturn Cipher encrypted hard drive be taken out of the drive enclosure and connect directly to IDE or SATA controller?
A. Yes. The hard drive will appear as a blank hard drive without any data to any Operating Systems. If new data is written onto the drive, all the encrypted data will be gone and the hard drive becomes an ordinary hard drive.

Q: Can I encrypt multiple hard drives via a single Saturn Cipher secure key?
A. Yes. You can encrypt multiple hard drives installed in different Saturn Cipher enclosures with the same Saturn Cipher secure key. You can also encrypt multiple hard drives using the same Saturn Cipher enclosure with one Saturn Cipher secure key.

Q: Does Saturn Cipher support 48-bit LBA addressing?
A. Yes. Saturn Cipher supports 48-bit addressing and support hard drive volume over 137GB per drive.

Q: What happens if my Secure Key is lost or stolen?
A. There are no "backdoors" into Saturn Cipher encrypted hard drive, so without the Secure Key you will not be able to access the data on the protected disk drive. This means you must keep the backup key in a safe place at all times.

Q: Can I order duplicate Secure Keys?
A. Yes. You can order duplicate Secure Keys directly from us. To have additional keys made, you must send in your backup key with your order for duplication. If you are down to the last key, be sure to make a back up of all the data stored inside your encrypted hard drive prior to sending the last key to Addonics. Addonics is not responsible for key lost in the mail or retrieval of the data inside the encrypted hard drive. For customers who are interested to manage and make their own keys, they can purchase the Addonics Cipher key duplicating system. The cost of the key duplicating system is $2000. Please contact an Addonics Sales representative for the purchase of the key duplicating system.

Q: Can I remove the Secure Key while my hard drive is connected?
A. Yes, you can safely remove the Secure Key for safekeeping after the hard drive is detected by system. Remember that the Secure Key MUST be used again the next time you reconnect the hard drive or restart your system.

Q: If the Saturn Cipher malfunctions, will I lose my data?
A. No. the the SCCE is a generic cryptographic engine and the Secure Key contains the DES/TDES cryptographic key. Consequently, you can simply replace the defective Saturn Cipher enclosure, if that ever occurs, and use your original Secure Key to access the data on your hard drive.

Q: Does Saturn Cipher increase the original file size after encryption?
A. No. DES/TDES is a complicated mathematical algorithm that computes the original data with 64/128/192-bit cryptographic key length. Regardless of the size of the key, the size of data file after encryption remains unchanged.

Q: Can I encrypted a hard drive already with data on it?
A. No. When a hard drive already has data on it is installed into the Saturn Cipher drive enclosure. The computer detects the hard drive as a brand new drive or a drive that is unallocated. Once you proceed to partition the drive, the data that was on the hard drive will be erased and cannot be recovered. So to retain your valuable data, it must be backed up first and then transferred to the encrypted hard drive.

The same holds true for the Saturn Cipher encrypted hard drive, It will look like a brand new drive when attach directly to the IDE or SATA controller of a computer. There will be no partition or any hint to indicate that the drive contains encrypted data. When the drive is partitioned, all the encrypted data
will be lost.

Q: How does Saturn Cipher encryption work?
A. Saturn Cipher Cryptographic Engine (SCCE) sits before your disk drive. It intercepts, interprets, translates, and relays commands & data to and from the disk drives, encrypting the data with DES/TDES 64/128/192-bit key strength. Before all data reach the disk drive, the SCCE encrypts it then saves to disk drive. When there is a read to the disk drive, the SCCE decrypts it before sending the data to the host. The operation of encryption and decryption is totally transparent to all users thus the SCCE is invisible to the entire system. The Saturn Cipher Secure Key Token contains the "Cryptographic Key" that is to be used by the the SCCE. At power up, the "Cryptographic Key" will be delivered to the SCCE register sets using a proprietary hardware protocol. If somehow the Cryptographic Key was incorrect or missing, the SCCE will not decrypt the hard drive thus the Saturn Cipher encrypted hard drive will only be detected by any Operating System and the entire content is secure. Attempts to surface scan the entire disk drive platters will only prove futile. As the SCCE is a generic engine and it relies on the "Cryptographic Key" to enable all functionalities, a malfunctioned SCCE can be easily replaced with the same model and the content of your disk drive can be safely retrieved as long as your original "Cryptographic Key" is intact.

