USB flash drives are great, but they’re a little insecure, aren’t they? I mean, you copy all of your data onto a little drive that’s not much bigger than your pinky finger, and if anyone ‘finds’ it laying around somewhere, they can instantly access all the important and personal stuff you put on it.
Kingston Technology have come up with a great solution to this problem… Encrypted flash drives.
Yes, you read that right: flash drives which automatically encrypt your data so no one else can read it without your special password!
The DataTraveler Locker+ G2 is one such device that we’ve been testing over the past few weeks.
Flash drives have been talked about and tested a million times by every geek and his dog, so I’m not going to go into everything, but here’s the important stuff you need to know:
Setup is very easy. The first time you plug the drive into your computer, it will ask you if you want to run the installed DataLocker software. YOU NEED TO DO THIS. This software is what controls the encryption/decryption and without using it, the drive will act just like any other drive.
Simply follow the prompts to create a password (and make sure it’s a difficult one for a thief to guess).
A new drive will then be created in your drive list called something like DTLplus – this is the secure drive, anything you put on it will be encrypted.
Every time you put the drive into your computer, you need to run the DTLocker software to enable you to enter the password, otherwise you won’t even be able to see the encrypted portion of the drive, let alone read or write to it.
Once you have entered the correct password, the DTLplus drive will appear and everything you write to and read from it will be encrypted/decrypted.
The drive comes in 8Gb, 16Gb and 32Gb versions, so you can fit a LOT of data on them – If you have that much data that needs to be protected!
Security is a BIG plus… I love the fact that if I somehow misplace the drive, my files can’t be read by someone else.
The size is great, it’s no bigger than my thumb, yet the drive I’m using is 32Gb… and it has a cool blue light that lights up when I’m using it.
It’s SLOW… Encrypting/decrypting data takes time. It writes at 5MB/s and reads at up to 10MB/s, which is a third of the speed of similar, non-secure USB devices and ridiculously slow compared to USB 3.0 devices (without security).
… Apart from that, I can’t really find any! The 32Gb version is a little heavier than I expected it to be, but then, it actually feels reassuringly weighty. If it was too light it wouldn’t FEEL so secure, somehow.
Yes, the data transfer is slow, but that’s the price you pay for ensuring it’s secure. Would you rather transfer your data at lightning-fast speeds only to get that horrible sinking feeling when you lose the drive, knowing anyone can plug it into their computer and learn all your secrets, or would you rather have to wait a few seconds for the data to write, knowing that it’s safe from prying eyes even if someone does get their hands on it?
Yeah… I thought so!
Over on my other site, I’ve done a tutorial on how to back up your important data to a USB flash drive and am giving away 25 8Gb Kingston DT109 flash drives as a promotion. I have now added a 32Gb DT Locker+ G2 Flash Drive to the prize pool as well, so head over there and you might be able to win one of these lovely devices for yourself!