Another Snake Oil Candidate
leichter_jerrold at emc.com
Tue Sep 11 17:18:27 EDT 2007
| The world's most secure USB Flash Drive: <https://www.ironkey.com/demo>.
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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