Paper - Hiding Data in Hard-drive Service Areas

From: Ariel Berkman <>
To:,Full Disclosure <>
Subject: Paper - Hiding Data in Hard-drive Service Areas


We've recently released a paper discussing the ability to hide data in
hard-drive service areas.
The paper is available for download at:

The introduction section is pasted below:

In this paper we will demonstrate how spinning hard-drives\u2019 service areas
can be used to hide data from the operating-system (or any software using the
standard OS\u2019s API or the standard ATA commands to access the hard-drive).
These reserved areas are used by hard-drive vendors to store modules that in
turn operate the drive, and in a sense, together with the ROM, serve as the
hard-drive\u2019s internal storage and OS. By sending Vendor Specific Commands
(VSCs) directly to the hard-drive, one can manipulate these areas to read
and write data that are otherwise inaccessible. This should not be confused
with DCO or HPA which can be easily detected, removed and accessed via
standard ATA commands.

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