UPDATE: Ken cattrell has been in touch to say that nTegrity UK Ltd is the official UK distributor for this product. It will be available in PC World in about one months’ time, with the 1GB model retailing for £29.99 and the 2GB version selling for £35.99.
Ask any IT manager or security consultant what the biggest security risk is and they’ll tell you: people. If we’re not opening attachments that scream the word “Virus!”, we’re losing data on everything from laptops, mobile phones and Flash drives. So how do you get around the security issues of carrying your personal data with you? Say hello to the Flash drive with a fingerprint scanner…
The packaging contains no mention of how much storage is on the n-Tegrity Pro, so we plugged the little fella into a USB port to find out. Amazingly, it appeared as a drive and we were astonished it could be opened to view files. But hang on, what’s this? There’s only 4MB available on the drive! That’s not even enough for a regular MP3 file. Obviously, this is because the rest of the drive is locked off from prying eyes, and sure enough you’ll only get to access it once you’ve gone through the correct procedure.
Set-up didn’t go exactly as it was laid out in the manual. But once we opted to create a backup, we were led into the program. The act of dragging your mouse over an image creates a random set of keys so it’s near impossible for them to be cracked. Meanwhile, storing your fingerprint is as easy as slowly dragging your finger over the scanner and then verifying it. What you’ve got then is an encrypted storage device, keeping your files under the lock and key of a military-grade system called AES-256.
This isn’t just a boring old Flash drive, though, as it comes pre-installed with applications such as Skype, Portable Thunderbird for email, Internet Explorer and the Miranda messenger (which includes access to Aim, ICQ, Yahoo, MSN and Jabber). That means you can access internet features without leaving your footprint on a PC, making sure your personal data is secure. There’s also a huge list of other third-party applications that can be added and launched from the Flash drive. That includes multimedia apps such as WinAmp and Last.fm – check the n-Trance website for a full list.
On top of all that hidden software, the n-tegrity Flash drive can even store your passwords and autofill them once you’ve verified the device with a finger scan.
Pull the sliding flap across and the USB connector retracts into the device to protect it from damage. The fingerprint reader is similarly covered so no harm should come to it if you happen to chuck it in a bag willy nilly. As for its functionality as a bog standard Flash drive, a 701MB file took three minutes and 38 seconds to copy onto it over a standard USB 2.0 connection – which isn’t going to break any speed records.
Overall, this is a wonderful item to give peace of mind to anyone who needs to carry their information with them. However, with no obvious UK supplier in a web search, you’ll be paying $129 (around £65) for a 1GB device in order to purchase that feeling of safety. That price reaches $149 for a 2GB drive and stretches to $239 for a 4GB Flash device.