The Channel

MXI Outbacker MXP 40GB biometric hard drive

Serious security

Review It used to be sufficient just to punch in a password to prove you have a right to read to the information your trying to access, but faster processors and smarter crackers means such methods are falling from favour, especially among those with very hush-hush information to guard. Instead, they're turning to biometrics - factors unique to an individual - to verify users' identities, and products like the Outbacker mobile hard drive are being equipped with fingerprint scanners accordingly...

mxi security outbacker mxp 40gb biometric hard drive

MXI Security's drive also plays to users worried about the physical integrity of the storage products. The 40GB Outbacker MXP is very compact, despite it's 2mm-thick wrap-around steel casing. The drive's resistance to knocks and bumps is further enhanced with four rubbery corner pieces that double-up as feet. Between them, at the back of the drive, sit a mini USB 2.0 port and a power connector for USB 1.1-only hosts. The fingerprint sensor is on top of the box, at the front.

MXI has split the access application into a number of independent utilities. The drive itself has a read-only partition which contains a tool to let any given user unlock and lock the drive. Users accounts are set up using the Access Console tool, which isn't on the drive but is on the bundled CD. The idea is you install Access Console on one, master machine and set up your user accounts. You're then free to connect the drive to any other machine safe in the knowledge that only authorised people can access the data on it but none of them need to install apps on whatever computer they connect the drive to.

Of course, if you want to add further users later, or remove existing ones, you'll need to connect the drive to the original machine, or install Access Console on a second computer.

Unlike LaCie's Safe drive, which works on the assumption registered users will all require access to the same data, the Outbacker MXP assigns individual users their own space on the drive so no user can access another's data, though there is a public partition that's not only open to all but also unsecured.

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