Toshiba packs NUMERIC KEYPAD onto self-bricking USB drive

256-bit crypto activated by punching PIN

Toshiba encrypted USB stick

Toshiba has released a range of USB sticks boasting numeric keypads needed to unlock their encrypted contents.

The keypad's there to add an extra layer of security to the drive by requiring a personal identification number (PIN) to be entered before the device will be useful when connected to a PC. Once users unplug their sticks, all content is held encrypted using 256-bit AES in CBC mode. Typing in a correct code decrypts the data.

Ten consecutive unsuccessful attempts to enter the PIN bricks the drive. We assume the data is always stored encrypted in the stick's flash memory and is decrypted when read, or encrypted on write, through the USB port by a builtin controller if a correct PIN is entered.

Toshiba reckons “enterprise companies, government agencies and concerned consumers” will be keen on the drive, which comes at a recommended price of US$95 MSRP for 4GB, $112 for 8GB, $140 for 16GB and $200 for the 32GB model.

Those numbers are competitive with street prices for similar products from the likes of Ironkey, which also offer content encryption but lack the keypad.

And even at $95, what price freedom? ®


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