You hear it often enough: workers who lose USB sticks which sensitive data will be on the streets. With an encrypted USB stick that can even prevent theft. In this review we look at the Kingston DataTraveler Vault and the DataTraveler G2 4000, which should also another next to safely quickly through their USB 3.0 interface.
Each USB drive is suitable for software-based encryption, but this is called “brute force” attacks possible. With a long and complex password (which is not based on words, names and well-known series of numbers or dates) can you hedge against this, but another possibility is to use hardware-based encryption. At the time that the password is entered too often incorrectly, the sticks are reset or blocked, so that it is permanently impossible to arrive at the data.
This story we described in more detail in a previous review. Unfortunately the products we discussed some shortcomings in that test. So had the model with the highest certification from the US government a USB 2.0 interface, so he was rather slow. Also, some products were less available. The products in this test, this is no longer an issue, because they are good stock and a USB 3.0 bus.
Incidentally fits all these products the note that waterproof encryption is virtually impossible. Even sticks with the highest security certificate are cracked in the past – but this you must of course be an expert hacker.
The two sticks differ in features close. The included software is identical, except for the part where the name of the device is indicated. Once you get the USB drive away in a system, a simulated DVD-RW drive containing the Kingston software and manual. For this, no administrator rights are required and you do not need to install. The software is not very extensive, but does offer the basic features you would want. If you forget your password, you can reset the drive and enter a new password. Also you can enter your contact information so that any finder can bring him back to you. On the next page we screenshots to see how the software works exactly, on this page, we go a little deeper into the sticks themselves.
The biggest difference is actually the official certification that they possess, respectively FIPS 197 and FIPS 140-2. While the number might suggest otherwise, FIPS 140-2 ‘higher’ than FIPS 197, of which more later.
The housing of the Kingston Data Traveler Vault is solid and consists of a combination of aluminum and plastic. Down the stick has a blue LED that flashes when it is used. He has a USB 3.0 bus, so it should be relatively quick for a secure flash drive.
The cheaper DataTraveler Vault FIPS 197, which in practice comes down to validated AES encryption. If we compare it with the Integral Crypto Dual FIPS 197 64GB, then he is no different software options. However, a drawback that it does not permit a “master” password features, which is a shame for organizations.
On average, the DataTraveler Vault costs 95 euros, which he per gigabyte is slightly more expensive than the Integral. However, in absolute terms it is again cheaper because it has a smaller capacity.
Appearance seems DataTraveler 4000 very much like a black version of its smaller sibling, but still there is a difference. On the outside there is namely applied a coating of titanium, also making him feel a lot heavier than the Vault. Just as the Vault has a USB 3.0 bus.
Basically FIPS 140-2 should provide a greater degree of safety than FIPS 197. FIPS 140-2 regulations are very complex, but one of the most important rules is that the product ‘tamper-evident’ should be. That is, if people have doctored it, then this should be clearly visible. Not really necessary for a missing USB drive, but for organizations and governments can be useful.
The price is slightly higher than that of the DataTraveler Vault: you pay 132 euros for this stick. Interestingly, he is thus cheaper per gigabyte than comparable Integral Crypto Drive FIPS 140-2 we tested, which also has a capacity of 32GB, but cost 146 euros.
The new Kingston FIPS drives are fast and easy to use. They also provide a high level of security through encryption that is applied. In itself there is nothing new to these individual elements, but the combination we have not seen before. The Kingston DataTraveler 4000 G2 offers the highest FIPS 140-2 certification and the highest speed we measured so far. Comparable Integral Crypto Drive FIPS 140-2 32GB is not only slower than the DataTraveler 4000, but due to its USB 2.0 bus he is the slowest drive in the test. In addition, he is also slightly more expensive. The DataTraveler 4000 is clearly the better choice.
The DataTraveler Vault is pretty fast, and comes second in the test in terms of speed. He ‘only’ the FIPS 197 certification, but it is much cheaper than the DataTraveler G2 4000: 95 euros compared to 132 euros. Nevertheless, it is relatively expensive. The Integral Crypto Dual FIPS 197 64GB has a lower price per gigabyte and has the ability to set a master password. In that case, the Integral thus a better price / quality ratio.
Which stick do you want? Actually, the security FIPS 197 provides for private persons more than enough, as the underlying encryption is identical. Things like ‘tamper-evident’ are more useful for government organizations and companies that probably have something extra security provided by FIPS 140-2.