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Friday, 8 May 2015

Test Driving The Aegis Secure Key 3.0

I just received a new item across my desk, and was so excited I had to share!

The Apricorn Aegis Secure Key 3.0 is a high capacity hardware encrypted USB 3.0 flash drive with up to 240GB in Storage Capacity.

The one I received, an ASK-30GB is.. well.. 30GB capacity. 
The first thing I noticed in this impressive device, is the crush resistant black aluminum extruded case.  Rubber seals provide dust and water resistance. The buttons on the front present a very good high quality tactile feel. A comfortable aluminum case closes over the keypad with the aforementioned rubber seals. There is also a nice comfortable weight to it.  Not too heavy... 
More like "This feels like a tool, not a toy" heavy.

Now, there *is* a very slight learning curve to getting it up and running, as you have to train two separate 7-16 digit PINs: one Administrator, and one User pin. As a corporate tool, this is very much a requirement.  If the user loses/forgets their PIN, we can still retrieve the secured contents. Once completed, daily use just requires your User PIN.
This is a true hardware encryption (256-Bit AES XTS Hardware Encryption) based USB media key.  What this means is that there are no specific drivers required for your Operating System to share encrypted files. Aegis are currently awaiting FIPS 140-2 Level 3 certification, expected Q2 this year.

Once unlocked via the keypad, the device shows up as a standard USB media drive.   I was able to read/write files easily between Windows 7, my Ubuntu Laptop, my OSX machine, as well as a Raspberry Pi, and an embedded microcontroller board I'm working on.  Serious compatibility across the board. 

Data transfer was fast.  I did not measure it, but it was quicker than many of the "normal" USB 3.0 flash drives I have on hand.  The documentation put it capable of

Specifications according to Apricorn:

• 256-Bit AES XTS Hardware Encryption
• Software-Free Design
• Cross-Platform Compatible
• Embedded Authentication
• No Authentication Info Shared with Host
• Two Read-Only Modes
• Programmable Brute Force Protection
• Separate Admin and User Modes
• Lock-Override Option
• Forced Enrollment
• 3-Year Limited Warranty
• FIPS 140-2 Level 3 (Pending Q2)
• IP-58 Certified: Dust and Water Resistant

Having come from using a few other software based "Secure Flash" Keys, this device is a godsend. The software keys typically have to store multiple binaries on an application partition in support of the popular Operating Systems. (Windows and OSX are usually included, and more frequently, Linux binaries are available.)  Running the appropriate binary unlocks the remainder of the drive once authenticated. 

I highly recommend this Aegis Secure Key 3.0 anywhere you require sensitive data to be securely stored and transferred between machines. 

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