EVEN THOUGH every vendor is trying to sell you something, London's Infosecurity conference isn't exactly the place to find the latest hot new toy. So imagine our surprise when we found a device there that is different and original.
It's the LOK-IT Secure Flash drive, a USB key that has a hardware-based security system that requires the user to log in using an on-board PIN pad. It looks like one of those combination luggage locks that you tend to forget the combination to. We asked John Tate, one of its creators at Systematic Development Group, what the point of it was.
He said, "Every other device up to this point rather than a pure biometric device required software. It's pure hardware, so you don't have platform dependence, with susceptibility for passwords to be stolen."
"The big reason a lot of companies are going for it is that you are not running an executable. A lot of companies have policies that you are not supposed to run executables from a remote device."
"Since our authentication is done prior to inserting it into the computer, there's no executables to run."
The drive runs with 256-bit AES hardware encryption and is also platform independent, which means that Windows users can also use it on a different platform, such as Mac or Linux. Another advantage is that you can boot from the Flash drive, as it doesn't require a password entry.
Ten incorrect PIN attempts will wipe the encryption of the key, wipe the PIN, and force a reformat of the drive when you plug it in. Tate said that there are ways you can recover the data.
There are two different models available, one with ten buttons in aluminium and one in ABS plastic with five buttons. They come in 2GB, 4GB, 8GB and 16GB capacities. µ
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