Network Computing is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Geek Chic: Kingston Technology DataTraveler Elite--Privacy Edition

USB flash drives are the easiest way to carry your data with you--and maybe one of the riskiest, too. How often have you left that tiny USB drive still plugged into your client's PC, or in a hotel room drawer, or on the table at Starbuck's? Kingston Technology says its new USB drive will make the data on your USB drive inviolable, so you won't have to worry if your device winds up in the wrong hands.

The DataTraveler Elite--Privacy Edition (DTE Privacy) offers 128-bit hardware-based AES encryption. The first time you plug the DTE Privacy USB 2.0 drive into a port, a window pops up that asks you to create a password; after that, every time you plug in the DTE Privacy drive, a pop-up appears asking for the password. Make sure the password is memorable--forget the password and the drive is automatically formatted the 26th time you try to guess and get it wrong. At least Kingston allows you a reasonable number of guesses. You can add an optional hint, but you only get 16 characters for that, which I found a bit low.

And if you know from the start there's no way on earth you're going to remember the password--and you haven't stored much of importance on the drive yet--you can hit the "Forgot my password" button, and the drive will automatically reformat without requiring you to make a couple dozen futile guesses.

Because the encryption is hardware-based, the related file takes up very little space--on the 2-GB review unit, only 128KB. An icon on your taskbar lets you reset the password, edit your owner information, browse the contents of the device and format the drive. Kingston also gives you the option of entering contact information that appears on the Login popup, in case the person who finds the device wants to get it back to you.

  • 1