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  February 10, 2015

Toshiba Announces a USB Stick with Keypad Passkey


This week, Toshiba has proudly announced the release of a secure USB memory drive that makes use of a mini-keypad with only 10 numbers in order to protect and authenticate access to the files that have been stored on the gadget.

The Encrypted USB Memory Drive

Toshiba’s innovative Encrypted USB Memory Drive has a similar numeric keypad style as the Flash Padlock produced by Corsair.

Similar to previous USB drives models, Toshiba’s new gadget uses a USB 2.0 (480Mbps) interface and not the newest USB 3.0 (4.8Gbps) one.

Users must enter a PIN code and then simply plug the drive in the USB 2.0 port of a compatible gadget. Once access has been granted, the drive automatically “unlocks” the stored data, allowing access and clearance of the content previously stored on the drives. Once the stick is disconnected from the USB port, the stored media is automatically re-locked and encrypted by the drive.

According to Maciek Brzeski, Branded Storage Products’ vice president, the fact that sensitive content is at serious risk has become increasingly worrying. He adds that Toshiba developed the new Encrypted USB Drive in an attempt to provide users with portable data security. Toshiba aims at offering the highest encryption solutions currently available on the market.

Similar to the Padlock manufactured by Corsair, the Toshiba device functions on 256-bit data encryption algorithms, which protect the information stored in the MLC (i.e. multi-level cell) flash memory of the gadget. Corsair has been producing the Padlock USB memory drive since 2008.

Back then, Iron Key (a company which now belongs to Imation) was leading the industry with their high performant USB memory drives that were capable of offering government-grade security. Initially, the drives used AES 128-bit and, later on, the AES 256-bit encryption. The devices were delivered in seamless stainless steel and waterproof cases that protected the internal chipsets. These drives contained a tamperproof chip as well. This ensured that, if the cases were broken, the stored data became unrecoverable.

The Encrypted USB Flash Drives produced by Toshiba come with a 3-year limited warranty.

Similar to the Padlock produced by Corsair, Toshiba’s Encrypted USB Drives are equipped with a powerful hack defence mechanism that will ensure that all the stored information becomes unrecoverable after 10 consecutive failed attempts to enter the PIN code. The defence system of the Corsair Padlock locks the gadget for 2 minutes after 5 unsuccessful attempts. Once the 2 minutes pass, the user can try again.

The Encrypted USB Flash Drives produced by Toshiba also carry a FIPS 140-2 Level 3 certification, which was issued by NIST. This particular certification is commonly required by all government agencies and numerous other security sensitive industries (for example, the financial and the healthcare sectors).