Storage Station

A bird's eye view of the data storage industry.

New USB Flash Drive Self-Destructs If Tampered With

When The Station hears the word "Kingston," the first thought that comes to mind is the Kingston Trio, who owned the folk music world for a few years in the late 1950s and early '60s, before the British Invasion changed pop music. (Yours truly interviewed them once for a newspaper feature around 1989.) "Tom Dooley" and "M.T.A." were two of their many hits. But we digress.

Others might think of the town in Jamaica, or in Rhode Island. But those in the data storage business know Kingston as one of the leading makers of USB flash memory thumb drives in the world.

The Fountain Valley, Calif.-based company has come out with a new, high-security USB flash drive that can safely be used by CIA agents if necessary. It has a rigid FIPS (Federal Information Processing Standard) certification that only two other similar products in the world -- made by Sandisk and Iron Key -- have earned.

These handy little digital storage receptacles can be a great way to carry documents, music, photos -- basically anything -- from one place to another.

The issue with them, however, has always been security. Because they are small, they are easy to lose or misplace; thus, high-end financial, government or security information usually isn't expected to be found on them.

That's all changed. Kingston's DataTraveler BlackBox comes in 2MB, 4MB and 8MB capacities and features major-league encryption. Passwords are very long and complicated, and if someone tries and fails to get into it 10 times, the drive clams up permanently. Basically, it self-destructs.

The little guys aren't cheap: a 2MB unit goes for $165, 4MB for $242 and the 8GB for $424. But there's apparently a ready market for this kind of safe portable storage, Kingston Vice President Mike Sager told The Station.

"We've only been out for a short time with this new drive, and we had orders totaling more than $500,000 from federal government agencies in the first week," Sager said.

Well, somebody wants to be able to transport data easily and still keep it secure.

Your tax dollars at work.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 13 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...