Many individuals may find satisfaction in using regular USB flash drives, primarily concerned with their storage capacity. However, for those who handle sensitive data or seek to safeguard personal documents and files, the necessity for robust encrypted storage becomes evident.
Some opt to employ encryption software to secure their regular USB drives, but these methods pale in comparison to hardware-based encryption. Essentially, data encrypted with computer-based programs is only as secure as the host computer itself.
Opting for hardware encryption or an encrypted flash drive proves to be an ideal choice for most users. This eliminates the need for software installations or experimentation on one’s computer, ensuring that your encrypted flash drive remains accessible on any computer, not restricted solely to your own.
In the following sections, we will present a comprehensive overview of the current top encrypted USB flash drives available on the market.
1) Omni DataSafe
What we like
- Has a built-in keypad
- Uses AES-256 encryption
- Compatible with macOS, Windows, and Linux
- Has 32GB of storage
- Automatically locks after being removed from the computer
- Erases all stored data after 10 incorrect password attempts
Introducing Omni DataSafe, one of the latest additions to the encryption USB flash drive market. What sets this device apart is its utilization of unbreakable AES-256 military-grade encryption coupled with a physical keypad, all bundled together with a generous 32GB storage capacity, and an astonishingly affordable price tag of just $79. This combination of top-notch security and cost-effectiveness propels it to the forefront of our list.
- Unbreakable encryption
- Compatibility with Windows, Mac, and Linux
- Swift data transfer speeds
- Inclusive software
Operating the Omni DataSafe is a breeze. Simply insert it into your computer’s USB drive and input your secret code using the built-in keypad. From that point onwards, you can save any data you desire on your flash drive.
Once your data finds its way onto the Omni DataSafe, it is instantaneously transformed into an unassailable format, impervious to prying eyes.
Unlocking and accessing your data is a straightforward process, requiring the correct PIN code. In the event that an unauthorized individual attempts to guess the code and fails ten times, the Omni DataSafe will automatically erase all encrypted data as a precautionary security measure.
Concerns about accidental key presses while carrying the Omni DataSafe in your pocket are unfounded. It boasts a sturdy build and a keypad that is not overly sensitive. The likelihood of unintentional key presses, especially to the extent of triggering the security measure, is minimal, offering peace of mind.
For those pondering storage capacity and supported file types, rest assured that you’ll have ample space for your crucial data. With 32GB at your disposal, the Omni DataSafe can store over 12,000 images, over 12,000 MP3 files, in excess of 600,000 pages of documents, or over 10 hours of video. Naturally, the actual quantity may fluctuate depending on the sizes of individual documents and files.
Moreover, the Omni DataSafe is exceptionally well-built, capable of withstanding wear and tear while preserving your data without constant prompts.
In summary, Omni DataSafe emerges as an outstanding encrypted USB drive, particularly when you factor in the substantial 32GB storage capacity offered at such an affordable price point. It unquestionably merits serious consideration for safeguarding your data securely and conveniently.
2) Kingston IronKey Keypad 200 Series
The Kingston IronKey Keypad 200 Series is a noteworthy addition to Kingston’s extensive lineup of flash drives. Kingston is a renowned name in the industry, known for producing high-quality storage solutions, and this hardware encryption flash drive is no exception. Launched just last year, it stands out with its OS-independent hardware encryption and offers two interface options: USB-A and USB Type-C, both equipped with a keypad for secure PIN access.
Security is paramount with the Kingston IronKey Keypad 200 Series. It takes data encryption to the next level, surpassing even the Omni DataSafe. This device employs XTS-AES 256-bit encryption and boasts pending FIPS 140-3 Level 3 certification for military-grade security. For those attempting to tamper with the flash drive and access its components, the circuit board is safeguarded with a special epoxy layer, making it virtually impossible to remove components without causing irreparable damage.
The XTS-AES 256-bit encryption is part of a comprehensive security package, combining 256 and 128-bit encryption for a total of 384 bits of encryption key strength.
What sets the IronKey Keypad 200 Series apart is its dual-access functionality. Admin can set up global or session read-only options, along with multi-PIN access for both administrators and users. The Admin mode provides two levels of access, including Read-Only (or Write-Protect) modes. The global mode can be configured by the Admin, while the session-only mode can be set by the user. Read-only modes serve as an extra layer of protection against malware when using the drive on untrusted systems.
