MXI Security Stealth MXP device with MojoPac – A Product Review

Stealth MXP is taking MojoPac to the next level

Review by Michael Smith

MXI Security is the leader in providing superior managed portable security solutions designed to meet the highest security and privacy standards of even the most demanding customers.

Stealth MXP offers truly portable security in a hostile digital world which is transparent, simple and trustworthy for the user with benefits are for the user and the organization alike.

The integrated mobile virtual desktop solution enables users to securely carry their entire desktop environment including applications, files and settings on a portable USB drive and access it from any PC – at work, home, at a customer site or on a public computer -- online or offline. MXI Security USB portable security devices ensure that RingCube’s high performance virtual workspaces are protected by the highest 2-factor biometric user authentication and the strongest AES 256-bit hardware encryption to prevent data leakage and unauthorized access.

In order as to not to break the limits of the size of a review I shall, in this instance, not concentrate on the technical data and such of MXI's Security Stealth MXP, as those details are obtainable from MXI's website, but just on the Stealth MXP + MojoPac as a unit.

The test unit, a 1GB device, supplied by MXI's UK offices via OnPR in Germany, came preloaded with Mojopac Enterprise virtual desktop environment and a remote Citrix-based desktop.

Having had the occasion to test MojoPac in general as well I must say that the combination of the Stealth MXP with the MojoPac Enterprise takes MojoPac to the next level for sure.

For a little explanation about MojoPac itself please see my review on MojoPac in general.

With the right configuration and especially when installed on a Stealth MXP biometric secured USB drive from MXI Security it becomes a highly secure virtual computer desktop that can be used on any host computer running Windows XP (and Vista?).

Increasingly, corporate resources are being accessed, often already as a matter of routine, from unmanaged endpoints. This could be employees working from their home computers, consultants and contractors using their personal assets, and corporate road warriors using public resources such as hotel business centers and kiosks, or Intenet cafes even.

These unmanaged environments increase the risk of introducing viruses, spyware, and other threats to corporate resources. In addition, these usage scenarios create opportunities for losing data - whether intentional or unintentional - through key-loggers, USB ports, optical drives and printing or screen captures. In addition to that many computers store information of transactions and anyone wishing to know what has been done on the PC could, with the right means, find the trace and even passwords.

Using MojoPac, however, via the Stealth MXP USB drive such problems are significantly reduced to a very small percentage, as the device and MojoPac leave no electronic footprint behind on the host computer, and no passwords and such like either.

I said that problems as mentioned above are reduced to a very small percentage as I would hate to say that it would never be possible to have any environment compromised. Total security, more than likely, is something that will never 100% possible and attainable.

The benefits of MojoPac on a Stealth MXP USB drive are:
  1. A truly mobile yet secure, encrypted computing environment allowing end users to be productive on any desktop device, whether at a client, a hotel or conference business center, or elsewhere.
  2. A managed environment that is isolated from the host PC insuring an added security layer between the corporate application environment and the host.
  3. Desktop scan for the presence of necessary endpoint security applications to extend corporate security policies to unmanaged endpoints.
  4. A simplified backup strategy saving time and money while increasing productivity.
With MojoPac, an organization or enterprise can encapsulate an entire desktop software environment including applications, data, settings, and security policies and then run the environment on any personal computer. Any unmanaged desktop is instantly transformed into a secure corporate environment, isolated from the host system. The organization can also enforce security policies within the environment and prevent actions such as printing, writing to optical or USB drives, or copying from the clipboard. This ability to control the copying of corporate data off the endpoint greatly improves an organization's ability to control desktop data leakage.

As an added measure of security, MojoPac can also scan the host before booting to detect the presence of endpoint security applications such as antivirus, antispyware, antipshishing, and firewalls. If the endpoint does not meet the minimum corporate security requirements for its computing environment, MojoPac can abort execution and warn the end user. This insures that MojoPac virtual desktop will operate on an acceptable host machine.

Finally, because the entire MojoPac image (not only data, but applications and settings) is easily encrypted and backed up, MojoPac is safer and easier to recover in case of loss or theft. This enables a much quicker, seamless, and more transparent recovery of the users environment when compared to the procedure to recover a typical laptop.

