Kingston DataTraveler 6000 USB Review

By on November 1, 2011
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256-bit AES hardware encryption at your fingertips.

Good: Hardware level 256-bit encryption; Simple setup; Allows 10 attempts to log in; Securely wipes after 10th failed attempt; Faster speeds on USB 3.0 ports
Bad: Slow transfer speeds
Price: AED 250 (2GB)
* The price is the Suggested Retail Price at the time of review. Please call a retailer to confirm the latest price for this product.

It’s not surprising that in today’s world, a lot of people, especially corporations, would want their sensitive data to be stored in a safe place. Given the mobility of data of the average corporate user, it’s not hard to imagine why USB sticks would need something as sophisticated as 256-bit AES hardware encryption. And the Kingston DataTraveler 6000 does just that, but with the added benefit of having the FIPS 140-2 Security Level 3 certification.

For those of you who don’t know, the FIPS 140-2 standard is an encryption standard required on storage devices by the US federal government employees.  In particular, the DataTraveler 6000 uses elliptic curve cryptography (ECC) which is what the NSA (National Security Agency) recommends as a suite B cryptographic algorithm for data protection. This standard is also followed by many firms who require storage devices, such as USB and hard drives used by their employees to have FIPS 140-2 certification. And despite FIPS 140-2 being in existence for over a decade, the 256-bit AES encryption is still the industry standard for one of the toughest security encryption to beat. If you want to know more about the FIPS 140-2 standard, check out the 140-2 standard in detail.

Coming back to the DataTraveler 6000, it comes in a titanium coated stainless steel casing, looking rather sinister indeed. The DataTraveler 6000 is dustproof and waterproof, and with the rugged titanium coating, it feels like the security of data was not only considered on the inside, but outside as well. Incidentally the DataTraveler 6000 is also the only USB flash drive I have seen to date which was assembled in the USA. I guess FIPS 140-2 Level 3 hardware encryption is better done there (?).

The first time you plug in the DataTraveler 6000 into your PC, it asks for you name, company name, a password and a password hint. The password itself needs to have some specific alphanumeric values and special characters, so it isn’t something easily breakable. Oh, and if you enter the incorrect password 10 times, the data encryption key will be reset and the drive will require a format in order to be operable again.

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From auditing to editing, I now test and analyze the latest gadgets and games instead of the latest financial statements. Both jobs are equally intense and rewarding. When I'm not burning up hardware in the name of science, you'll find me nuking in DOTA 2 or engineering in TF2.

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