Q: What is "DES/TDES"?
A. DES (Data Encryption Standard) was originally introduced by NSA (National Security Agency) and IBM and has since become a Federal data encryption standard as defined in FIPS 46-3 (Federal Information Processing Standard). DES works on 64-bit data segments with a 64-bit Cryptographic Key of which 8 bits provide parity, resulting in a 56-bit effective length. A variant on DES is TDES, in which the plain text is processed three times with two or three different DES Cryptographic Keys. With two Cryptographic Keys used, the result is an encryption equivalent to using a 112-bit (128-bit) Cryptographic Key. With three Cryptographic Keys, the result is an encryption equivalent to using a 168-bit (192-bit) Cryptographic Key. In practice with a 128-bit TDES, the plain text is encrypted with the first key, decrypted with the second key, and then encrypted again with the first key.
DES, TDES, and AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) are called Symmetric Ciphers, which means same Cryptographic Key is used for both encryption and decryption.

Q: How secure are DES and TDES?
A. Very secure as both algorithms are completely public, and have been surprisingly resistant to new cryptographic attacks over the last quarter century. Though software DES 56-bit key length is no longer proven against a massive computer attack, for most business applications DES remains adequate.

Q: How is key length related to security?
A. In the case of Symmetric Cipher (DES, TDES, and AES), a larger Cryptographic Key length creates a stronger cipher, which means an eavesper must spend more time and resources to find the Cryptographic Key. For instance, a DES 40-bit strength represents a key space of 1,099,511,627,776 (240, 2's power 40) possible combinations. While this number may seem impressive, it is definitely feasible for a microprocessor or a specially designed ASIC to perform the huge number of calculations necessary to derive the Cryptographic Key. Surprisingly an investment of only about US$10,000 investment in FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Arrays) will be able to recover a 40-bit key in 12 minutes. Further, a US$10,000,000 investment in ASIC will be able to recover a 40-bit key in 0.05 second. A government agency that can afford investing US$100,000,000 or more will be able to recover a 40-bit key in a whopping 0.002 second! Thus a 40-bit length cipher offers a bare minimum protection for your confidentiality and privacy. Fortunately the "work factor" increases exponentially as we increase the key length. For example, an increase of one bit in length doubles the key space, so 241 represents key space of 2,199,023,255,552 possible combinations. A 2112 bit (128-bit) TDES cipher offers extremely strong security (5,192,296,858,534,827,628,530,496,329,220,096 possible combinations) that should resist known attacks for the next 15 to 20 years, considering the advance of semiconductor design and manufacturing.

Q: Is Saturn Cipher-64 (DES 64-bit strength) not secure basing on the above analysis?
A. Not true. Above explained key finding process is specifically relating to decrypting software-based encryption. The innovative Saturn Cipher hardware based encryption solution increases the difficulties tremendously as every wrong guess of the Cryptographic Key requires a hardware reset (power off the hard drive or re-attach the hard drive). To break the Saturn Cipher encrypted hard drive, one must process at least 500 billion times (50% of the available key space) of hard drive power reset or re-attachment. As such, Saturn Cipher even with its DES 64-bit strength will be strong enough against massive computer attacks.

Q: How would I make sure the security offered by Saturn Cipher is solid?
A. The Saturn Cipher hardware DES/TDES cryptographic engine has been certified by the NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) and CSE (The Communications Security Establishment), for which the certificates can be reviewed on NIST web links: http://csrc.nist.gov/cryptval/des/desval.html & http://csrc.nist.gov/cryptval/des/tripledesval.html. These hardware algorithms are certified to provide reliable security together with innovative Saturn Cipher hardware design, it is practically impossible to access the encrypted data by guessing or deriving the right DES/TDES Key.

Q: Why do I need to use the Secure Key token?
A. The Secure Key token contains the DES/TDES "Cryptographic Key" that is used by Saturn Cipher to encrypt or decrypt data. Without the key, the protected disk drive cannot be detected and there is no access possible. Together the Secure Key token and Saturn Cipher Cryptographic Engine comprise an effective user authentication for access control and encryption for data protection. The Secure Key token serves as user authentication for access control while Saturn Cipher Cryptographic Engine encrypts and decrypts.