Storage options for the Kingston IronKey Keypad 200 Series range from 8GB to 256GB, ensuring there’s a suitable capacity for every user. It leverages USB 3.2 Gen1 for speedy data transfer. Additionally, users have the choice between USB Type-A and Type-C interfaces.
When it comes to pricing, it’s worth noting that the Kingston IronKey Keypad 200 Series, starting at 8GB, is priced at $74.99. While it offers superior security features compared to the Omni DataSafe, it is positioned at a slightly higher price point.
3) Aegis Secure Key 3Z
Consider the Aegis Secure Key 3Z if you require the most durable encrypted flash drive capable of withstanding rigorous tasks. This exceptional device has earned FIPS 140-2 Level 3 validation, demonstrating its commitment to preventing physical tampering through tamper-evident seals, intrusion sensors, and a self-destruct mechanism. Additionally, it holds a NATO restricted rating and boasts an IP67 rating for robustness. Notably, the Aegis Secure Key 3Z is designed and assembled in California, USA, ensuring quality and reliability.
At its core, the Aegis Secure Key 3Z prioritizes security and durability. It offers a 100% hardware-based 256-bit AES XTS encrypted USB key with keypad PIN authentication. Meeting the FIPS 140-2 Level 3 standard, it aligns with the stringent U.S. government requirements for information technology and computer security.
Similar to the Kingston IronKey, this device provides Admin and User access modes, complete with independent admin and user PINs. Furthermore, you have the flexibility to select the number of allowed invalid PIN attempts, ranging from 4 to 20, before triggering a crypto-erase.
One notable advantage of the Aegis Secure Key 3Z is its immunity to software or hardware-based keyloggers and software-based brute force attacks when the PIN is entered using the host computer’s keyboard. However, in the face of a physical brute force attack, a programmable “brute force hack defense mechanism” safeguards your data.
Another noteworthy feature is the option to set an unattended auto-lock. Aegis Secure USB drives will automatically lock upon disconnection from a computer USB port or if the power supply to the port is interrupted. Additionally, they can auto-lock after a predefined period of inactivity.
For enhanced data security, the Aegis Secure Key 3Z allows you to set a self-destruct PIN. When programmed and activated, this feature initiates a Crypto-Erase, essentially transforming the device into a new access PIN. This serves as the last line of defense when the physical security of the device is compromised.
Storage options for the Aegis Secure Key 3Z include capacities of 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB, with the 16GB version priced at $191.95. Importantly, this device offers broad compatibility, supporting Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, Symbian systems, and any other powered USB operating system with a storage file system.
Overall he Aegis Secure Key 3Z excels in both security and durability, making it an excellent choice for users who prioritize safeguarding their data in challenging environments.
4) Corsair Padlock 3 USB Secure
Introducing the Corsair Padlock 3 USB Secure, Corsair’s latest secure USB offering, launched earlier this year. Continuing in the tradition of its predecessors, the Corsair Padlock 3 provides robust security through AES 256-bit hardware encryption and adheres to government standards outlined in FIPS 197. It distinguishes itself with a unique single-row built-in PIN pad, simplifying PIN code authentication without the need for additional software.
In terms of compatibility, the Corsair Padlock 3 requires no special drivers and seamlessly works with Windows, MacOS X, and Linux. Its data transfer capabilities are impressive, boasting ultra-fast read and write performance thanks to USB 3.0 technology.
Corsair’s design philosophy shines through in the Padlock 3, as it is built to withstand various challenges. It is both secure and resilient, featuring shockproof and waterproof properties. Furthermore, the flash drive’s housing is enveloped in rugged rubber for added durability.
Multiple protective measures are in place for failed PIN entries. After five PIN entry attempts, the flash drive temporarily disables itself for two minutes. If another five failed attempts occur consecutively (for a total of 10), the flash drive will remain disabled for 12 hours. If the PIN is unsuccessfully entered 20 times, the Admin PIN will be cleared, and the Flash Padlock 3 will be unlocked, resulting in permanent data loss.
