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I have commented on this before at T13 meetings but it seems to
becoming more and more common all the time. If I were in the disk
drive business I think I would be concerned.

I get inquiries all the time from people that are "in the data
recovery or repair business", usually they are outside the USA,
asking about reading/writing the hidden data on a disk drive - the
drive's zone and defect tables and the drive's firmware.

It seems there are web sites that document how to "unlock" access to
this data on most disk drives. I hear there are full descriptions of
the zone and defect table layouts for most disk drives at these web
sites. And I hear that even disassembly listings of some drive's
firmware can be found.

If I were making disk drives I'm not sure I would want these people,
who may have good intentions, to be reading and writing this
information. But mostly I would not want some virus that destroyed
this data to pop up one day.

As I have said many times before, I don't understand why the commands
that would allow access to this drive data is even in a shipping
drive's firmware. 

Anyway, if you are a device manufacturer you may want to be concerned
about this issue before it becomes a big problem.


*** Hale Landis *** ***

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