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Security

Hard drives

Part of a Group Review

IronKey S200 flash encryption drive

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The IronKey is a mature 256-bit AES encrypted flash drive design that comes in three versions, Basic, Personal and Enterprise. There is also a fourth version that is handed out by a number of online banks for secure browser access to accounts.

All versions feature the same basic tamper and water-proof steel case which gives the S200 the look of an extremely hard-wearing drive that happens to be FIPS 140-2 Level 3 certified if that matters. To minimise the possibility of malware-infected files getting on to the drive, it comes with a basic McAfee antivirus utility for checking the PC into which the drive is being plugged before files are moved.

Plugging the S200 in launches a control panel screen that offers a range of features. On the Personal and Enterprise versions, the drive comes with a version of the Firefox browser which can be used to launch secure (i.e. encrypted and using secure DNS) sessions, plus an identity management app for securely storing passwords and web logins. The encrypted contents of a drive can be backed up and restored from this interface too, as they can to an online web portal that can also be used to reset the drive’s passphrase.

The Enterprise version is basically the same drive with longer-life flash memory (more write cycles) and a layer of policy enforcement and activity tracking. Lost units can be remotely reset.

Be warned: with all versions, exceeding a defined number of consecutive incorrect password attempts and the drive permanently self destructs. This is not merely data destruction – the drive itself becomes useless.

Users needing a rugged drive for securing valuable files up to 16GB in capacity will probably be prepared to pay the premium for this excellent piece of kit. Consumers worried about online banking fraud might also want to give the secure browser a look. Expensive but highly recommended.

Basic versions cost from around £50 and up.



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