In the two years since we reviewed the first version of ID Vault, phishing attacks have increased by more than 180 percent, identity theft is up 25 percent, and organized crime has figured out ways to hijack financial sites and DNS servers.
For the most part, putting financial information into a browser is about as safe as walking through Central Park in one of those Chuck Bronson Death Wish movies.
So, you’d think ID Vault would be one of those tools you’d put on a chain and wear around your neck everywhere you go, but it isn’t. For those not up on ID Vault, it’s an encrypted USB key that stores your user names and passwords. If you want to go to your bank, eBay, or Amazon, you plug in the ID Vault and use a virtual keyboard to punch in a code (to thwart key loggers). The ID Vault client on your PC then goes to the site, makes sure you’re actually on a legitimate IP address for that particular website, and logs in for you.
Clickfree’s Transformer may look like an overweight USB key, but it is—forgive us, Optimus Prime—more than meets the eye.
Plug any generic external USB hard drive into the Transformer, then plug the Transformer into a USB port on your PC, and a backup app auto-launches and starts a countdown to begin an automatic file backup of common file extensions. You can interrupt the countdown and add more file extensions that the app doesn’t recognize by default. The document formats it grabs are fairly extensive, but if you want it to also copy that comic book archive in .cbr format, you’ll need to add the extension first.
Kingston’s DataTraveler Secure is billed as an “enterprise-grade” flash drive. Translated for civvies, that means 256-bit AES hardware encryption, an IPX8 waterproof rating, and a titanium shell. Oh yeah, and optimization for small files. While almost every key we’ve tested in the last few months choked on the 10,000 Word docs we feed them during testing, the DataTraveler Secure was able to write that onslaught of files in three minutes instead of the usual 20 minutes.
The My Flash Fingerprint Disk offers a feature that goes well with a USB key: a fingerprint scanner to protect the drive’s contents. While not everyone keeps satellite images of nuclear facilities and top-secret documents on their USB key, it’s still reassuring to know that there’s an extra level of protection between your data and potential do-badders.