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US government gives iStorage certification for tamper-resistant memory sticks

10 Jan 2013
iStorage Datashur Encryted USB flash drive

Portable storage specialist iStorage has been awarded the US government's FIPS 140-2 Level 3 certification for its Datashur secure USB flash drives.

This means it has secured certification for testing that goes beyond encryption and requires resistance to physical tampering.

Available in 4GB, 8GB, 16GB and 32GB versions, the Datashur is hailed as reaching the "IT security ultimate seal of approval" by iStorage. However, FIPS 140-2 also includes a Level 4 certification, which the Datashur has not yet passed.

The current certification demonstrates that the Datashur has passed a set of rigorous testing procedures in order to meet some of the highest standards for encryption algorithms and data protection issued by the US government's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

FIPS 140-2 Level 3 requires that a device must have a high probability of detecting and responding to attempts at physical access or modification of the cryptographic module, according to NIST, which may include the use of strong enclosures or tamper detection circuitry.

In the case of the Datashur, the internal components are completely coated in a black epoxy resin, which results in their destruction if an attacker attempts to remove it in order to access the circuitry, a spokesperson for iStorage told V3.

"We are very proud to have received FIPS 140-2 Level 3 accreditation for the Datashur," said iStorage chief executive John Michael.

"This rigorous testing and certification procedure offers reassurance for CIOs and IT managers that the Datashur meets the strictest standards of data protection, which is a vital and critical requirement for today's data security environment," he added.

This protection comes on top of the device's built-in 256-bit AES hardware encryption, which uses a compact on-board keypad for users to enter their PIN, avoiding any software keyloggers or malware that might capture a PIN entered via a PC keyboard.

The iStorage Datashur is priced at £39 for the 4GB device, up to £99 for the 32GB model.

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Daniel Robinson

Daniel Robinson is technology editor at V3, and has been working as a technology journalist for over two decades. Dan has served on a number of publications including PC Direct and enterprise news publication IT Week. Areas of coverage include desktops, laptops, smartphones, enterprise mobility, storage, networks, servers, microprocessors, virtualisation and cloud computing.

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