IronKey: Encrypted USB Flash Drive on Steroids

IronKey isn't just another encrypted USB flash-drive-key-stick-thingy. For a start, the company makes a big thing of its claim that IronKey is the only such device designed from the get-go to be secure (as opposed to a flash drive that's had security "bolted-on," presumably).

It's an interesting claim, but of arguable merit. However, there are other aspects that are worth talking about:

  • This key will self-destruct. If you try to disassemble it, or if you enter the wrong password too many times, the IronKey doesn't just wipe itself, it destroys the flash memory, making it worthless.
  • It's not just a device, but also a service. If you register the device on IronKey's Web site, the company offers password recovery/escrow and access to IronKey's own Tor anonimizing network (i.e., a private network, not the usual public one).
  • It also acts as a 2FA device. A firmware update will add the necessary logic to make it act as a VeriSign VIP device, for two-factor authentication. An "enterprise" version of the device will also have similar support for RSA SecurID.

Shipping now for Windows XP and Vista. Mac and Linux support are "nearly ready."

... Richi Jennings

One Comment

  1. Adam
    Posted April 15, 2008 at 1:03 PM | Permalink

    Sounds promising, but is IronKey’s drive FIPS certified for government use? That is a must for me!

    Only two companies have it that I know of, Kanguru Solutions and MXI, and MXI is very expensive.

  2. Posted April 15, 2008 at 2:53 PM | Permalink

    While I’m not clear if IronKey has a FIPS 140-2 validation certificate, or which level it refers to, the FAQ claims that the device is “compliant” (click on item 13).

  3. Posted April 16, 2008 at 10:06 AM | Permalink

    IronKey yesterday “announced full FIPS 140-2 Level 2 security validation ­ at the product level, rather than the more typical component-level validation.” Shame it’s “only” level 2, but I guess that’s a start and is probably more than adequate for the vast majority of applications.

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