Geek Chic: Kingston Technology DataTraveler Elite--Privacy Edition

Kingston's latest USB flash drive offers security-conscious travelers a way to keep sensitive data away from prying eyes.

April 4, 2006

2 Min Read
Network Computing logo

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.The only problem I found in the DTE Privacy was one of semantics. A "Shutdown DTE Privacy" choice on the taskbar menu doesn't actually close off access to the drive (which is what I assumed); it just prepares the device for removal. Users who tend to walk away from their systems may want to keep that in mind.

On the whole, though, the DTE Privacy USB drive is a good choice for individuals and companies that want to keep their data safe. You won't be able to stop somebody else from using the drive, but at least he or she won't be able to access your files.

$48 (256 MB), $75 (512 MB), $119 (1 GB), $222 (2 GB), $347 (4 GB), Kingston Technology,

Stay informed! Sign up to get expert advice and insight delivered direct to your inbox

You May Also Like

More Insights