Like some other models mentioned, the Padlock 3 provides both Admin and User access modes, allowing users to configure settings such as read-only or read-and-write modes.
A noteworthy feature is the built-in battery, which can be fully discharged without hindering the continued use of your Flash Padlock 3.
What’s particularly appealing is the competitive pricing of the Corsair Padlock 3. The 128GB version is available at a reasonable price of $99.99.
In conclusion, the Corsair Padlock 3 USB Secure stands as a reliable and reasonably priced solution for users seeking robust data security, durability, and compatibility across various operating systems. Its thoughtful design and impressive feature set make it a strong contender in the encrypted USB flash drive market.
5) Kingston IronKey D500S
The Kingston IronKey D500S is a secure flash drive. Although it lacks a physical keypad for PIN entry, it belongs to the category of hardware-encrypted USB flash drives.
This model upholds Kingston’s tradition of military-grade security, making IronKey one of the most trusted brands for safeguarding classified information.
Much like its predecessors, the IronKey D500S is FIPS 140-3 Level 3 (Pending) certified, incorporating new enhancements mandated by NIST. These upgrades include secure microprocessors for heightened security and protection against attacks, making it suitable for government and military use. The device employs XTS-AES 256-bit encryption and further bolsters security by physically shielding internal components with a special epoxy to thwart penetration attempts.
Additional layers of protection include self-testing during bootup, which detects over-temperature or voltage conditions that could lead to a drive shutdown. The IronKey D500S is also resilient against bad USB malware and brute force attacks. Protection against brute force attacks is ever-present, and repeated invalid password attempts will ultimately trigger a crypto-erase of the drive.
For those who need to share the flash drive, the IronKey D500S supports two read-only modes. Both administrators and users can activate session-based read-only mode, fortifying the drive against malware when connected to untrusted devices.
In terms of password options, it accommodates both complex and passphrase modes.
The IronKey D500S comes in two models: the standard D500S and the managed D500S Managed. The managed model requires SafeConsole, enabling centralized management of drive access and usage across a fleet of drives, catering to larger enterprises and government entities.
Storage options for the IronKey D500S span a wide range, from 8GB to 512GB. We found the 8GB storage option priced at $79.99, although prices may vary depending on your location and where you make the purchase.
In summary, the IronKey D500S is prepared and fortified against all attempts to breach your vital data. One potential enhancement could be the incorporation of a rugged housing, constructed from rubber or military-rated plastic, or a combination of both, to further bolster its resilience. Nevertheless, it stands as a flagship flash drive, offering robust protection for your most critical data.
6) Kingston IronKey Locker+ 50
Introducing the Kingston IronKey Locker+ 50, another remarkable hardware-encrypted USB flash drive from Kingston. Similar to previous model, it lacks a physical keypad or pin pad but offers consumer-grade security with AES hardware encryption in XTS mode.
This encryption method includes protection against bad USB and brute force password attacks, enhancing your data’s safety. Additionally, the IronKey Locker+ 50 is TAA compliant.
This version supports both Admin and User passwords, allowing for multi-password functionality with options for complex and passphrase modes. Beyond these security features, the LP50 offers the convenience of automatic personal cloud backup by ClevX. This feature enables you to back up and access data on the drive from your personal cloud storage providers like Google Drive, One Drive, Amazon Cloud Drive, and Dropbox. What sets the IronKey Locker+ 50 apart is its absence of the need for additional software installation; all necessary software and security measures are already integrated into the drive.
Like the previously mentioned secure USB drives, the IronKey Locker+ 50 is compatible with both Windows and MacOS operating systems. It exclusively features a USB Type-A connector with a USB 3.2 Gen 1 interface. Additionally, it comes with a 5-year warranty and free technical support for added peace of mind.
Storage options for the IronKey Locker+ 50 range from 16GB to 128GB, with the 16GB variant being exceptionally budget-friendly, priced at just $30.
In summary, the Kingston IronKey Locker+ 50 offers an excellent balance of security and convenience, making it an attractive option for users seeking reliable data protection without the need for additional software installations. Its competitive pricing, multi-password support, and cloud backup feature make it a valuable addition to Kingston’s lineup of secure USB drives.