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Security '01 Abstract

Data Remanence in Semiconductor Devices

Peter Gutmann, IBM T.J.Watson Research Center


A paper published in 1996 examined the problems involved in truly deleting data from magnetic storage media and also made a mention of the fact that similar problems affect data held in semiconductor memory.  This work extends the brief coverage of this area given in the earlier paper by providing the technical background information necessary to understand remanence issues in semiconductor devices.  Data remanence problems affect not only obvious areas such as RAM and non-volatile memory cells but can also occur in other areas of the device through hot-carrier effects (which change the characteristics of the semiconductors in the device), electromigration (which physically alter the device itself), and various other effects which are examined alongside the more obvious memory-cell remanence problems.  The paper concludes with some design and device usage guidelines which can be useful in reducing remanence effects.

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Last changed: 30 Apr 2002 ml
Technical Program
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