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AlertBoot offers a cloud-based data and mobile device security service for companies of any size who want a scalable and easy-to-deploy solution. Centrally managed through a web based console, AlertBoot offers mobile device management, mobile antivirus, remote wipe & lock, device auditing, USB drive and hard disk encryption managed services.

AlertBoot Endpoint Security

AlertBoot offers a cloud-based data and mobile device security service for companies of any size who want a scalable and easy-to-deploy solution. Centrally managed through a web based console, AlertBoot offers mobile device management, mobile antivirus, remote wipe & lock, device auditing, USB drive and hard disk encryption managed services.

Data Encryption Software: They're Using Salmon DNA To Store Data

Well, not yet.  But, according to gizmag.com, researchers in Taiwan and Germany have conducted studies that show a combination of salmon DNA, silver nanoparticles, and UV light could be used for storing information, creating a "write once, read many times" device, or WORM (usually known as ROM, read-only memory, to people who still stick to their classic acronym).  I can't even begin to think how data encryption like AlertBoot could be deployed on such technology, assuming it can be to begin with.

Smells Fishy and Will Break Down?  Not Quite.

The novelty of using salmon DNA has elicited a lot of comments, both humorous and serious.  For example, some comments over at slashdot.org, ranging from the technology sounding fishy; to questions on whether such a technology would mean the extinction of salmon; to

30 minutes is good in the lab, but in reality, we need WORM technologies to be readable for a lot longer than the stated 10^5 seconds. We need readability in decades or centuries for the underlying medium, and that is before we slap the ECC layer on top to deal with bad sectors/blocks and such.

What might complement this technology would be developing a way to cause the DNA to polymerize (similar to how organic tissue is preserved in "Bodies: The Exhibition"), so once it is written, it stays in that form for a far longer period of time.

Perusing the original paper on which all of these commentaries revolve, one quickly finds that

  1. There's no way the mere mortal will be able to make sense of it all.  You'll need a degree in biology and electrical engineering, at least.

  2. The DNA in question is Salmon sperm: "DNA from salmon testes purchased from Sigma-Aldrich (D1626) was fragmented by sonication to 1500‚ÄČkDa" (my emphasis).  I'm assuming that the authors didn't include a typo and actually meant "fish nuts."

  3. The DNA is just one of the materials used to create a biopolymer layer.

What's a biopolymer?  Essentially, it's a polymer that's not synthetic (usually based on petroleum).  For example, your average plastic is a synthetic polymer.  In contrast, cellulose and starch are biopolymers.  But, biopolymers need not be only found in natural forms.  Food trays, packaging peanuts, and wrapping films are also manufactured out of biopolymers.

So, non-humorous concerns about your next hard drive smelling funny, or your cat eating it are unwarranted.  The manufacturing process, of course, changes a material's properties.  I mean, when's the last time you ate soup from a plastic container with a plastic soup and said to yourself, "this tastes like BP went all Deepwater Horizon on it?"

How to Encrypt It?

If such materials actually make inroads into your computer...well, it won't be hard to use encryption software to protect any data stored in them.  After all, it's just another ROM device, no different from a CD or DVD (if you recall, these two devices are known as CD-ROMs and DVD-ROMs).

As a "write once" device, you would want to encrypt the data before saving to it.  Simple.

So why my negative outlook at the beginning of this post?  Like many others, I had only read the short description in gizmag.com, and was led to believe that there was some kind of wet, mushy material in the works.


Related Articles and Sites:
http://www.gizmag.com/salmon-dna-data-storage-device/21027/
http://apl.aip.org/resource/1/applab/v99/i25/p253301_s1?view=fulltext&bypassSSO=1
http://science.slashdot.org/story/12/01/09/2035245/salmon-dna-used-in-data-storage-device

 
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About sang_lee

Sang Lee is a Senior Account Manager and Security Analyst with AlertBoot, Inc., the leading provider of managed endpoint security services, based in Las Vegas, NV. Mr. Lee helps with the deployment and ongoing support of the AlertBoot disk encryption managed service. Prior to working at AlertBoot, Mr. Lee served in the South Korean Navy. He holds both a B.S. and an M.S. from Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, U.S.A.