Encrypt Stick 5.0 from ENC Security Systems adds a Private Browser to the USB thumb drive encryption software.
Encrypt Stick 5.0 adds a
portable Web browser to ENC Security Systems' fine USB drive security software,
ensuring customers can safely browse on an untrusted PC without leaving
telltale cookies and browsing history behind. As with prior versions, Encrypt
Stick 5.0 provides a fine, simple way to encrypt sensitive files and other data
on a USB stick, allowing me to securely transport and access the information
between any Windows-based PC without the need to install software anywhere.
Also, as before, Encrypt Stick 5.0 let me create additional encrypted vaults on
hard drives, protecting stationary data with Encrypt Stick's 512-bit
But with version 5.0, ENC
ramped up the functionality by providing a modern browser on the Encrypt Stick,
which let me browse the Internet without worrying about leaving history or
cookies behind on the PC. Instead, the history and bookmarks are kept within
the Encrypt Stick's encrypted vault, allowing me to take my browsing information
with me as I move between PCs.
Released in late November,
EncryptStick 5.0 can be purchased directly from http://www.encryptstick.com
for $40 although the new version is
only available at this time for customers running Windows. (The Mac-compatible
version has not yet been updated.) Customers who bought a previous version of
Encrypt Stick can also download the upgraded version of Encrypt Stick with Digital
Privacy Browser for free.
Encrypt Stick 5.0 works on
any standard Flash drive, although ENC representatives say that lower-quality
USB drives will negatively affect browser and encryption-speed performance. The
software was quite easy to install, as the executable installer just copies all
necessary files to the thumb drive, so the executable installer that was needed
to access the vaults and Private Browser are included by default. From there, I
just needed to follow the on-screen instructions to create a device password
that will be used to unlock the device encryption when using Encrypt Stick.
ENC Security representatives
warned me that Private Browser was going to render pages slower than a normal
desktop browser-despite marketing to the contrary on their Website-and the
Private Browser certainly lived down to this advanced billing. For instance, I
found that while eWEEK
rendered in Internet
Explorer 9.0 in 5 seconds, the same page load took 15 seconds using Private Browser
on the same PC. Another time, an Entertainment
homepage took 4 seconds to render in Internet Explorer but 30 seconds
in Private Browser.
I've been told the slow
rendering problem will be addressed in version 5.1 although the time frame for
that particular release was not provided.
Users are not allowed to add
Adobe Flash right away. However, I found support for the latter to be
inconsistent between machines, seemingly without any reason why. I moved my
Encrypt Stick between four different computers running various editions of
Windows 7, finding Flash worked to display ads, animations and videos in
Private Browser on two of the machines, while completely failing to work on the
other two PCs. On the two failed computers, the Websites would say that Flash
needed to be upgraded some of the time, while in other cases, Flash was not
detected at all.
Private Browser supports
tabbed browsing, and I could have multiple windows open at the same time. I
also ran the Acid3 test (http://acid3.acidtests.org) against the browser, which
scored a 99 out of 100, albeit with two noticeable differences from the
Annoyingly, I found that I
could not use Encrypt Stick's Private Browser to directly download and save
attachments or files from the Web to any Encrypt Stick-encrypted vaults,
contrary to all of ENC's claims that Encrypt Stick avoids downloading to the
local hard drive of the computer. I found I could save files obtained through
the Private Browser to the local PC hard drive or to the public volume on the
Encrypt Stick (where the executable can be found). Only at that point, could I
move the file to one of my encrypted stores, selecting to securely wipe the
file from the hard drive in the process. ENC officials again claim this
capability will be added in a forthcoming release.
ENC has beefed up its
Password Manager to integrate with the Private Browser. After clicking on the
Password button from the Encrypt Stick interface, I created new password groups
for commonly visited types of Websites. For instance, I created a Web mail
password group, populating the group
with my GMail and Exchange credentials. Then, when using the Private Browser to
browse to one of the Web applications, I could separately right-click on the
user name and the password fields to fill out the information I previously put
into the Password Manager.
Like bookmarks and browsing
history, Website credentials are stored securely within the encrypted vault on
my Encrypt Stick, so the information goes with me when moving to a different