Corsair Flash Padlock 2 8GB Review
So your pocket decided to empty its self on the way to work. What was in there? A wallet, a set of keys, a memory stick? Ten years ago the worst case scenario would be that your wallet would be found with the cash removed and your car 5 minutes down the road in a ditch.
Bad enough you say, but in this digital age there's much more at stake. Lets say for one minute that your USB stick had personal files on it that could reveal information about you including your address, family members or other personal details. This is more than enough information for someone to start thinking about stealing your identity. Or how about if you use your USB stick for portable applications such as Firefox? Did you use it to access your bank account, your email account or social networking sites. Did you tick that 'Remember Password' box? Now you're in a serious situation.
But its not only your personal data that's at risk. How about that presentation or proposal you've been working on for your employer? Or maybe that spreadsheet of employee details. A password set on the file isn't going to stop a determined hacker from getting at the information. You need encryption.
The most common method of encrypting storage is by means of a software based application that installed on the host machine. In the case of portable drives, the software encrypts the drive and copies the necessary applications to the drive so that it can be accessed from any machine providing that you have the correct password or certificate key.
This method has its downfalls though, most prominent being that the applications placed on the drive to decrypt it may not work on systems such as Mac OS X or Linux. Additionally the whole process can be quite confusing to users who maybe aren't so tech savvy and "just want to get at their data".
Enter the Corsair Flash Padlock 2. Successor to the original Flash Padlock drive (which wasn't very secure at all), the Flash Padlock 2 builds on the predecessors basic keycode access idea by adding a strong 256Bit AES encryption mechanism. Here's what Corsair have to say:
Secure USB Flash Drive
The Corsair Flash Padlock® 2 is perfect for transporting and protecting your sensitive business or personal information. With built-in 256-bit hardware data encryption, and access limited by a PIN, you can rest assured your information is safe from unintentional viewing. Built with the same ruggedized rubber housing found on the Corsair Flash Voyager family for durability, your data is protected from the elements as well.
Because the PIN keypad is integrated directly onto the flash drive, there is no software to install. Simply enter your own Personal Identification Number and your data is unlocked for use on virtually any PC operating system: Windows, OS X, or Linux—even game consoles. Without the PIN, your information stays secure and inaccessible.
Secure: Hardware 256-bit encryption secures your data
Protection: Your own 4-10 digit PIN protects and locks access to the Flash Padlock 2
Capacity: Large 8GB storage gives you ample room to store all your sensitive documents, or up to 2,480 images, or up to 2,000 songs
Compatible: No software to install — Works on Windows, Mac or Linux based computers — Plug & Play compatible with virtually any USB port
Hacking Detection: Multiple failed entries locks device for 2 minutes to prevent repeated attempts to access data
Drive Recovery: If you lose your PIN, you can reset the Flash Padlock to its factory default state, securely erasing all data from the drive
Confidence: Protected by a limited 10 year warranted and backed by Corsair's renowned customer service and support
Instantly any worries about OS compatibility are alleviated with the Padlock 2 having full support for Windows, Mac and Linux based systems due to there being no software to install. It's also good to see that Corsair have implemented a lock-out system that disables the drive for 2 minutes if the pin is entered incorrectly too many times. To be honest I would have liked the drive to wipe its self after around 20 incorrect PIN entries, but with the opportunity to use PINs up to 10 digits in length and 10 numbers on the keypad, you're looking at up to 10 billion possible combinations. Fancy taking a guess?
Another great feature on the list is the 10 year warranty. Almost all of my own USB drives have died within only a couple of years (sometimes a couple of days) so it's good to see that the higher cost of the Padlock 2 drive is a safe investment.
Onwards and upwards...