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joboy 05-18-2013 10:00 PM

Hardware encrypted USB flash Drives
Hi there,

Does anyone have experience with those h/w encrypted USB flash Drives ? I played with 3 such things lately, namely Kingston Data locker, Transcend Jetflash and the Imation, I have mixed experience with them and Kingston seems to be the only working solution for me, at low cost.

In short, I find the Kingston is extremely strong in the build quality, but extremely slow in the r/w speed, much slower than the advertised 10 and 5MB/S respectively, not suitable for portable apps and boot.

The Jetflash also great in the build quality, r/w speed is acceptable, special is that user can assign 2 partitions public and private, and I successfully installed portable Linux boot on the public partition, and windows files on the private partition with password protection. For unknown reason the private partition suddenly disappeared when I copying files to it, I can't reformat the drive the partition just gone, I don't see it on Windows and Gparted it just vanished !! I can't even start the encrytion app, it said the config file corrupted, how could it be the files are supposed to be hard coded, but I see the autorun.inf corrupted not usable, nor can I delete it.

The Imation is very strange to use, once I created the password, I don't need password again next time I plug it into the same PC before reboot, it works just like a unprotected flash drive !

Anyone can share the experience with such drives, and what is your recommandation for the low cost alternatives ?

Pearlseattle 05-20-2013 05:17 PM

I remember reading one or two articles on german magazines about some HW-encripted USB flash drives.
Unluckily I don't have those magazines anymore so I cannot tell you which ones were good and which ones bad, but I remember clearly that just 1 or 2 out of the 10 that they tested really managed to keep your informations safe (at least for a while). Most of them failed already with a SW-hack, some others after slicing the surface of the chips and analyzing their internals.
I would therefore personally recommend you to decouple the whole thing and to rely purely an a SW-encryption solution using a known and very reliable underlying HW-medium (probably Sandisk or whatever you positively experienced in the past?).

jefro 05-20-2013 10:07 PM

"the low cost alternatives "

Pretty sure you can use many of the modern linux by default or add in third party app to use some form of software encryption. Some filesystems offer on the fly encryption also.

WHITE_POWER 06-01-2013 02:24 PM

to joboy

You can make your own encrypted usb stick or sdcard using TrueCrypt for windows or cryptsetup if using linux.

Timothy Miller 06-01-2013 02:34 PM

I've used the Kingston ones, we are all given them at work for when we need to transer files off someone's laptop that they allowed to fall off the domain. They work just fine for what we use them for, but I've never tried to use any with linux, nor have I ever tried to run anything from them. I personally would never pay the premium to have the hardware encryption myself, I'd rather just use software encryption.

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