LSI Discovers SandForce 256-Bit Encryption Limited To 128-Bit – Problem Resolved and Fix On The Way


As part of ongoing quality assurance, Intel Corporation has discovered a limitation of the AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) encryption feature in the Intel® SSD 520 Series, code-named Cherryville.  Intel has published a Specification Update for the Intel SSD 520 Series product, updating the specification from AES 256-bit encryption to AES 128-bit encryption.  Other Intel Solid-State Drives with data encryption, such as Intel SSD 320 Series, also feature AES 128-bit encryption.

The AES feature in the Intel SSD 520 Series, when used in combination with a strong user and master HDD password (if supported, consult your system manufacturer), helps secure the data from access by anyone that does not know the password. AES 128-bit refers to the length of the key used for data encryption. In the Intel SSD 520 Series, the key length is 128 bits. The higher the number of bits in a key, the stronger the level of encryption.  Intel believes AES 128-bit encryption meets the data encryption requirements of most customers.

Intel stands behind its products and is committed to product quality, and is working to bring full AES 256-bit encryption to future products. If, however, our customers are not satisfied with the 128-bit encryption in an Intel 520 Series SSD purchased before July 1, 2012, they can contact Intel customer support prior to October 1, 2012 to return their product and Intel is offering to provide a full refund of the purchase price. For further information or questions about this specification change, consumers should contact Intel Customer Support.


  1. That statement about ..monkeys!!! I loved it

  2. blank

    Looks like Intel is offering to exchange 520 128 AES drives for 256 when they come available or refund full purchase price! Doubt Ocz will do the same tho…

  3. blank

    OCZ statement so far (at least on their international board, nothing on the German one so far)

  4. blank

    The error or bug was found by Intel on there yearly audit, not LSI, Intel are giving returns, in there specifications they state both encryption states, and they sell a lot of these drives to companies who require good encryption, all I’ve seen so far from LSI is excuses.
    According to Sandforce, you need to set a password for the encryption to work anyway and they consider 95% of users don’t use it anyway and OCZ at some time or other have advertised the 256 bit encryption so the email is also a excuse.
    If both OCZ and Sandforce new about the limitation, they kept there mouths firmly closed. If they didn’t, fair enough. Sorry Les not sure I agree with you or LSI on this one.


    • blank

      I spoke with LSI in the initial interview and then subsequent to the Intel release and was told it was a LSI discovery. I might have thought if Intel had discovered it they would have ramrodded the initial release and not been held back until the LSI release. To this point, there is no discussion by anyone with Intel other than there release, whereas, I spoke with LSI at length about this under NDA.

      • blank

        No offense meant Les and I can understand why you would have that opinion, the fact that Sandforce drives didn’t have the advertised 256bit encryption didn’t worry me at all, even LSI statement, I found it rather amusing actually, ( I wish my x-wife gave me statements like that, I’d have known about the affair she was having behind my back ) I read this report when you first published it. What annoyed me was the link made by OCZ, I’m sure LSI discovered and notified OCZ who removed the 256bit encryption from there specs.

        Had OCZ not made that statement, I wouldn’t have given your report a second glance, it looks to me that both LSI and OCZ knew beforehand that the 256bit encryption didn’t work and they didn’t consider it important enough to at least notify Intel or the other manufacturers that it didn’t work.

        You are right, we are never going to know the true story and it is a storm in a teacup to most manufacturers, but obviously not in Intel’s case. But hey! who would you have to argue with if I wasn’t around. Best of luck Mate.

      • blank

        Never an argument with you Pommie and we go back a long way now. I appreciate you visiting and jumping in here when you have the opportunity and have to concede that it would be great to see your presence here.

  5. blank

    I wonder what, if anything, OWC offers. They make nothing but SandForce-based SSD’s.

    • blank

      256 Bit encryption has been proven to be less secure than 128 bit. Add to that the fact that, unlike other manufacturers, LSI SandForce has encryption engines on both sides of the data and the fact that very few even use 256 Bit. Most manufacturers have simply not jumped in to respond because this isn’t as bif of a story as most would like it to be.

      • blank

        It goes to show how much more Intel stands behind its products 100%, as compared to XXX, for example. They still list “256-bit chip-based encryption” on their site as of 6/24/12 @ 4:23pm PT.

      • blank

        I appreciate your response and have edited out the specific manufacturer as your point led me to check others to which I found the same. Interesting…

        Apologies if it offends in any way but I believe the point is best served without ‘targeting’ if I might mention it in that way. Tx!

  6. blank

    So if I buy a SSD with a SandForce SF-2281 controller with no intentions of using encryption, is there anything I need to be concerned about in regards to this?

  7. blank

    I heard lot about; that OCZ also comes with encryption
    model I tried to search on the Internet as well but can’t find anything strong related
    to it. Do you know anything about it ?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *