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Encrypted External Drive Uses Keypad

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 13 comments

Apricorn's external drive provides a keypad for extra security.

Apricorn has announced the availability of its Aegis Padlock Secure Drive, an external USB HDD with a built-in keypad that allows up to 10 PIN (personal identification number) passkeys for added security. While this may seem like overkill, the real-time 128-bit or 256-bit hardware encryption certainly prevents unauthorized access to sensitive data stored on the drive.

"With no software installation required for setup or operation, the Aegis Padlock Secure Drive provides stress free deployment in corporate environments," the company said. "Its Administrator Feature allows enrollment of up to ten unique user ID’s and one administrator, making it a useful business collaboration tool."

According to Aproicorn, the drive is completely bus powered, meaning the drive doesn't depend on an AC adaptor. The drive also features a 16-point omni-directional shock mounting system to protect the data from rough handling, and the integrated USB cable makes it easy to plug and play anywhere without the need to drag along extra cable. Although formatted for Windows-based systems, users can re-format the drive for use with a Mac or Linux system without altering the drive's encryption abilities

Additionally, the specifications reveal that the drive has a transfer rate of up to 480 Mbp/s (via a USB 2.0 interface), has an RPM of 5400, and features an average seek time of 12 ms. The drive also comes in three unique flavors: 250 GB, 320 GB, and 500 GB, with pricing ranging from $99 to $159. Interested consumers can purchase the drive directly from Apricorn's website.

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  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , August 19, 2009 9:47 PM
    Handy for businesses but I doubt it would be useful for the average consumer.
  • 0 Hide
    grieve , August 19, 2009 10:01 PM
    i like it... the keypad is cool.
    I wonder how durable the keypad is and ultimatly if you break the keypad is there any possible way to get the Data? (defeating the purpose of the keypad)
  • 5 Hide
    xaira , August 19, 2009 10:15 PM
    nicely priced
  • 1 Hide
    virtualban , August 19, 2009 10:22 PM
    Indeed nicely priced. Average consumers too. My own personal data.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , August 20, 2009 12:30 AM
    I'd just opt for a Truecrypt volume, steganography is much sneakier than a keypad, and there's plausible deniability if needed, whereas with the keypad, if somebody's holding a gun to your head, you're going to give them the PIN...
  • 0 Hide
    huron , August 20, 2009 12:42 AM
    Very interesting. Reasonable pricing as well. I like the multiple user accounts feature too.
  • 0 Hide
    caskachan , August 20, 2009 9:36 AM
    TILL THE 4 KEYS YOU USE WEA OUT AND PPL CAN GUESS THE CODE FROM THOSE 4 NUMBERS
  • 1 Hide
    ceteras , August 20, 2009 11:00 AM
    A fingerprint sensor would be nice.
  • 2 Hide
    icepick314 , August 20, 2009 1:21 PM
    great for hiding your porn collection out in the open....
  • 1 Hide
    theblackbird , August 20, 2009 2:44 PM
    A lot of hardware security solutions have been proven to be ineffective. Lots of them have been hacked pretty easily. I'd put my trust in TrueCrypt and be done with it.
  • 1 Hide
    jellico , August 20, 2009 3:40 PM
    I concur with Blackbird. These types of devices always sound like they'd be really secure, but until they've been in the open for a while, their true level of security is a big unknown. Conversely, TrueCrypt has been around for sometime, and its source code is readily available for anyone to analyze. To date, no vulnerabilities have been found (though the efficacy of a hidden encrypted container within a container, the so-called "plausible deniability" factor, is still somewhat of an unknown).
  • 2 Hide
    jellico , August 20, 2009 3:59 PM
    ceterasA fingerprint sensor would be nice.


    You might be surprised to learn that biometrics as a security safeguard, are not nearly as strong as most people think they are. The problem arises from the fact that a huge quantity of analog information must be sampled and reduced to a digital signature. Futhermore, because biometric source data (your fingerprint, your retina pattern, your iris pattern, etc.) tends to fluctuate slightly from one sampling to the next, the system has to make an allowance for a given reading being "close enough" to the stored signature. This forces a tradeoff where the signature doesn't have nearly enough sample points because the more sample points, the greater degree of allowable fluctuation the system has to accept.

    In recent years, even the venerable fingerprint, long thought to be absolutely unique and infallable as a means of identification, has fallen into question as to its true accuracy and reliability for use in criminal investigations and subsequent convictions.

    To be sure, biometrics can help increase security when used in tandem with other measures (such as a keycard and a passcode), but alone, they are far from being a security panacea.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , January 31, 2011 5:58 PM
    I purchased two of these drives in mid-2010 as an extra layer of backup against regular hard drive failure. Information is backed-up to the drives, then the drives are stored in temperature controlled fire safes. I have to say that their interface, speed, reliability, etc has never been an issue ... except ... one of the drives just randomly died. Tech support has been helpful, but recovery of the information does not seem to be a viable option.

    So, the moral of the story is: if you are going to use these drives as a backup for data which absolutely must be recovered upon drive failure (original pics, photos, other data), it may not be the best idea to use these drives - because if one fails, then you will never be able to get to it again (this is on design - and a good design for those would would rather have whatever data on these drives destroyed rather than fall into the wrong hands).

    As I am not some super spy or anything, I have shifted my backup paradign to regular (cheaper) rugged hard drives .. which are again stored in fire safes. At least if those fail, I have means of recovering thd ata from the drives. Theses Apricorn drives will be relegated to storing data I do not really care if I lose (i.e. easily duplicated data) - making these now very very expensive and bulky flash drives.

    Moral: unless you are a spy, government agent, pron purveyor, etc who needs a "Self destruct" feature on his data ... do not spend the extra money on these. Buy a cheaper, larger external drive and just keep it offsite in a safe deposit box.