Lexar device puts passwords at your fingertips

Get friendly and secure with your USB port

The days of being forced to remember tens of password for various web sites and accounts may soon be behind us thanks to a new USB flash drive from Lexar Media that comes equipped with a biometric fingerprint sensor.

The JumpDrive TouchGuard handles all the basic functions of a flash drive - most notably storing up to 256MB of data. This device, however, also ships with a fingerprint sensor and related software that lets customers store up to 200 user names and passwords without needing to remember a single one of them. The user simply hits a website, plunks down a finger and then keeps surfing. Customers can carry this small USB device from computer to computer, so their passwords stay with them at the office, at home or on the road.

Users need to install the password management software on their main PC and then configure various web sites for their fingerprint. Once that step is taken though, remembering passwords should hypothetically become a nuisance of the past. No software is required for remote PCs, and different family members can all set up unique accounts off the same flash drive, said David Klenske, director of product marketing at Lexar.

The JumpDrive TouchGuard device is the latest in a long line of flash drives from Lexar that each have their own, unique attributes. The company sells sleek drives for the fashion conscious, large-capacity drives for the memory hungry, ruggedized drives for travelers and others with built-in software for working smoothly with Microsoft email software.

It's a bit odd to think there is such extensive customization for a simple USB storage product. Most users, we imagine, would simply be looking for the most capacity at the cheapest price. Lexar, however, is convinced that differentiation is king, and, heck, its strategy means the company gets more than its fair share of shelf space at the local retailer.

"It's kind of nice to go in a store and see all of our products lined up and then see the competition only has one or two products," said Klenske.

The biometric device should start popping up in stores over the next few weeks. It supports 256-bit encryption and works with Windows 2000 and XP computers. It should come in at an estimated retail price of $69.99.

If Lexar finds that customers are flocking to this product, it may roll out similar authentication technology more broadly across its full line. ®

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