Fingerprint clippings

Flash drives have become a trendy and useful accessory for executives on the go. Those looking for an easy and secure method of transporting files will find the ClipDriveBio flash drive a handy tool.

The Achilles Heel of many of the flash drives on the market is the lack of inherent security,

should users want to transport sensitive material. With the ClipDriveBio from Memory Experts, two levels of security protection ensure that if the device is lost — a situation that could easily happen considering the size of the drive is 3.87-in. x 0.89-in. x 0.69-in. — the data contained on it would not be compromised. In addition to the biometric scan, users are also required to set up a password with the ClipBioDrive. All data saved on the Secure Partition portion of the ClipDrive Bio is automatically encrypted and hidden using an AES 128-bit key.

The ClipDriveBio integrates a biometric scanner with a flash disk. Because of this, it’s a bit larger than a normal flash drive. We tested the 64MB version on an IBM Thinkpad, but there are a number of other versions available that range in size, all the way up to a huge 2GB unit in size.

Enrolling a user to access the device takes several scans of the chosen digit, and while this seems somewhat tedious during set up, it makes for a portable storage device with close to airtight security. Other than the multiple scans, set up was a breeze and it took less than 10 minutes to start transferring files.

The device comes with a docking station, but during set up we plugged the drive directly into the USB port, which was located at the back of the laptop. This made it awkward to perform the biometric scan, and therefore it would be preferable to use the docking stations.

The device can enroll up to 16 different fingerprints. While users can be added one at a time, revoking one user means having to revoke all users, which is an inconvenience to say the least. The vendor tells us that this problem is being addressed in its next software release, which is scheduled to be out on Nov. 15.

The biometric scan was responsive, but to the uninitiated, it’s unclear how long one needs to impress the fingerprint to ensure the scan is done properly. The vendor might consider adding a visual cue to a next generation of the product.

We tried several times to bypass the security system, both the password protection and the biometrics, and were unsuccessful in every attempt.

The device does not come with any paper documentation — a trend many vendors are adopting lately — but the online help is adequate.


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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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