As lots of people, whether professionals or home users, feel the need for superior protection for their sensitive data, encrypted drives have become a real necessity nowadays. The fear of someone hacking your computer and leaking important data is quite pervasive and it doesn’t really matter what type of data needs to be protected but with how much care the sensitive information is handled. By getting yourself an encrypted drive, the problem of data integrity can be solved. You could also be interested in our articles about the best stick pc and the best hard drive docking stations.
Encrypted drives aren’t like ordinary ones as they offer strong levels of security such as password protection and fingerprint scanners to access your information. They are made with portability in mind, and you can take them with you and have the peace of mind that no one can access your device without the correct password or biometric validation. It’s very important to be careful when you set the password because if you forget it, usually these devices are designed to erase all the data if it detects too many incorrect password entries.
If getting a highly capable encrypted flash or hard drive is your goal, then you need to evaluate some characteristics to be absolutely confident in your buying decision. The things you have to be aware of are:
1. Drive capacity
If you have a lot of data that needs to be stored securely, then an encrypted hard drive is the way to go. Some models on the market offer a few terabytes of space to accommodate users in need of larger capacities. USB flash drives are not as expensive and are more portable but come with less space for storing sensitive information.
2. Data transfer rate
This figure is relevant if you need to transfer considerable volumes of data and don’t want to waste too much time. To ensure that you get a solid data transfer rate, look for USB 3.0 flash drives and 7200 RPM or more and a large cache size if you want to get an encrypted hard drive.
Different encrypted drives offer different levels of protection. It also depends on personal preference if you would rather get prompted to enter a password or just scan a fingerprint when you access the stored information. The AES data encryption algorithm is also worth mentioning because it comes with different standards, ECB (Electronic Code Book), CBC (Cipher Block Chaining), and XTS. ECB is the most basic, CBC is more advanced while XTS is one of the best algorithms in terms of security.
Now that you have a good idea about what features to look for, this article will present the encrypted drives that are most recommended for their outstanding qualities and the excellent value for their cost.
Best Encrypted Flash Drive
Bringing security right to your fingertips with ease, the Apricorn Aegis Secure Key USB encrypted flash drive can give a lot of peace of mind if you need to safely store your private data. It boasts a FIPS 140-2 validation, military-grade AES CBC encryption, independent user and admin PINs among many others. The price is one of the highlights as it’s extremely competitive and there are also multiple capacities available.
Securing your precious data is the primary purpose of any encrypted drive and the Secure Key doesn’t disappoint. It comes with 256-bit AES CBC hardware encryption and it has been tested and validated by FIPS for ensuring that it meets the highest standard for computer information security.
The onboard alphanumeric keypad is used for unlocking the drive with a 7-15 digit PIN. It prevents hardware and software key logging attempts to steal your entered password through the host system. The security system on this unit is powered by a rechargeable battery to enter the password before you connect the device through the USB port.
This encrypted drive uses a software free design and is designed to be ready to go straight out of the box. It’s fully compatible with all operating systems like Windows, Mac OS, and Linux. What’s great about the Aegis Secure Key is how it can be configured with Independent User and Admin PINs which means the drive is ideal for corporate and government deployment.
The drive reset feature is in place for clearing both User and Admin PINs as it destroys the stored information and generates a brand new random encryption key. In this way, the flash drive can be reused and this process can be repeated as many times as necessary.
Encased in a durable aluminum housing and being IP57 certified, you can protect your data anywhere you go. The protection against physical damage is just an extra layer of protection and it’s nice to have it for any encrypted flash drive. The Apricorn Aegis Secure Key is an amazing drive in all regards and is definitely the top pick if you want a high-quality USB encrypted flash drive.
- FIPS 140-2 Level 3 Validated
- Capacities of 4, 8, 16, and 32 GB
- PIN activated 7-15 digits with Alphanumeric Keypad
- Military grade AES 256-bit CBC hardware encryption
- Durable aluminum housing
- IP57 dust and water resistant
One of the best options for an encrypted flash drive is the Kingston DataTraveler Vault Privacy, a 3.0 USB drive which offers one of the strongest protection for your data. It comes with business-grade security as it has AES hardware-based encryption in XTS mode. This unit represents a relatively affordable solution to keep your information safe.