Workers who travel from office to office, or between the office and home, do like the convenience of having their desktop available without having to carry a notebook from point to point. Virtual desktops that run off a USB flash or hard drive give users a portable personality with all of their applications, data and preferences delivered in a familiar work environment that is available offline on any PC - It is critical that organizations secure the virtual desktop environment with encryption, strong authentication and host security checks to verify that the host is secure and trusted before the user can login.

With Mojopac, in conjunction with the Stealth MXP USB device from MXI Security, should a loss or theft occur, it will be nigh on impossible for the finder or thief to actually gain access to the information, the data, stored on the device and to the MojoPac desktop and the data on its own C drive.

So, all in all, the Stealth MXP USB drive with MojoPac if the best solution possible, and hence this should be something that government agencies and contractors definitely should consider investing in, for each and every operator who has to work away from the secured environment of the PC on the secure office network.

Even for the road warrior, who is freelance, for the Web Worker on the move, such a device could do away with having to slog a full laptop around with him or her and all he or she would really need is a Stealth MXP with MojoPac and his or her PDA or Pocket PC. In other words, no road warrior, whether corporate or self-employed and freelance should be without one.

Aside from all the other benefits, such as secure computing from any PC or laptop, the MXI Security Stealth MXP device also could be said to have some very good green credentials. Why do I say that? Simple! Not needing to purchase x-amount of laptops for a workforce means fewer of those around – hence reducing the environmental footprint as PCs as well as power usage, In addition to that there are not the x-amount of laptops to be recycled afterwards when they have reached the end of their – commercial – life. Again a reduction of the environmental impact.

While the MXI Security Stealth MXP stick (with Mojopac) works on both USB 1.1 and USB 2, and while for launching Access alone and for using the device as secure data storage USB 1.1 may suffice and works well enough, for using Mojopac USB 2 is definitely the best and should be used. Even though it does also work on USB 1.1 it is a lot lot slower on that version of the USB than on version 2, as I have found out.

From a user point of view the device is easy to initialize and set up with password and finger scan and while that initial setting up take a little while – it did with me but then I was running it on a USB 1.1 connection on a system that may not have the ideal configuration – once that is done the device runs quick and smooth.

Installing other software on the stick, such as a different browser than the default IE, or a word processor and such (Notepad it not the ideal tool for writing stuff), is achieved in the same way as one would on a “proper” PC. The “C” drive shown on Mojopac when active is in fact a drive on the device and it not the “C” drive of the host. Other drives of the host, however, show up just as they are on the host PC, thus enabling other media, such as other USB sticks, CDs, etc. to be used.

In addition to Mojopac Enterprise edition, the virtual secure desktop environment, the MXP stick supplied to me for review purposes also came installed with a link to a Citrix environment desktop of MXI's in Canada and while that kind of environment – requiring to be online though – is a solution and one that may be one that some enterprises and governments favor – maybe – my personal choice would be the Mojopac virtual operating system and desktop.

While my system that I use for testing here is a little on the slow side I certainly – as I have had the opportunity to more than once now to take Mojopac for a ride on other host PCs with USB 2 and better memory – know what it is capable of and I must say that I have – sort of – fallen in love with Mojopac and we have become rather good friends recently.

I have installed on the device my own browser, as I prefer to use Firefox, and also a small open source word processor, in this case Abi Word, as I did not want to install the entire Open Office suite, for instance, and neither MS Word. On the other hand neither Notepad and Wordpad were sufficient for my needs; hence the need to get a small proper word processor installed. In this way I am now up and running, as far as I am concerned, to work securely from any place, whether press offices at (trade) shows or Internet cafes or someone else's PC, and this is a nice feeling. Also, I do not have to lug a laptop PC about with me.

In the main all I can say is good things about the Stealth MXP with Mojopac. I for one, though, would love it to be usable, as secure data storage as well as a virtual desktop, on Linux systems and other operating systems. But, maybe, this could still be coming at some time. Let us hope so.

All in all I can but say that I like the device and its capabilities and while, initially, I was a little disappointed with Mojopac, due to some hiccups from the initial installation point and the the fact of my systems, which are purposely low in memory and such for the testing of open source, were slow with it, I am definitely giving it a 9 out of 10. It would have been a full 10 out of 10 had it Linux interoperability, seeing that many government departments all around the world are beginning to use various Linux distros as their main systems.

© M Smith (Veshengro), September 2008