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USB flash drives are great for their portability, ease of use and size. But if you're a storage manager, you hate them for those same reasons. Aside from disabling the USB ports on laptops, you just have to do your best to ensure the data they store doesn't fall into the wrong hands.
A few years ago, USB drive makers tried to build biometric sensors into their drives to restrict access. It was a neat idea that proved unreliable. Now Lexar and Kingston Technology are enabling encryption on their latest thumb drives. Lexar's SAFE PSD S1100 uses 256-bit AES encryption, and manages encryption keys centrally. So does Kingston in the privacy edition of its DataTraveler Secure, which allows a hacker just 10 tries to crack the code before becoming permanently locked out. The 1GB version of Lexar's SAFE drive is priced at $64, while the Kingston 1GB DataTraveler costs approximately $80, roughly twice the cost of a non-encrypting device.
This was first published in February 2007