This model is available in some variants, a standard, managed and anti-virus one. The managed model supports SafeConsole management to allow for more control using a special set of management tools. IT administrators are able to centrally manage secure USB drives to provide a high level of support and to meet compliance requirements.
Regarding the Anti-Virus model, Kingston devised this one with easy-to-deploy Anti-Virus protection from ESET which ensures that your drive is completely protected from viruses, spyware, rootkits, adware, and any other similar threats. Instant alerts are provided by the NOD32 anti-virus engine. There’s no installation that has to be done and you get a pre-activated license which lasts for 5 years.
All models rely on super fast 3.0 USB technology that delivers transfer speeds without compromises. Complex password protection is enforced to protect 100 percent of the stored data. If 10 intrusion attempts are detected, the device enters into lock-down mode and reformats itself.
Customization is key for Kingston as you can manage the drives in a variety of ways. Some good examples are the serialization numbering, customized product identifier, and co-logo to integrate into the management software.
Considering how performant and configurable it is, the Kingston DataTraveler Vault Privacy can meet any demanding internal corporate IT requirements with ease. This model is available in multiple capacities to choose the right one for your exact needs. Any professional that handles sensitive data can benefit a lot from such an encrypted flash drive, and this model is highly recommended.
- 256-bit AES hardware-based encryption
- Optional Anti-Virus protection from ESET
- Highly customizable
- SuperSpeed USB 3.0 technology
- Capacities: 4, 8, 16, 32, and 64 GB
Best Encrypted External Hard Drive
Apricorn is one of the leaders on the market for secure data storage and they have lots of valuable encrypted drives. They also manufacture quality protected hard drives like the Aegis Padlock A25-3PL256 which offers lots of great features for the money.
Because Apricorn understands that security is the most important aspect of any device like this, it equipped this model with XTS hardware encryption which is considered the strongest algorithm available. This unit can encrypt all data on-the-fly and utilizes FIPS PUB 197 validated encryption algorithm.
No setup or operation is required to efficiently run it, as it has the ability to run well on any platform making it ideal for corporate deployments. With the Aegis Configurator you can create custom profiles and at the same time you can set up more compatible devices very quickly.
Authentication is done using the onboard keypad which eliminates software hacking and key-logging attack vectors. The buttons are coated with urethane to make them more resistant to wear. The internal components of the drives also get a special treatment to protect the data. They are completely enveloped by a tough epoxy compound which makes it so you can’t gain physical access to the drive without permanently damaging the electronics inside.
There are many features packed in this encrypted drive including a drive reset feature and data recovery PINs. The number of brute force PIN entries is programmable and a self-destruct feature requires a total reset to redeploy the drive if it’s activated. When in lock override mode, the drive will stay unlocked through USB port re-enumeration like when it passes through a virtual machine or during reboot.
Taking everything that’s been said about the Apricorn Aegis Padlock A25-3PL256, the verdict is generally highly positive. There are good capacities to choose from, with a maximum of 2 TB, plenty of space to store sensitive data. At this price point, it’s difficult to find a similar device that encrypts your data more securely and has so many performant features. Definitely an ideal choice for any corporate environment or for anyone who wishes to keep important information extremely secure.
- FIPS PUB 197 Validated Encryption Algorithm
- USB 3.0 Connection
- Software Free Design
- Tough Epoxy Coating
- Compact Design
- Capacities: 500 GB, 1 TB, and 2 TB
Best Encrypted Thumb Drive
Offering data security of military grade hardware encryption, the Integral Crypto is FIPS 197 certified and comes in a solid triple-layer case design which ensures that your precious data is perfectly protected wherever you go. If you want a more affordable option, the Crypto Drive has lots of available capacities and can definitely match your security needs.
AES 256-bit hardware encryption which is integrated into this model is clearly superior to software encryption of other models. To verify the accuracy of its protective features, the Crypto Drive has been tested by an independent committee, the Federal Information Processing Standards and has been validated with FIPS 197.
