Security flaw found in SSD technology

Carnegie Mellon University researchers have found an exploitable flaw in SSD technology.

The flaw makes solid state drives (SSDs) that use multi-cell level technology (MLC) open to attacks which reduce the lifespan of the drive and cause data corruption.

It is important to note that single-level cell (SLC) drives are not affected, only MLC drives, due to the manner in which they write data to their flash cells.


MLC SSDs write data to a buffer from a flash cell, as opposed to SLC SSDs, which write from the flash controller.

This process allows written data to be intercepted and corrupted as it is being written, which in turn causes corruption and can reduce the drives lifespan.

This problem can be rectified by SSD manufacturers if they write data directly from the flash controller, but this would increase latency and affect speed. One of the features MLC SSDs is the low latency feature.

The research does  not say anything about triple-level cell SSDs being affected, but according to ExtremeTech, they could also be vulnerable.

ExtremeTech also noted that 2D NAND below the 40nm process node is also affected, but 3D NAND devices using single-shot processing are not affected.

Source: MyBroadband

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