Lock it down
In a world where the ever-increasing need for data security has finally gone past the office doors and into the homes of private users, the SecureUSB BT from Secure Drive offers so, so, so many options for keeping your files safe and secure.
An award-winning flash drive like this — it was the Red Dot 2019 Award winner as well as a CES 2019 Innovation Award Honoree — can do a lot of good for people who can’t exactly handcuff their digital briefcases to their wrists but want to keep one handy and hanging off a keychain.
With the one-two punch of the SecureUSB BT and the DataLock app, you’ll have the option of locking down your drive with an assorted and stackable set of security options that require either a password, biometrics, a code sent to your phone or all three at the same time.
Security in two parts
The drive is one part of a data security tag team that links the drive to the DataLock app using Bluetooth.
The app, which can be downloaded for iOS and Android phones, is loaded with options that go past simply locking and unlocking your drive behind a password you can type on your smartphone.
We are headed into the realm of spytech with this drive because, with the flick of a thumb, you can remote-wipe the drive if, for any reason, someone’s stumbled across your open computer. Though I don’t see myself ever needing that feature — I feel safe knowing that I’ve got the nuclear option to keep my data from getting into the wrong hands.
And while you may be hard pressed to think about needing or wanting a drive as secure as this — it does open up possibilities. If you’ve ever wanted to keep a spreadsheet of accounts and passwords, or you’re like me — a teacher — and you’ve got sensitive student data to organize, you can get to work knowing that you’ve got a storage solution with multiple failsafes.
Pairing the app to your drive is easy enough. Grab the code that’s inscribed on the metal sheath of the USB port before you plug it in. After scanning for available drives using the app, you’ll have to input the code along with the password written on the paper instructions. Once everything is connected — phone to flash drive — your computer should instantly gain access.
I was surprised at how quick and snappy things worked — we’re talking instant inputs and instant access. Just as soon as I input the code to unlock the drive, I heard the Windows alert that something was connected to my computer, and the SecureUSB BT’s folder opened up on my screen.
Deep diving into the drive settings, you’ll find a list of options that include the ability to change the name of the drive, update the password, and initialize two-factor authentication in order to receive codes over text. Every time you go to unlock the phone, a six-digit code will appear on your smartphone.
You can also set up password recovery to receive passwords on your phone in case you forget them. If you’re prone to constantly forgetting your codes, you can opt to have the app remember the password for you. My favorite option is allowing for biometric unlock using my fingerprint.
In the locking options section, you can set a timer for locking the drive automatically after a period of inactivity. If you want the drive to lock when you step away from your drive, there’s an option for that too. And if you want to limit copy and write access, there’s an option to make the drive read-only.
The last two options are for resetting the drive and wiping it remotely.
It’s all pretty self-explanatory and easy to navigate. Tooltips will clarify certain aspects, but the app gets points for being straightforward and to the point. If you ever buy or receive another drive, you can add it to the list of drives and change the individual settings for each drive however you decide.
Built like a safe
I tested the SecureUSB BT by copying small and big files into it. I loaded up an Apex Legends 1440p gameplay video onto the drive after I formatted it for exFAT — it came out of the box formatted as FAT, and it kept saying the drive didn’t have enough space for the file.
Upon opening up the video from the drive, the file opened instantly. The video has a total bitrate of 49546kbps, and it played smoothly without any noticeable stutters.
Though the drive is very light when held in your hand — it weights 16 grams with the metal sleeve and 12 grams without — the parts inside the drive have been covered in epoxy, which prevents anyone from physically removing the drive from its case. The BT is also IP57 rated for its dust and water resistance.
Copying the 6.92GB file took several minutes with an average write speed that hovered around 31.8MB per second. According to the website, transfer write speeds go as high as 43MB per second and transfer read speeds can go up to 130MB per second.
The “real-time military grade AES – XTS 256-bit full-disk hardware encryption” would take a fast Macbook trying to brute force its way in a trillion years. Make that trillions multiplied by trillions multiplied by trillions. Until quantum computing becomes a thing, this drive won’t give up your data anytime soon.
And if quantum computing does become a thing, 10 failed attempts to access the drive will automatically erase everything on it. Talk about having your back, your front, and your sides.
When it comes to malicious software getting into your drive through a USB port, the BT will not accept any firmware updates — the site says it’s “Immune to bad USB.” For further virus protection, the drive comes preloaded with DriveSecurity ESET Antivirus along with a one-year license.
A three-year limited warranty is like the plastic wrapper over the paper bag on top of a metal casing housing an adamantium skeleton.
At the current price of $119 for the 16GB version (32GB – $159, 64GB – $189), the SecureUSB BT might be more drive than most home users will need. But if you need one drive for those very precious files — an electronic vault for your bank statements, client files, confidential agreements, or that top-secret music album that needs to be delivered to the studio — this is your best option.
Not only is it physically tough, the well-thought hardware and software bits and pieces create a mesh of digital links that will keep your data safe. Just make sure you have your phone charged and working because you won’t be able to do much without that part of the equation. There’s another drive we reviewed with a keypad built into the case, but it relies on batteries to keep working.
The SecureUSB BT is less fuss and more focused on doing the job it needs to do — protection and security.
SecureUSB BT 16GB
This review is based on an review-sample 16GB drive sent to us from the company.