One of the benefits of this drive is the zero footprint, no software installation has to be done before you can start using it. It operates comfortably with endpoint security solutions as it utilizes the embedded unique ID and can work without administrator privileges on any Windows and Mac OS version.
To access your data you will be prompted to authenticate with a correct alphanumeric 8-16 character password and so, setting a high strength password is mandatory. There’s the possibility to use a password hint to help you remember it.
Data will be automatically erased from your drive if you fail the password six times so you need to keep this in mind. It resets in this situation and the encryption key will also be securely destroyed. Interestingly, the drive records the failed attempts and it will keep count when reinserted.
Integral added an auto-lock feature for encrypting all data and lock the drive when it’s removed from a PC or in case the screen saver is activated on the host PC. Contact details can be added to the unit and can be viewed without having to compromise the encrypted data.
The Integral Crypto Drive has it all figured out in terms of security and due to its rugged design which protects against shocks and water, it’s also reliable to take it with you anywhere. The imposed limit for how many characters the password needs to have could be considered a drawback but apart from that, this USB encrypted flash drive is a very good data protection device for its cost.
- Rugged waterproof design
- FIPS 197 military-level encryption
- 256-bit encrypted USB Flash Drive
- Suitable for Windows and Mac
- User-friendly interface
- 4, 8, 16, and 32 GB variants
Lepin’s advanced military grade Secure Key encrypted flash drive offers lots of advantages for anyone looking to increase the security of their files. It provides one of the best algorithms for keeping your data safe and is highly configurable to suit your needs or those of a corporation. Given the fact that this is a relatively low-cost product, this is one interesting option to consider.
This encrypted drive comes with a software-free operation and delivers excellent cross-platform compatibility bringing you the most advanced XTS encryption that boasts military grade information security. Besides physical security, it also offers cryptographic key management. It has a very easy to use numeric keypad which is needed for entering the 6-15 digits PIN which you’ll have to set up beforehand.
The PIN has to be entered before connecting the device to the USB port of your host system so to keep the Lepin Secure Key charged, a battery has been installed which can always be recharged. One important aspect regarding the security of this drive is that it’s immune to keylogger attacks as the PIN isn’t entered through a computer’s keyboard. There’s no need to worry about someone stealing the drive’s PIN.
This unit has an automatic lock-on feature for extra peace of mind when you unplug the drive from the USB port of a computer or in the event of the USB port powering down. It’s basically impossible for it to be left unlocked accidentally.
Corporate and government deployments are easily covered by this encrypted flash drive as it offers configuration for independent User and Admin PINs. A self-destructive feature is also present so that your data is completely safe from getting on the wrong hands. When the PIN is incorrectly entered 10 consecutive times, the device automatically deletes the encryption key and erases the data.
When you also take into account the powerful zinc alloy shell which resists without issues water and shocks, the Lepin Secure Key seems like a really worthy investment in an encrypted flash drive if you have some seriously important data that needs to be kept safe. There are only 16 and 32 GB variants but they should be enough for documents and stuff like that so all in all this is a good choice.
- PIN-Activated 6 – 15 digits
- 256-bit AES XTS Hardware Encryption
- Easy to use
- Anti Hackers feature
- Dust and Water resistant zinc alloy shell
- 16 GB and 32 GB variants
Farsler makes some advanced encrypted USB drives which offer generous capacities and fingerprint recognition for ensuring the best security for your files. It works like any other USB drive except that it has a private folder which can only be accessed by biometric validation. Quick, efficient, and highly affordable, this drive earns a spot on this list of the best encrypted drives.
This USB stick offers rapid identification and double storage. It’s a safe storage tool for any of your important files as it uses powerful biometric technology to prevent unauthorized access to data.
The push-pull design is practical and the drive looks quite attractive, resembling a normal USB thumb drive except that it feels like a quality product. It’s solidly made, fairly rugged as it’s clear that Farsler intended to create a device that lasts in time.
