Another Snake Oil Candidate

Leichter, Jerry leichter_jerrold at
Tue Sep 11 17:18:27 EDT 2007

| The world's most secure USB Flash Drive: <>.
What makes you call it snake oil?  At least the URL you point to says
very reasonable things:  It uses AES, not some home-brew encryption; the
keys are stored internally; the case is physically protected, and has
some kind of tampering sensor that wipes the stored keys when attacked.
In fact, they make some of the same points:

	Your IronKey is literally packed with the latest and most
	secure encryption technologies, all enabled by the powerful
	onboard Cryptochip. Rather than employing "homegrown"
	cryptographic algorithms that have not undergone rigorous
	cryptoanalysis, IronKey follows industry best practices and
	uses only well-established and thoroughly tested
	cryptographic algorithms.
	All of your data on the IronKey drive is encrypted in
	hardware using AES CBC-mode encryption.
	   1. Encryption Keys
	   2. Always-On Encryption
	   3. Two-Factor Authentication
	Encryption Keys
	The encryption keys used to protect your data are generated
	in hardware by a FIPS 140-2 compliant True Random Number
	Generator on the IronKey Cryptochip.  This ensures maximum
	protection via the encryption ciphers. The keys are
	generated in the Cryptochip when you initialize your
	IronKey, and they never leave the secure hardware to be
	placed in flash memory or on your computer.

	Always-On Encryption

	Because your IronKey implements data encryption in the
	hardware Cryptochip, all data written to your drive is
	always encrypted. There is no way to accidentally turn it
	off or for malware or criminals to disable it. Also, it runs
	many times faster than software encryption, especially when
	storing large files or using the on-board portable Firefox

	Two-Factor Authentication

	Beyond simply protecting the privacy of your data on the
	IronKey flash drive, the IronKey Cryptochip incorporates
	advanced Public Key Cryptography ciphers that allow you to
	lock down your online IronKey account. That way you must
	have your IronKey device, in addition to your password, to
	access your online account. This highly complex process runs
	behind the scenes, giving you state-of-the-art protection
	from phishers, hackers and other online threats.

The management team lists some people who should know what they are
doing.  They have a FAQ which gives a fair amount of detail about
what they do.

I have nothing at all to do with this company - this is the first I've
heard of them - but it's hardly advancing the state of security if
even those who seem to be trying to do the right thing get tarred as
delivering snake-oil.

If you know something beyond the publicly-available information about
the company, let's hear it.  Otherwise, you owe them an apology -
whether they actually do live up to their own web site or not.

							-- Jerry

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