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CeBIT: a solution to the ultimate security problem

A quick stroll through the Security Hall here at CeBIT reveals that as the data security message slowly gets through to the mass market, vendors will resort to extreme measures to sell vanilla products.

There are countless interactive demonstrations of how easy it is to use your life's work and the contents of your wallet, more than a few scantily clad 'booth babes', and - bizarrely - an upturned car. No, I didn't get it, either.

Click here for PC security advice.

See also: Amacom Data Locker Pro review

But, of course, the biggest data security problem in any organisation or household is always the end user. Indeed, components manufacturers can now make a mint selling CD- and DVD-ROM drives into enterprise: why? Because then the end users can't burn data to a portable disc and then leave the building.

But although selling old technology at a premium must be nice, it doesn't stop office drones losing data from laptops and thumb drives (and intolerence for alcohol).

I did see one nice solution that would reduce such risks - the Amacom Data Locker, from UK company Origin Storage.

First shown at CES, and onsale from March 17, the Data Locker Pro is a USB-powered external hard drive with 128-bit AES encryption. So far so what, but it differs from the crowd of similar products in ease of use. Entirely platform agnostic, if you plug the Data Locker into a computer of any flavour, nothing happens until you input a six- to 18-digit pin into its touchscreen interface. At that point, you see the drive as usual within the OS. Get the pin wrong three times, and the drive powers down. Three more times and the same thing occurs, with a warning that your data is about to be destroyed.

Three more mistakes and you have a brand new, wiped, unformatted hard drive. (And if you're the forgetful type, Origin intends to allow users to upload a passkey to a secure server.)

It's simple, and intuitive. And the encryption is secure, almost to a military degree. The pre-production model we saw did require two USB connections to power up, and it's not the best-looking product we've seen. Also, as a spinning disc, it will be insecure to rough treatment. But in a world where enterprises and Government departments spend a fortune on internal security, and then allow their data to be transferred unencrypted by courier, it's a compelling product.

The Data Locker will come in 160GB, 320GB and 500GB flavours, weighs 256g and contains a 2.5in, 5,400rpm disk. It will start at around £200.

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Data Locker

Amacom Data Locker

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