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Old January 8, 2015, 08:28 AM
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Default Replacing my IronKey Flash Drive

So I've been using an Iron Key 1G flash drive as my mainstay portable drive for the last few years but the casing is finally starting to de-laminate and I'm finally reaching the point where 1G just isn't enough room anymore.

This drive is used predominately for carrying personal information, password spreadsheets, DropBox portable, and a few other things I'd like to keep secured. For large chunks of data that aren't sensitive I have a handful of other drives.

I've been looking for a replacement for a while. The Iron Key's steep cost of ownership ($150 at the time of purchase) makes getting a replacement cost ineffective as they're still in the $200 range.

I've looked at several vendors including IronKey's lower end D80 series, Corsairs Survivor Series, and a company called Integral Crypto whom I've never heard off.

Corsair Survivor Series - CMFSS3-16GB - $24.99

Pros:
- ULTRA Durable
- Waterproof to 200M
- USB 3.0
- Reasonable Price

Cons:
- No hardware or software based encryption from the vendor
- Bulky
- Not FIPS complaint


IronKey 16GB D80 - $74.00

Pros:
- 256-bit Hardware Level Encryption
- Water Resistant
- Durable build quality
- Average flash drive footprint

Cons:
- Pricey (> Double the cost of comparable sized drives)
- Not FIPS complaint
- USB 2.0


Integral Crypto 16GB - INFD16GCOU3.0-197 - $55.00

Pros:
- 256-bit Hardware Level Encryption
- USB 3.0
- FIPS 197 Complaint
- Average flash drive footprint

Cons:
- Unsure if water resistant
- Cost the high end of "affordable"


Integral Crypto 16GB - INFD16GCRYPTO197 - $35.00

- 256-bit Hardware Level Encryption
- FIPS 197 Complaint
- Waterproof (IEC 60529 IPX8) up to 4ft
- Excellent price for encryption level
- Average flash drive footprint

Cons:
- USB 2.0


On paper the Integral Crypto 16GB USB 2.0 at $35.00 looks like the best choice. Hardware level encryption with zero footprint, water resistant to 4 ft (perfect for washing machine accidents), and FIPS 197 complaint which even the IronKey isn't.

Has anyone had experience with Integral? Any other secured flash drive recommendations?
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Old January 8, 2015, 09:37 AM
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Add to the List:

Kingston DataTraveler Vault Privacy 3.0 - DTVP30AV/16GB - $58.00

Pros:
- FIPS 197
- 256-bit Hardware Level Encryption
- USB 3.0
- Waterproof (IEC 60529 IPX8) to 4ft
- Built in ESET NOD32 Anti-Virus
- Durable
- Average flash drive footprint

Cons:
- Cost the hight end of "affordable"
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Old January 8, 2015, 10:59 AM
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We use the Kingston DataTraveler Vault Privacy at the office. Not one has failed so far.
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Old January 8, 2015, 11:18 AM
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Have you used the one with ESET NOD on it? I'm wondering how/if that works. I'm taking it you feel the drives are of sturdy construction?

My IronKey has been in the washing machine a half dozen times, in a pool once, and dropped 40ft onto concrete (don't ask) and still works. After tall the abuse though the back of the housing is starting to delaminate and I'm wondering if that's not a flaw in how the drive is assembled.
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Old January 8, 2015, 07:51 PM
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Nope I haven't. They are managed by the IT department.
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Old January 10, 2015, 09:57 AM
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Any reason you don't just use encryption software independent of the USB manufacturer? This way you don't have to pay extra money for something that is free and you can pick any USB drive you want.

Rohos Products

Rohos Rohos Mini Drive

This product is free up to an 8gb secured partition but you can buy a single license for $35 or the pro version for $49 if you need more than 1 usb drive or greater than 8gb (vs the free version). There are some security issues with certain flash drives (Rohos Blog Archive Review of Hardware Encryption vulnerability of Kingston and SanDisk USB flash drives) so that's something to watch out for as well.

This is the best of both worlds in my opinion as you can pick any usb drive you want and encrypt it properly and safely while saving money. Can't beat that.
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Old January 10, 2015, 12:01 PM
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I might look into the Rohos software. I find it interesting that the Kingston vulnerability only applies to their drives which were certified FIPS 140-2, not the newer FIPS 197 drives. I'm assuming this vulnerability was patched to achieve the higher FIPS rating. My main goal behind the hardware based encryption is that it's zero footprint. I don't want to leave traces of my encryption program on say a school computer. I'm assuming this is a product you've personally used?
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Old January 10, 2015, 05:41 PM
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Im testing a few IronKey drives for work right now (running W2G) and when plugged into a USB3 port or a charging USB2 port the drives get extremely hot. Almost painful to hold more than a few seconds. Not sure what this does for durability or if it will affect your final decision.
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Old January 12, 2015, 07:00 AM
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I haven't used this myself yet but I've been looking into this type of software for my own use. I could be wrong but from what I've read it doesn't leave any footprint behind. The program runs directly from the USB drive itself and doesn't need to be installed on the computer you are using.
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Old January 13, 2015, 02:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daedalus2002 View Post
Im testing a few IronKey drives for work right now (running W2G) and when plugged into a USB3 port or a charging USB2 port the drives get extremely hot. Almost painful to hold more than a few seconds. Not sure what this does for durability or if it will affect your final decision.
I think this is common to all the IronKey drives as mine has been "metal on a warm spring day" hot many times after extended use. I've never had any read/write problems and it doesn't seem to have decreased the drives life expectancy at all, unless that's what has eventually led to it's delaminating.

I finally got to see the Corsair Survivor Series in person. That is a LOT bigger than expected. About the size of a decent pocket flashlight. Not something I'd want to carry everyday so I've taken that off the list.

I keep seeing mentions of this thing called a TAC drive, including an outtake of "Will It Blend" where it actually BEAT the blender. Anyone else heard of these things?

***EDIT: It appears TAC Health, makers of the TAC Drive no longer sell the drive.***
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