If you are like I, you work in an environment where you may be provided an encrypted laptop in which you have no administrative permissions. My work laptop requires a hardware encryption password followed by a secure OS password and recognition of the inserted security card. If you want to utilize all but very few secure USB flash drives, an appointment is necessary to get an administrator to allow the installation of that drives security software onto your system. You are then restricted to that drive alone and you cannot plug-in say, a Samsung Portable 1TB T1, SanDisk Extreme Pro USB 3.0, or any other flash drive that uses a software program for that devices main security portal.
The reality of this circumstance is that far too many people leave highly sensitive materials on unprotected USB flash drives, chancing that they will never be lost or compromised in any way. Loss and compromise of unprotected flash drives have cost millions worldwide and been responsible for levels of compromise that have no doubt cost lives as well as money. Apricorn tackles this with the Aegis Secure Key 3.0. Their secure flash drive uses on-the fly 256-Bit AES XTS hardware encryption, all the while ensuring the drive is software free preventing potential malware or virus attack.
SPECIFICATIONS AND SECURITY
The Apricorn Aegis Secure Key 3.0 is available in capacities of 8, 16, 30, 60, 120, 240 and 480GB, the 480GB capacity being tested in this report. Apricorn will not speak to internal components but data transfer speeds are listed at up to 190MB/s read and 160MB/s write. The device is constructed of a rugged aluminum with ‘ribs’ along the sides and back of the key to provide for heat dissipation as the drive warms up when in constant use. On its face, there are a red, green and blue LED lights at the top, a 10 button keypad to create and use PIN features, along with red and green lock and unlock buttons below this. The Secure Key 3.0 comes with a 3 year warranty and is PC, Mac, Linux, Android compatible. As the device is unlocked and open before plugging into a system, it is totally compatible with any USB included system.
The Apricorn Aegis Secure key 3.0 provides total hardware security, is FIPS 140-2 Level 3 validated, has full-disk 256-Bit AES XTS encryption and contains no software to achieve its data security. In addition, it is dust and water-resistant to level IP58 Certification, and immune to BADUSB exploit. The internal components are protected with a solid epoxy filling which prevents compromise from external attempts to gain access to the drive components. Last but not least, the Aegis Secure Key 3.0 has Variable Timed Circuit (VTC) technology to thwart internet timing attacks and also contains a self-destruct feature where the number of bad attempts to gain access can be set.
SETUP AND ADMINISTRATION
The drive has forced enrollment in first use and creating your admin password is as easy as pressing unlock, unlock + ‘9’, entering your password from 7 to 16 numbers, re-entering and then pressing the green unlock button once again to confirm. This now provides full access to storage or further security enhancements such as creating further user passwords for device access. For just myself, the admin password does the trick. The Admin mode provides the ability to control Read-Only mode, Auto-Lock, Self-Destruct, Lock-Override and Brute Force protection.
APRICORN AEGIS SECURE KEY 3.0 PRICING
Looking at Amazon, we see the Apricorn Aegis Secure key 3.0 ranges anywhere from 59.99 for the 4GB version, to $376 for the 480GB version we are testing today. This means that the price per GB ranges from $15/GB at the low-end to 0.78/GB at the high-capacity point. As much as we’d like to see the lower capacity models come down in price, we can’t complain whatsoever with respect to the 480GB capacity pricing for such a security-directed device. Now for a bit of testing…