Kingston, IronKey announce new FIPS-certified USB drives

FIPS certification is important, or not, depending on whom you ask

In hardware-based encryption, the key never leaves the hardware device, thus you can't access them by simply looking at the device's memory. And, the keys in both USB drives are also encrypted, so even if they were retrieved, they would not be readable.

Kingston's said that the BlackBox has data transfer rates of up to 24 MB/sec. read and up to 20 MB/sec. writes. The drive locks down and reformats after 10 unsuccessful log-ins, has no admin rights or application installation requirements, is waterproof and comes with a five-year warranty with 24/7 customer support. The drive requires two free consecutive drive letters for use and is compatible with Windows Vista (32-bit only); Windows 2000 (SP3, SP4); and Windows XP (SP1, SP2).

The IronKey drive data transfer rates differ according to the capacity of the drive, according to the company. Its 4GB model is faster than the 1GB. Computerworld has tested the IronKey 4GB model, which is listed as having a 18MB/sec. write and 25MB/sec. read rate. Hd Tach tests showed speeds well above IronKey's literature: 31MB/sec. burst speed, an average read rate of 29.6MB/sec., and a 6-millisecond random access rate. The CPU utilization rate was vastly higher than any other drive we tested, at 22 per cent.


The Kingston BlackBox comes in 2GB, 4GB and 8GB versions with respective retail prices of US$165, $242, and $424.

The Ironkey Enterprise drive comes in 1GB, 2GB, 4GB and 8GB versions with respective retail prices of US$79, $109, $149 and $299.

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