Secure USB Storage Devices - Updated for 2015

Discussion in 'Technical' started by DarkLight, Aug 7, 2015.

  1. DarkLight

    DarkLight Live Long and Prosper - On Hiatus

    I originally posted a thread about this a couple of years ago and felt it could use an update. The original thread is here: Secure USB Storage Devices - Updated for 2013 | Survival Forums

    I have been using the original Aegis Secure Key for a couple of years now and wouldn't hesitate to purchase another one...well I wouldn't have until now. Recently Apricorn released the Aegis Secure Key 3.0...and I like it, a LOT.

    The original Secure Key was a USB 2.0 device that was, well it was slow, even by USB 2.0 standards. It worked flawlessly but the on-the-fly encryption takes time and slows things down. Now there is a USB 3.0 version and it's all I was hoping it would be.

    The Secure Key 3.0 is still slower than an unencrypted thumb drive but still very fast. It sports the same style of keypad as the original, but there are a few new features, and they are pretty slick.

    First there is the "self-destruct" code. Unlike the original, you can configure a self-destruct code that destroys the private key rendering all data useless and wipes the device...immediately. It appears to be unlocked, just like normal with no indication that you have nuked the data. When you plug it in you are presented with an unpartitioned, unformatted drive.

    Next is the ability to have multiple levels of access. Admin, user and read-only users. Kind of cool but I don't know if I'll be using that.

    Next is the ability to survive a re-enumeration of the USB port (for booting, etc) as long as power isn't lost. If power is lost, it behaves as though it was unplugged and immediately locks itself.

    The Secure Key 3.0 comes in 30, 60, 120 and 240 GB capacities. I have the 30 GB.

    Last, and this is pretty nice, it reports to the OS that it is a disk drive and not a removable drive. This is referred to as "having the removable bit flipped". This is vital if you want to make a "Windows to go" key (which I don't anymore...but I digress). What I DO want to be able to do, potentially, is to put multiple partitions on the key, which I cannot do if the removable bit is enabled, at least in Windows.

    Over the last two weeks I have created two Windows To Go instances as tests, wiped the drive a half dozen times, changed PINs a couple dozen times, used every mode it supports and I really like this device.

    Now for the disclaimer. I got this for free as a trial/demo unit. The cool thing is they don't want it back, and why would they? It's used and in the exceedingly unlikely event that I was able to hack it somehow, the last thing they would want to do is hand it back out. That, however, hasn't influenced my opinion of the device.

    And now the cons, and there are a few. First, it is bigger than the original, by maybe 10% in each dimension. It's longer, and has an integrated keyring hasp. I'm not in love with that. It's slower than an unencrypted USB 3.0 flash drive, but I'm okay with that as its still plenty fast. Lastly, it's more expensive than the original, potentially prohibitively for some.

    Specs from the website:
    • FIPS 140-2 Level 3 Validated
    • Military-Grade Full-disk AES 256-bit XTS Hardware Encryption
    • PIN-Activated 7-16 digits - Alphanumeric keypad use a memorable number or word for your PIN
    • Dust and water resistant - IP58 Certification
    • Software-Free Setup and Operation
    • OS and platform independent – compatible with Windows, Mac, Linux and embedded systems
    • Immune to BadUSB exploit;
      USB Controller locked / not field-updatable.
    • Designed and Assembled in the U.S.A.
    Homepage for the product:
    Aegis Secure Key 3

    Purchase link (Amazon):
    30 GB - Apricorn Aegis Secure Key 30GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive (ASK3-30GB): Computers & Accessories
    60 GB - Apricorn Aegis Secure Key 60 GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive (ASK3-60GB): Computers & Accessories
    120 GB - Apricorn Aegis Secure Key 120 GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive (ASK3-120GB): Computers & Accessories
    240 GB - Apricorn Aegis Secure Key 240 GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive (ASK3-240GB): Computers & Accessories
    Tully Mars, Yard Dart and Dont like this.
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