USB flash drive secures data for mobile users

USB flash drive secures data for mobile users

Wrapping up the year with some odds and ends as I get ready for the onslaught of new cool tools in January 2007:

The scoop: Store 'n' Go Corporate Secure USB Drive, by Verbatim, about $US80 (1GB version tested). What it is: This USB flash drive is designed to protect data by using mandatory security features, including hardware-based Advanced Encryption Standard data encryption and antitamper password protection. Unlike USB devices that have optional security features, these are required with this Verbatim drive. The company says the device features an SHA-1 hashing algorithm that ensures the password in raw form is not stored on the drive's memory, preventing it from being lifted from the device or the memory. To protect against dictionary or brute force attacks, the drive will enter lockdown mode and secure erase all the data after 10 consecutive failed logon attempts. Capacities range from 1G to 4GB (about $270), and the device is compatible with mSystems' mTrust enterprise security software (which can help organisations centrally manage the devices). Why it's cool: Companies that have been afraid to support the use of USB flash drives for mobile workers can feel more secure that the data won't be compromised. In all likelihood the mobile workers are already using USB drives, so why not be sure that the data is more secure by trying these mandatory security features? Setting up the drive was very easy, and a complex password requirement means your users can't pick easy passwords (like their dog's name). Grade: 5 stars (out of 5)

The scoop: Quik Pod, by Fromm Works, about $US25. What it is: The Quik Pod is an extendable, handheld tripod that attaches to a digital camera (or regular camera if you still own one of those), basically extending your arm reach by up to 18 inches. The device then closes to about 7.5 inches and comes with a carrying case and strap (for an extra $5 you can get adapter legs that create a mini-tripod). Why it's cool: When you're travelling and you want a picture of yourself in front of a famous landmark, you often have to ask strangers to take your picture or do the "hold the camera out as far as possible" maneuver. With the Quik Pod, you don't have to ask for a stranger's help, and you get a better image than the arm-length move. By using the automatic timer function on the digital camera, you can set up the shot, push the button and then extend the Quik Pod and take a shot. In addition to horizontal shots, you can adjust the device vertically -- useful for taking photos at parades or other events where someone taller is standing in front of you. If your videocamera supports a tripod connection, you can attach it to the device as well. Some caveats: Because the point of the device is to take photos without someone else's help, determining whether the shot you took was a good one or not is a crap shoot. It could take some practice before you figure out the proper angle to hold your arm, the proper length to extend and whether the landmark is in the shot or not. Grade: 4.5 stars

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