Start-Up’s Profile: High Density Devices

Specialized in encryption for storage devices
This is a Press Release edited by on 2009.11.06

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High Density Devices AS (HDD)


Head office in Kristiansand, Norway and offices in Oslo and Bergen

No. of Employees


Born in

18.5 MNOK in September 2009, further 9 MNOK to come in December 2009 (Total 27.5 MNOK is about US $$4.7 million.)
Largest shareholders are Incitia Ventures II AS (35%), and Tønnevold Venture & Invest AS, (26%)


  • Olav Stokke, CEO, formerly co-founder and CEO of NextGenTel, the second largest broadband and xDSL service provider in Norway
  • Bjørn Nilsen, production director, prior co-founder and CTO of the same company
  • Trond-Erik Bognø, previously sales director, co-founder and sales director of once more NextGenTel
  • Adnan Visic, CTO, prior to that software developer in the R&D department of Ericsson
  • Tormod Fjellgård, marketing director

In 2002, the company patented technology, SecureD (now hiddn), caught the attention of the US Department of Defense as it provided encryption strong enough for military purposes in a form factor that could be adopted for commercial applications. As a result, HDD and partners in Common Information Centric Security (CICS) project received $8.2 million over the next four years from the U.S. Defense Budget to validate the SecureD platform. This validation process was completed in late 2005 and HDD is now among very few commercially available technologies for encryption of data at rest validated at both FIPS 140-2 level 3 and Common Criteria EAL 4+. At the heart of the products is a proprietary VHDL encryption core which utilizes dedicated mechanisms to handle keys and encode data at true wire-line speed. The core encryption algorithms carry separate FIPS certificates, and the 256-bit strength AES cipher used can be regarded as a technology standard. hiddn eliminates the risk of data theft or misuse - even if the computer is lost or stolen. Furthermore, the military strength encryption is platform agnostic, transparent in operation, and works without the need for software or human intervention. hiddn is built on a simple and robust 'bump in
the wire' approach. By operating on the ATA protocol level, hiddn
encrypts all user data sent to the hard disk transparent of the
operating system and thus maintains platform independency. The company has also developed a proprietary 'Key Management System' to administer and manage encryption keys.

Encryption of external storage media (HDDs, USB keys)

Licensing or ASIC implementation in other manufacturers' products

Our Comments

Our opinion
We thing that encryption - as compression - chip will be progressively embedded in all internal and external storage devices. It's already he case for some of them. But a standard is needed, not only for encryption, but for key management, and it will be difficult for the small Norwegian firm to impose its own remarkable but proprietary technology.

Today, among them, there are:
  • TrueCrypt, an open source disk encryption software for Linux, Windows and Mac OS X
  • An open source standard for storage encryption established by Sun
  • The 'Opal Security Subsystem Class Specification for PC clients and the Enterprise Security Subsystem Class Specification' for data storage, released by The Trusted Computing Group (TCG) and adopted by about all HDD makers.
  • Two other standards, IEEE 1619 'Standard for Cryptographic Protection of Data on Block-Oriented Storage Devices' for disk drives and IEEE 1619.1 'Standard for Authenticated Encryption with Length Expansion for Storage Devices" for enterprise-class tape drives, adopted by The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.