The folks over at Brando are selling a 2.5-inch hard disk drive enclosure that promises you peace of mind by not working if a RFID-based physical key cannot be detected in the vicinity.
Excerpt from the Brando product Web site:
When RFID Encrypted hard disk is connected to other hard drive kits, the hard disk will be detected as a brand new hard disk which requires disk partition format. As all data in the hard disk will be deleted, you don’t have to worry about your confidential files to be read by others. If you want to leave your seat, simply apply RFID key within required distance to encrypt the HDD automatically. The HDD will be locked in three seconds!
Even though it’s touted as having “hardware-based encryption,” I am skeptical because the Web site offers no information at all on the actual encryption scheme used. Having read through its FAQ, I suspect what it does is fudge up the partition records of your hard disk during the setup procedure.
In the presence of the “paired” RFID key, the partition records are untangled; in its absence, your hard disk appears as a blank hard disk without any valid partitions. Having said that, the actual data remains on your hard disk and can probably be extracted with the right tools.
Against casual data loss, this just might work. Still, would you consider purchasing such a product?