Setting up the drive is a breeze thanks to the plug-and-play capabilities of the unit. It’s compatible with all the newer versions of Windows from XP to Windows 10 and works well with Linux and Mac too. In terms of speed, it comes with the USB 3.0 standard performance. Considering the price, this is understandable and it shouldn’t be such a big issue if you don’t often transfer larger volumes of data.
A double sector feature is integrated directly so that you have both public and hidden folders on the drive. The hidden one is the secure place where you can keep essential information far from prying eyes and it only appears after the fingerprint authentification is a success.
Performing flawlessly for protection valuable files from falling into the wrong hands, the Farsler encrypted flash drive does a decent job in all regards. It’s easy to use and seems to be reliably built. Overall, it’s a recommended option for the money. If you wish to avoid having your data stolen at all costs, opting for such a device is a no-brainer.
- Fingerprint encryption
- Dual storage
- Compatible with Windows, Linux, and Mac
- 32/64 GB variants
Designed for maximum security and extremely user-friendly, the innoPlus encrypted USB flash drive is an impressive piece of equipment for anyone with sensitive data. The hardware-based AES 256-bit data encryption that functions in XTS mode is one of the main highlights of this device.
The drive is waterproof and dustproof as it has an IP57 certified rating. A black aluminum alloy body gives a premium quality feel to it and offers complete impact protection besides a sleek look.
As it’s FIPS 197 certified, this drive it’s ideal for government, finance, or healthcare professionals and more. This a frequent corporate IT requirement but it’s not only restricted to professional environments. Any person can benefit from the superior level of safety offered by this unit if they want to keep their files private.
The alphanumeric keypad of the drive is used to enter a PIN which can put a solid lock on the unit so that only those who know the word or number combination can gain access to it. Encryption is hardware-based and done on the drive without leaving any trace of the PIN on the system.
Due to the fact that the innoPlus flash drive is OS independent, it can be compatible with virtually any device that has a USB 2.0 or USB 3.0 port. No drivers or special software is required to operate, administrator privilege isn’t necessary so this is a very convenient product. There’s also no interference with the onboard anti-virus of a host computer.
A quality encrypted USB flash drive, the innoPlus is one of the most advanced models in recent years. It provides complete peace of mind as it fully secures your most precious information in a very durable device. Considering everything that’s been said, this unit is highly recommended as a suitable encryption device for anyone handling sensitive data.
- AES-XTS Military Grade Encryption
- User-friendly, Plug and Play
- Waterproof/Dustproof IP57
- Black aluminum alloy body
- FIPS 197 certified
- 16/32 GB capacities
8. Forrader Fingerprint Encrypted USB Flash Drive – Item Under Review –
Encased in a stylish metal design, the Forrader encrypted USB flash drive is a very interesting model from this list. It uses high-speed fingerprint recognition to make sure that you’re the only one that can access the data. With a very affordable price, this drive has great potential to satisfy many customers looking for superior security and functionality.
With good memory capacities of 32 and 64 GB, there’s plenty of space for all your essential work files, academic documents or important pictures that you want to keep safe. This model can recognize your fingerprint very fast, so you can gain access immediately to your data. It allows for a maximum of six fingerprints to be added and it supports 360 degrees all-round unlock.
Forrader integrated two sectors, one for the public and one secure sector and you can distribute the capacity however you like between the two. The reading speed of 10 MB/s is not very fast but it’s still a very convenient device requiring no drivers as it works with any USB port and any computer system right out of the box.
The metal coating not only gives it a premium look but it also helps to protect the unit from soiling and abrasion. It’s quite important for a secure drive to offer good physical protection, especially for such a portable USB flash drive. This one is decent in this regard, but maybe not as advanced and solidly built like some other encrypted drives found in this article.
Quick and very sensitive to your fingerprint input, the Forrader encrypted flash drive is worth a look if you are interested in this type of protection. Some could argue that it would be better when compared to PIN-based units as there’s no need to memorize a very long password. With so many attractive features, this represents a reasonably cost-effective way to secure sensitive data.
- Supports 360 degrees all-round unlock
- 6 fingerprints
- Plug and play
- Resistant to soiling and abrasion
- 32/64 GB capacities