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Dated: Jun. 13, 2013

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Hard Disk Drive
Product Reviews

Although storing data on some Cloud storage service is becoming more and more popular, the traditional method of saving files on a USB memory is still one of the most popular ways to transfer unlimited amounts of information from one computer to the other.

As the tendency for smaller USB devices grows, the situations where they become lost is not rare, and then a problem is created because whoever finds it gains access to all the information that is located in it. Tying your USB with a chain is certainly one solution, but we like the technological solution far more. It is a USB stick with hardware information protection. Although this is not the first device of this type in our hands, the  Crypto Drive FIPS 140-2 that comes to us from a not so well know company Integral Memory, sure has something to boast about. The black rubber lining is not there just for the design, it is there to make it water-proof. We are not sure that it would survive a wash in the washing machine, but we would that it would certainly survive a summer rainstorm. The manufacturer mentions that it has mechanical strengthening, so eventual drops and trampling also shouldn't present a problem for this device.Crypto Drive FIPS 140-2

The capacity of the model that we got for testing is 2 GB, which is relatively modest for todays terms, but it is possible to buy versions with the capacity of up to 32 GB, which will surely satisfy all needs for a safe transport of a larger amount of important information. The core of everything is the Total Lock application that comes with the stick, and it is characterized by a simple and clear interface. The first step is creating a password and after that you can access the device. Over all files there is a hardware 256-bit AES encryption, that offers more than enough protection from most intermediate and advanced users. Without the code you can't access files, and if you enter the password wrong six times, the drive will automatically "self-destruct" – it will be formatted and all data on it will be lost. This kind of protection eliminates "brute force" methods of cracking code, and in the same time enables reusing if the password is forgotten (but with a loss of information).

The software enables a lock as soon as you take it out of the USB slot, as well as when a screen-saver is activated or you lock your user account in Windows. Because of the lack of support for the USB 3.0 standard, but also because of the process of encryption/decryption, the Cryptodrive didn't achieve amazing speeds of data transferring (about 5 and 7 MB/s while inputting and reading), but we think that high performances aren't the most important thing about this device.

The thing that can pose a problem is that the support is exclusively for Windows systems, while for Mac OS you need to purchase the Crypto Mac versions or the versions Crypto Dual that works on both platforms. The price of the device in the moment of writing this text was not know, but it can be expected that it will be higher than the price of the average USB drive of the same capacity. But, as they say, peace of mind is priceless, so we believe that this can be applied in this case.

M.B.

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