Protecting portable data
- By Patrick Marshall
- Apr 17, 2005
One recurrent theme at this year's FOSE trade show was a concern about portable data, both in terms of making data portable and ensuring the security of such data. Two products in particular caught our attention.
Titan National Security Solutions' ItinerX is a complete software solution that focuses on securing and controlling the exchange of data between a computer and a USB storage device.
Before users can add a USB storage device to a computer or server on the network, an administrator must enable the device. ItinerX requires users to submit a password, and all data is encrypted using 128- or 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard keys or the older Data Encryption Standard.
Once the device is appropriately configured, users can move data securely to and from the USB device.
ItinerX goes further, however, helping protect the data against user errors in several ways. For example, if files are left unencrypted at the end of a session, ItinerX will automatically re-encrypt them. The product also ensures that any traces of the files, such as temporary files, are removed from the host computer.
Additionally, ItinerX performs automatic virus scanning and even scans host computers for spyware.
With Internet or network access to the server, ItinerX can automatically synchronize the files on USB storage devices with files on the server. The system will adjust for time zone differences and download spyware and antivirus updates. No trace
Along similar lines, Memory Experts International's Stealth is a secure, driverless, portable USB storage device that also leaves no trace on host computers.
Stealth is protected not only by passwords of four to 40 characters but also by an integrated biometric fingerprint reader for added authentication.
Thanks to an onboard processor and a hardware-based cryptographic engine, Stealth is self-sufficient. Biometric and password authentication occur within the device, unlike many storage devices that require the host computer to capture and process biometric and password samples, thereby leaving evidence behind.
Up to five users and 10 fingerprints can be enrolled on Stealth, which contains an onboard database of fingerprint and password information.
Protected by a 256-bit hardware encryption engine, data is stored either in flash memory ranging in size from 64M to 4G or on a 2G micro hard drive within the device.
The 3-inch by 3.5-inch Stealth runs on computers with Microsoft Windows 2000 and XP, Linux, and the Apple Computer Macintosh operating systems.
Patrick Marshall is a freelance technology writer for GCN.