Benjamin Juang (ibneko) wrote,
Benjamin Juang
ibneko

HDD Password / ATA Passwords

despiojarse12 mentioned that not only was his computer locked with a BIOS password, but also a HDD Password. Not really haven't heard of hard drive passwords, I went hunting, and here are the results~

(Although, before that, here's stuff on BIOS Password resetting:
http://www.tech-faq.com/reset-bios-password.shtml
http://www.elfqrin.com/docs/biospw.html)

http://www.forensicfocus.com/index.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=15&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0
http://ask.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=03/12/09/2054235
http://www.rockbox.org/lock.html
https://forum.hackinthebox.org/viewtopic.php?p=83468

Technical background:
The ATA Password is part of the ATA-3 specs, designed, and usually enabled on laptops to prevent drive use once the drive is stolen. There are two passwords, one master, one user. Passwords are _not_ stored in the BIOS, so resetting the BIOS will not help you. May do more harm than help? I don't know. The passwords are stored in the drive firmware and failure to enter the password will result in all reads and writes being denied. There is also usually a certain amount of time you can try the password before the drive will lock up, and refuse further attempts until it is powercycled (eh, turned off, then turned back on.)

Information found:
--> May be possible to stick the ATA drive in an IDE USB enclosure. That _may_ bypass the password requirement? One reported success...
--> May be possible, but less likely, to swap the controllers...would require a similar disk drive though.
--> A clean room recovery by moving the actual disk platters to another drive may work.
--> Recovery is possible with professional services, although costly.
--> There are recovery tools online, for a fee. Usually, they're remote services (You install a program, program calls home, and stuff is repaired from there)
--> There are some programs out there to alter settings. Names I've seen include:
-----ATA Password Tool 1.1 (Included in the Ultimate Boot CD: PC repair boot CD)
-----atapwd
--> Formatting the drive may not do you any good; the passwords are apparently stored in firmware, and not on the actual drive...?
--> There's some tool by some company in the UK that'll do something about the password. Vogon was the company name, I believe.
Tags: hacking, information, technical
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