Ultra Slim Drives – A New Challenge For Computer Forensics

Seagate ultra slim drive is the newest generation of portable hard drives. Its very thin design, at just 9.6mm, a relatively large storage area, going up to 2TB, and a fast data transfer maximum of 120MB/s make it one of the most popular portable drives today.

Alongside the new Seagate drive is also the Western Digital ultra slim drive. This is an even thinner drive, with 5mm thickness it lives up to the name ultra slim.

These drives can have a storage up to 2TB, the same as Seagate, its RPM is 5400, which is very high considering the size of the drive, and it can operate in the temperature interval of 0° C to 60° C.However, the motivation to put all of the usual components of a hard drive in such a small place created certain problems for forensic and data recovery experts.

The shortage of free space and miniature dimensions make it hard to operate inside of the drive. This lead to the inability of performing a standard head removal procedure, which was a huge problem.

HDD Surgery team studied the new Seagate ultra slim and WD slim design and came up with a solution in form of the Sea 2.5'' slim set and a WD 2.5'' Slim set. The sets were perfected and released in the end of May, 2017.


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They contain two pairs of tools, for single plate drives and for drives with 2 plates. Tools are designed to fit into the small space of the drive and lift and secure the heads so they could be removed, studied or replaced.

Since their release, the Sea 2.5'' Slim set and WD 2.5'' Slim set grew in popularity immensely.

Both forensic experts and data recovery professionals find that the elegant and easy-to use tools are the perfect solution for the difficulties that the new ultra slim drives bring.

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Alan Platt, Professional Services Consultant at MSAB, discusses his experience as a former UK police officer working in digital forensics. He talks about the different levels of digital forensics capabilities within police forces and how MSAB products like XAMN and XEC Director are used by frontline officers versus lab analysts. 

The discussion covers how MSAB partners with law enforcement to develop custom workflows for mobile device acquisitions that facilitate ISO compliance. Alan explains MSAB's managed service offering, where approved MSAB staff can remotely access a customer's XEC Director server to assist with software updates and troubleshooting. He emphasizes the strict data segregation policies enforced by customers to prevent MSAB from accessing any sensitive case data.

Looking ahead, Alan mentions MSAB's new CEO and hints at some exciting developments coming down the pipeline. He spotlights recent enhancements to XEC Director's speed and database functionality for managing large estates of networked Kiosks. Alan also plugs the new XEC Director training he created to help users fully leverage the platform's capabilities.

00:00 – Introduction to Alan Platt
07:00 – Training
12:00 – Workflows
17:20 – Ensuring a secure environment
19:45 – Customer training
20:35 – Helping customers comply with ISO accreditation
25:00 – Validation and verification
27:30 – ISO standards
30:00 – MSAB’s pipeline plans
32:40 – XEC Director 
43:45 – Privacy of user data

Alan Platt, Professional Services Consultant at MSAB, discusses his experience as a former UK police officer working in digital forensics. He talks about the different levels of digital forensics capabilities within police forces and how MSAB products like XAMN and XEC Director are used by frontline officers versus lab analysts.

The discussion covers how MSAB partners with law enforcement to develop custom workflows for mobile device acquisitions that facilitate ISO compliance. Alan explains MSAB's managed service offering, where approved MSAB staff can remotely access a customer's XEC Director server to assist with software updates and troubleshooting. He emphasizes the strict data segregation policies enforced by customers to prevent MSAB from accessing any sensitive case data.

Looking ahead, Alan mentions MSAB's new CEO and hints at some exciting developments coming down the pipeline. He spotlights recent enhancements to XEC Director's speed and database functionality for managing large estates of networked Kiosks. Alan also plugs the new XEC Director training he created to help users fully leverage the platform's capabilities.

00:00 – Introduction to Alan Platt
07:00 – Training
12:00 – Workflows
17:20 – Ensuring a secure environment
19:45 – Customer training
20:35 – Helping customers comply with ISO accreditation
25:00 – Validation and verification
27:30 – ISO standards
30:00 – MSAB’s pipeline plans
32:40 – XEC Director
43:45 – Privacy of user data

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