Kingston DataTraveler 2000 32GB Encrypted USB Drive Reviewajmatson -
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Kingston DataTraveler 2000 32GB Encrypted USB Drive Introduction:
Everyone these days has some sort of flash drive readily accessible. Flash drives have become the main go-to for data travel. Sure there are smaller portable hard drives, but have you ever seen a hard drive on someone's keychain or ID card lanyard? That's not exactly something you want to lug around you all day. Whether it be for business use or for keeping important files available at a minute's notice, the majority of computer users have a flash drive ready to go.
There are many flash drives out in the wild, including those with USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 connections, and in sizes ranging from a couple of gigabytes to some in the terabyte range now. So how do you choose which flash drive is right for you? What characteristics do you look for? Speed? Size? Well, how about security? When most people consider buying a flash drive, they normally think of convenience and space, while security is often overlooked. But what happens when you lose your flash drive or it is stolen? What data did you have on it and was it important financial data or personal information like your Social Security Number? With so many people being hacked and identify theft on the rise, a secure flash drive is needed more now than ever. Today we are going to be taking a look at one such flash drive from Kingston, which is the DataTraveler 2000 32GB Encrypted USB Drive.
While secure flash drives are of course pricier than their non-secure counterpart,s think of the extra cash like insurance. You carry insurance for your home, car, and more, so why would you not pay a bit more for the insurance of your privacy and data. The DataTraveler comes in several sizes from 16GB to 32GB and will run you around $117 to $145, but how much is your information worth to keep safe? So is that extra cash worth it? Let's take a look at the DT2000 flash drive and see for ourselves.
Kingston DataTraveler 2000 32GB Encrypted USB Drive Closer Look:
The Kingston DataTraveler 2000 comes in a secure blister pack that can only be opened by cutting it, ensuring that the drive has not been messed with or the key changed prior to your purchase. The front of the packaging is completely clear so you can see what the drive looks like before committing to buy it. The Kingston and product logos also appear on the front, along with some of the features and, of course, the size of the drive, which is 32GB. This model is also USB 3.1 Gen 1, which offers faster speeds and is backwards compatible with USB 3.0. Kingston claims speeds of up to 135MB/s read and 40MB/s writes for the 32GB model using USB 3.1 and up to 30MB/s read and 20MB/s write using a USB 2.0 port.
On the back of the packaging is a quick setup instruction set including the default pin code of 11223344 and some additional features. Because this drive is hardware encrypted and the pin is independent of the operating system, the DT2000 can be used on just about any device with a USB port, including Windows Vista and up, Mac 10.8.x and up, Linux Kernel 2.6.x and up, Chrome OS, and Android. That said, I have even been able to use it on other devices most would not consider, including backing up configs from my Cisco ASA firewall, Juniper EX4200 switch, and more. If a standard USB flash drive can be used on a device, chances are this one can too with the added security bonus. Included in the packaging is the DT2000 drive with integrated security loop and the instructions sheet.
Now let's get down to the drive itself. At first, when holding the drive, it feels a bit flimsy, but I assure you that is just because of the lighter aluminum design that Kingston went with. The DT2000 is actually very solid and honestly, the lighter weight is a welcome addition to a drive like this, as many are a lot heavier. The casing is a bright blue color, which adds to the safety as it helps prevent the drive blending into surroundings and possibly being left behind or lost. The case is also made of the same aluminum and covers the full length of the drive down to the rubber gasket at the base of the flash drive. This also leads into the physical security, as the DT2000 has an IP rating of IP57. What does that mean exactly? The IP rating scale is broken down into two parts: solids and liquids. The first number of the rating is for the solids, and this case scores a 5, meaning the drive is Dust Protected (Ingress of dust is not entirely prevented, but it must not enter in sufficient quantity to interfere with the satisfactory operation of the equipment; complete protection against contact). The second number is for the liquids rating with the 7 in this case meaning the drive is capable of immersion into 1m of water (Ingress of water in harmful quantity shall not be possible when the enclosure is immersed in water under defined conditions of pressure and time (up to 1 m of submersion)).
In addition to the physical security, the data integrity is maintained via encryption. The DT2000 uses 256-bit AES encryption in XTS mode. According to NIST specifications, XTS is best described as "an instantiation of Rogaway’s XEX (XOR Encrypt XOR) tweakable block cipher, supplemented with a method called 'ciphertext stealing' to extend the domain of possible input data strings. In particular, XEX can only encrypt sequences of complete blocks, i.e., any data string that is an integer multiple of 128 bits; whereas, for XTS-AES, the data string may also consist of one or more complete blocks followed by a single, non-empty partial NIST Special Publication 800-38E block." The acronym XTS stands for the XEX Tweakable Block Cipher with Ciphertext Stealing. Since the drive is encrypted, in order to use it, you must first unlock it. To do this, the keypad on the front of the DT2000 uses a pin combination of 7-15 digits in length and cannot use repetitive or consecutive numbers. There is also a special read-only mode the drive can be put into so data cannot be altered, as well as other options, such as a time-out and lock-out mode. For the lock-out, if the incorrect pin is entered ten consecutive times, the drive destroys the encryption key and all data is formatted and lost for good. When the drive is reset, the new encryption key is randomly generated and the pin reset so any data that might have been taken from the NAND would not be able to be read with the new encryption key. Now one thing that is missing from the DT2000 as a secure drive is there is no FIPS certification as of yet and the website did not mention if one is pending. This means it could not be used for official government use, but is just fine for personal use.
Now that we have looked at the DT2000 in all its glory, let's take it to the bench and see how it performs.