6 Military Grade Solutions For Keeping Your Data Safe

| February 11, 2013 | 7 Replies
6 Military Grade Solutions For Keeping Your Data Safe

6 Military Grade Solutions For Keeping Your Data Safe

Chris Dougherty
VirtualThreat Contributor

Keeping your data safe. It might seem inconvenient, but it should be your primary concern.

Whether you work for a three-letter government agency or on top of a roof pounding nails, we all have sensitive information that we want to keep away from prying eyes. These days our most private data is stored on computer hard drives, from passwords to credit card details to sensitive documents and family photos.

A 2010 study by Kensington, a maker of anti-theft devices, claims that one laptop is stolen every 53 seconds. The study goes on to say that 1/10th of all laptops will eventually be lost or stolen. As a victim of theft, I know about the inconvenience of having a laptop full of sensitive data stolen from my home.

We may not always be able to keep our data from being lost or stolen, but we can take steps to limit the amount of information that is exposed if someone else gets their hands on our computer equipment.

The use of encrypted hard drives has always been something that most people believe was reserved for government agencies and military personnel.  However, now that manufacturing costs are dropping, hardware-based encryption technology is rapidly growing as an easy alternative to help computer users keep their data safe in the event of loss or theft.

 

 

 

 

Encrypted hard drives provide data security by encoding information in such a way that unauthorized users cannot read it, but authorized parties can. Generally all encrypted hard drives will provide some sort of password protection but some offer additional features such as RFID or biometric two-factor authentication.

I was able to find six manufacturers that make encrypted external hard drives that are all secure, affordable and work right out of the box:

  1. DataLocker DL3 1TB
  2. Aegis Padlock 3.0 1TB
  3. ThinkPad USB 3.0 1TB
  4. Buslink CipherShield 1TB
  5. Kanguru Defender 1TB
  6. Imation (IronKey) Defender H100 1TB

All of the above drives provide military grade ‘AES 256-bit’ encryption and connect to your computer via a simple USB cable.  I have personally used the Datalocker DL3 unit and love all the features that it comes with. From the digital keypad to the secure-wipe and self destruct functionality, this one deserves a further look.

Over the next few weeks I will be reviewing as many of the above drives as I can, provided I can get demos from all of the manufacturers. DataLocker has already sent me one of their drives so look for a review of their DL3 encrypted drive over the next couple of days.

In the end encryption won’t keep your hard drive from getting lost or stolen, but it is an effective security layer that you can employ in the constant fight to keep your private data safe from prying eyes.

 

About the author…

Chris Dougherty is a grey hat hacker and online security expert.  Please visit his blog, www.VirtualThreat.com, for more excellent news and information about protecting yourself in cyberspace.

This article is offered under Creative Commons license. It’s okay to republish it anywhere as long as attribution bio is included and all links remain intact.

 

 



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  1. Henry A. Eckstein says:

    Anybody who uses 256-bit AES is just asking for trouble!

    Modern encryption algorithms need to get away from the
    RSA-type shift boxes that the Enhanced Encryption Standard (AES)
    uses. Differential analysis, data traffic monitoring and other
    techniques run on array processors or 40 GHZ Silicon on Diamond
    circuitry can break keys in a few days if not hours!

    You MUST now use techniques such as Quantum key distribution (QKD),
    Kish Cypher-like coding, Elliptic Curve cryptography,
    and Lattice-based Cryptography..any anything ELSE that
    is RESISTANT to Quantum Computing and Quantum-Key
    Search and Selection Algorithms such as Grover’s Algorithm
    or a Hoar Search (Quicksort-like key shifting and bit pattern prediction).

    There are already too many companies (Toshiba, D-Wave, NEC, Seimens)
    that are building either vaccuum chamber or chip-cell based Q-Bit computers that can do an All-States-At-Once computation that can turn
    256-bit AES onto its ear in SECONDS!

    • Henry, thank you for your comments. Unfortunately at this time I am unaware of any affordable “plug-and-play” alternatives at the consumer level that utilize the cryptography techniques that you mention. I think 256-bit AES provides ample protection for the everyday consumer in the case of laptop loss or theft. I assume the majority of street thieves, or those finding a lost device, would have the resources or inclination required crack the encryption in a reasonable amount of time. While AES may not protect you from a government agency that REALLY wants your data, I think it will provide sufficient protection for most mobile consumers. Would you agree?

      On a site note, I have read that elliptic curve cryptography is vulnerable to a modified Shor’s algorithm for solving the discrete logarithm problem on elliptic curves. Any comments?

      More info on QKD attacks for those interested –
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_key_distribution#Attacks_.26_Security_Proofs
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_key_distribution#Quantum_Hacking

      Kish cypher-like coding and lattice-based cryptography are both very interesting and appear to be quite secure against typical attack vectors. Attempts to solve lattice problems by quantum algorithms have been made since Shor’s discovery of the quantum factoring algorithm in the mid-1990s, but have so far met with little success if any at all.

      • Henry Eckstein says:

        ANY type of algorithm that uses factors,
        multiplication or product iteration is
        AT RISK of being pummeled buy by
        Quantum Computers that can do
        All-States-At-Once calculations.

        NON-Fractal-like key distribution and
        encryption systems that CANNOT be derived
        by division, roots, or inverses ARE BEST!
        ANY TYPE of algorithm that uses or has
        numeric factors or other DERIVED number
        from a bitwise rotation or bit-shifting,
        numeric multiplication, squaring or cubing
        cycle IS THE PROBLEM which means ANY
        DES or AES-type encryption algorithm.

        Algorithms that sum or subtract MULTIPLE
        compound curve distributions of characters
        or numbers used in intermediate or primary
        encrypt/decrypt keys are PROBABLY the best
        way to prevent GUESSES or predictions of
        key ranges that might decrypt any given encrypted text, since no numeric factors
        are present that can be brute-force attacked
        using an All-state-at-once Quantum Computer.

        In terms of what’s available TODAY, I agree
        that NOT MUCH is available for end-users
        HOWEVER, I AM WORKING ON a commercial product
        that DOES have Quantum Computing resistant
        algorithms BUILT-IN for ALL emailing, instant messaging/texting, video phones, voice calls,
        web browsing, Domain Name Services, LAN/WAN
        communications and audio/video broadcasting
        and this should be finished by September 2013.
        Do an EXACT web search for “What Is Midgrid”
        or “Midgrid_Brochure” that will explain ALL!
        We combine BOTH AES AND QUANTUM-RESISTANT
        algorithms.

    • WorBlux says:

      As for the quantum computers out there, they do quantum annealing, but are not true quantum computers and can’t run shor’s alogrithm with the quantum speedup. They might break AES if someone figures out how to linearize it, but noone has actually done so so far. A true quantum is hard as the difficulties increase exponentially as the number of qubits increase. 40GHz has been observed at the tranistor level but not the IC level as the power leakage creeps way too high, plus they only offer a 10X performance increase over a conventional processor, which would decrease the search space from 10 billion years million years to a billion years. As for traffic monitoring it doesn’t apply to these devices as they work locally instead of on the network. It’s much cheaper and easier to install a hidden camera to watch you type the password, or apply a rubber hose than to actually break properly implemented AES.

  2. Laslo says:

    Do consider using the Secure Note feature in LastPass. This is a great place to keep information you want secure. I also suggest using a sixteen digit alpha numeric, upper case & lower case, with symbols for a password, as well as using the authentication grid feature, at a minimum.

    Laslo

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