Shortly after the appearance of portable solid-state flash drives, confidential data leakage via misplaced fingerprint USB drives became widespread. Corporate and governmental reaction was to ban their use, with some employers going so far as to super glue shut the USB ports in issued computers. Now that the industry has responded by providing secure USB drives, users have two main security options: passwords or biometrics. Some products support both. In our review we examine the competitors and compare features side by side in order to ascertain the best buy.
A quick orientation to the key features to consider in advance of a fingerprint USB drive acquisition will go a long way toward preventing buyer’s remorse. These protected flash drive products, for example, do not universally support Macintosh and Linux machines, so be sure to read the fine print prior to purchasing. Another feature that is not universal is compliance with the European Union’s directive on the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment. The directive, commonly referred to as the Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive (RoHS), took effect in 2006 in order to restrict hazardous materials in electronic equipment. If you are concerned with the high-tech trash problem, RoHS-compliant fingerprint USB thumb drives provide a way to reduce the amount of toxic waste that goes into landfills.
Given the ways in which biometric USB flash drives are vulnerable to spoofing, for those who insist on the biometric approach to security, it is a good idea to pick a fingerprint USB drive that also provides security based on password authentication.
If the fingerprint USB memory stick is to be shared, take into account the number of fingerprint record templates that the product can save. Some fingerprint USB storage products can authenticate as many as 10 different fingerprints. Some are restricted to five.
Encryption schemes in memory sticks are not all the same. Some use a proprietary encryption scheme. Others use 256-bit AES (Advanced Encryption Standard). Some use 256-bit AES but go the extra mile to achieve validation by the Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPs), a validation required for unclassified uses of cryptography within departments of the United States Government and the Government of Canada.
Help & Support
All of the protected flash drive products in our review offer free technical support via telephone or email and web forms. However, the warranty periods vary from one year to three years.
In light of these basic evaluation criteria, we find that the Kanguru Bio AES is the best, especially because it provides a password-protected approach to security in addition to biometrics. If you are using a Macintosh or Linux machine, this particular Kanguru model will be of no help, so consider the Transcend JetFlash 220 USB Flash Drive. We do not recommend the BUSlink Biometric Fingerprint USB Flash Drive.
For more information, read articles about fingerprint USB secure drives. For coverage of products that use password protection as opposed to scanner-based protection, visit our review of secure USB drives. If you would like to browse our Facebook Fan Page or follow us on Twitter, you will see many more categories of TopTenREVIEWS product coverage. At TopTenREVIEWS We Do the Research So You Don’t Have To.™