A sleek and secure USB drive, the DataTraveler's integrated keypad and top-of-the-line encryption make it a wise choice for businesses and individuals looking to keep sensitive data safe.
Military-grade encryption, brute force protection, well-built, easy to use
Expensive, middling transfer speeds
Size: 16GB, 32GB
Encryption: 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard
Keypad: 10-key alphanumerical
Compatible with: Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, OS X 10.8 and later, Linux 2.6 and later, Chrome OS and Android
A user manual is included on the drive, which starts off locked by the factory default passcode. It does come in handy, though, and getting the DataTraveler 2000 ready is a fairly simple process. The first order of business is to change the PIN, which is done by entering the default code printed on the packaging, double-tapping the Lock key, then entering the new code.
It's easy stuff, although if the attempt to change a password isn't completed properly for whatever reason, it will reset to the existing PIN rather than locking the user out.
Once the PIN is saved, the drive requires no additional software. Indeed, it never did to begin with. Simply unlock, enter it into a USB port and it will quickly install itself like any other USB stick.
Security and features
The DataTraveler 2000 employs the 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) using XTS block cipher mode. In simple terms, this means that any saved data is divided into blocks. Each block is then scrambled over 14 rounds of encryption. That's sufficiently secure to make AES the favoured encryption standard of the US military and GCHQ's Communications-Elections Security Group. It's not bad for a consumer-friendly device, although the DataTraveler 2000 does seem like it would be most at home protecting the sensitive data of businesses and NGOs.
PINs can be seven to 15 digits in length, and repeating or consecutive numbers are not allowed, preventing the setting of boneheaded codes like 123456789. Forcing owners to be more creative is no bad thing considering recent research from Splash Data showing that the world's most popular password is 123456.
Another clever inclusion is Read-Only mode, which allows other users to borrow the drive and view its contents but without being able to add, remove or edit anything. This mode is turned on and off with simple, unchangeable two-digit codes, but since inputting them requires the master PIN to be entered first, the mode still can't be toggled by anyone other than the main owner or admin.
The DataTraveler 2000 also has the nuclear option of data protection in the form of a self-destruct feature. Entering the wrong PIN 10 times in a row will result in all data on the drive being deleted. An onboard random number generator then creates a new encryption key, and the PIN will reset to the factory default.
This does mean that someone could intentionally wipe the contents of someone else's drive without needing to know the PIN, but they wouldn't be able to access those files for themselves. As a data theft prevention tool, then, the DataTraveler 2000 can take some impressively bold and effective measures if required.
Next: Performance, storage and conclusions