As an added security measure, data encryption is becoming more and more common. Encrypting data is an effective way to enhance security, and serves as an additional layer of protection to ensure privacy. Our team of engineers has worked tirelessly to become familiar with every type of encryption.
Encrypted hard drives can fail or suffer from file system errors, and it makes the task of recovering the data much more difficult. If a technician were to just examine a hard drive that has been encrypted, without having the keys or passwords needed to decrypt the drive, then there is absolutely no way for the data to be accessible.
Recovering Data From Encrypted Drives
We generally follow the same steps for recovering data from encrypted hard drives as we do with any other type of media. We first complete a thorough evaluation, at no charge to you. We determine what, if any, physical problems there may be with the drive, and then we plan a course of action.
Once the evaluation is completed we will update you with a final price for the recovery. This price is all inclusive and is set in stone. It is guaranteed not to go up no matter what. The price will include media for the recovered data and return shipping. Once we get your authorization, we will move forward with the attempt.
During the recovery attempt we will make whatever repairs are needed to the drive first so we can at least get it functional enough to image. Imaging the hard drive is the first step of the actual recovery process. We never work from the source drive when recovering data. Instead, we put the source drive in a write-protected mode and clone it sector-by-sector to another drive. We then perform any and all recovery procedures from this cloned copy of your media.
Keys and Passwords For Encrypted Storage Devices
It’s at this point you will want to make sure we have any keys or passwords needed to decrypt the data. For encrypted data to be verified as recoverable, we will need to have encryption keys, passwords, etc. If this information is not available at all, you’ll need to refer to your encryption software provider to find out other available options for obtaining your lost data.
In some instances due to legal or company requirements, you may not be able to provide us the keys and/or passwords needed to decrypt your data. In these cases we will simply clone the source drive to a new drive and send back the cloned copy. You can then install and utilize the encryption software to access the data. Since we will have no way of verifying the data prior to shipping, in these cases, the recovery is considered successfully completed once the source drive is cloned.
When Are Encrypted Drives Not Recoverable?
Just like any other media, there are times when an encrypted hard drive cannot be recovered. If the platters are severely scored, then the data will most likely not be recoverable. We won’t know how severe the platter damage is until we look at the drive and are able to analyze the condition of the platters.
If the data is severely corrupted, or if a partial decryption was run on the media then it may not be possible to recover the data. This is not always the case, but it is a significant hurdle that must be overcome to get the data recovered.
If you have absolutely no encryption key, no passwords, etc. then unless you work with the NSA, the data won’t be recoverable. Even the most advanced data recovery company won’t be able to manually decrypt media without the encryption keys. This is why encryption is used by the military and government agencies. If it was possible to crack and decrypt with relative ease, then it would be useless.
If you have questions about your particular case, we would be happy to discuss it with you further. Feel free to call 1-800-717-8974.