Review by Michael Smith (Veshengro)
SafeStick® Business edition is a password protected USB Flash Drive with automatic hardware encryption. It secures stored information in an instant and user friendly way. Insert it, set a password and start using it. No other product combines corporate security and flexibility requirements like SafeStick® does.
Unlike other encrypted USB flash drives there is no encryption program to launch and set up on the stick and on the PC.
I received a sample of the SafeStick drive at the recent Infosec 2008 held at London's Olympia and once I had emailed for the factory password and received same everything else was just plain sailing.
Once you open the stick with the factory password (for fist use) and then set up your own password you simply add your files.
Afterwards, every time that you insert the stick into the PC you are being prompted for your password. This is all that is required to keep your data safe, secure and encrypted to AES256 military-grade hardware encryption. To remove drive from PC you right click on the “Blockmaster” symbol in the system tray and then chose “lock & eject” and that's it. All administration of the SafeStick is achieved by a right click on the icon in the system tray.
The slimline case is metal and its size allows to get the stick inserted in small spaces, such as on crowded hubs or on Laptops and Notebooks.
Linux support is possible via VMware for Linux and the same virtual machine software is required to use the stick on Mac OSX.
This is the first encrypted USB flash drive that I have encountered that actually mentions Linux compatibility, even though in order to achieve this VMware has to be installed on any such Linux machine. Direct Windows and Linux support together would still be much better and is definitely be something that should be aimed for, I think. But I must applaud this already as a very good way and point, and while it does require additional software to run the SafeStick on other systems apart from Windows least Linux (and Mac) is being considered in this case as being in existence.
Therefore this seems to be the only one, or one of a very small number, of such encrypted pen drives (still have to see others that do though), that offers full cross-platform interoperability of sorts even though the Linux PC or the Mac will have to have VMware installed. That is, probably, something one could live with, but, as said already, direct interchangeability would be best of all.
As soon as I can work out how to actually install VMware on my Ubuntu “Dapper Drake” machine I shall test it there too.
As I have said in the intro of this journal, I am no geek so sometimes I do need a little hand still when it comes to such things as installing add-ons to Linux, and even though I love Ubuntu and Linux and will, as soon as possible for me, migrate over entirely to Linux, I still have to learn how to do some of the things on that system.
The great thing, as said, with SafeStick, in my opinion, is that no (additional) software needs to be installed and/or run for the purpose of securing your data on the drive.
As someone who has tested encrypted stick of a number of different manufacturers and distributors before I must say that SafeStick is the easiest. It is truly a “plug & work” product.
- Ease of use
- No software installation for encryption or otherwise
- Hard metal case
- Slimline case
- Linux and Mac support through VMware (must be on the host machines)
- No direct Linux and Mac support (needs installation of VMware)
Official reseller for the Blockmaster SafeStick in the United Kingdom is Softek Limited - http://www.softek.co.uk
© M Smith (Veshengro), April 2008