I have written about products from California-based Apricorn in the past because the company gets it. Their products are easy to use and provide secure data storage for individuals and businesses of all sizes. Unlike with competing products, users do not need to install any software; they simply type their PIN on the USB stick or portable drive, and plug it in.
Late last year, Apricorn released the Aegis Secure Key 3NX. Available in sizes ranging from 2 to 128 GB, the slim USB 3.1 USB drive improves on previous models:
- The device runs about 25 per cent colder. While the warmth of the older devices was never a concern, when it comes to electronics, cooler is always better.
- A new PIN Guard feature in the firmware shuts off in 30 seconds to prevent battery drainage should buttons remain inadvertently pressed for extended periods of time.
- The device can be toggled between fixed disk or removable media formats. Some machines (such as medical diagnostic equipment) only recognize fixed disk formatting.
- The product achieved IP67 certification against dust and water penetration.
- Apricorn added a lower capacity 2 GB model to support file system limits and customers looking for a lower capacity device for widespread deployment to employees.
The Secure Key 3NX is also less expensive than previous models. Pricing on Apricorn’s website ranges from US $59 for 2 GB to US $189 for 128 GB, with several sizes in between. With highly secure, easy-to-use USB keys at this price point, it is difficult to understand why anyone would risk carrying sensitive personal or business information on an unencrypted device.
I had the opportunity to test the 3NX, and am happy to report that it worked exactly as advertised. In addition to the simple keyboard PIN entry, one of my favorite features is the data-destruct PIN: Users can optionally program a PIN that, when used, erases all data and unlocks the device. When connected to a PC, an empty, unformatted disk volume is found. This makes it easy to quickly and securely erase all data. International travellers may appreciate this feature.
In December, Apricorn also announced the latest addition to their secure portable drive line, the Aegis Fortress L3. This USB 3.1 and 3.2 drive includes both USB-A and USB-C cables, and features:
- 256-bit AES XTS encryption.
- Forced Enrollment: No factory-preset default PINs.
- Compatibility with the Aegis Configurator, allowing companies to mass configure multiple devices at once.
- Lock-override mode allows the device to remain unlocked during reboot or USB re-enumeration when required.
- Two read-only modes allow preserving data in its original, unaltered state.
- Programmable data recovery PINs can provide access to the device in the event of a forgotten user PIN.
- After a predetermined number of consecutive incorrect PIN entry attempts, the Aegis Fortress L3 will conclude it is under a brute force attack and destroy its encryption key and PINs, rendering the data useless.
Prices on the Apricorn website range from US $239 to $499 for 1 TB to 5 TB HDD models and from US $359 to $9999 for 500 GB to 16 TB SSD models. Like other Apricorn devices, the Aegis Fortress L3 is operating system agnostic and no software installation is required. The device can be configured and operated solely through its keypad, making it a good choice for individuals and businesses alike.
Have a security question you’d like answered in a future column? Eric would love to hear from you.
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