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
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