SecuriKey might not stop your computer from being stolen. But this hardware-software combo from GT Security will keep the data on your machine safe - and that might be more important in the long run.

SecuriKey is like a key to your laptop; once the software's installed, you need to insert a USB key into a port on your PC to log in. Without the key, no one can log in to your computer, whether they have the password or not.

In security terms, SecuriKey provides two-factor authentication. Logging in via SecuriKey requires something you know - your password - as well as something you have - the SecuriKey token. Even if someone looks over your shoulder as you type in your password, they're not getting into your computer unless they also have the SecuriKey token.

SecuriKey can also do something at least as important as preventing unauthorised logons: it offers the option of creating an encrypted partition on your hard drive, which every user should do. Using AES-128 encryption, SecuriKey places a partition on your hard drive that is in effect impossible to break. It's simple to set up an encrypted partition, and during the setup process you can choose to have your system mount the partition upon login.

SecuriKey's initial setup is easy: put the setup disc in, follow the on-screen prompts, and insert the USB key when instructed. After that, it's just a matter of having the key inserted in the USB port every time you log in. And having that key in the port is critical - when you remove it, the SecuriKey program returns to the login screen, logging you out or shutting down the computer, depending on which option you've selected.

Setting up additional profiles for other users can be a bit confusing, as the instructions don't cover a scenario in which you allow other users to use SecuriKey on the same system. Once you've figured it out, though, the process of setting up multiple users becomes fairly easy.

GT Security provides two key fobs for your use with a key code unique to your installation. The first is to carry around with you, while the backup should be stored in a safe place in case you lose the first one. You need to register the product when you first install it, because GT Security won't provide a new key unless you do. Without the key, you can't access your system, and any data on the encrypted drive can't be recovered.

SecuriKey Professional Edition 2.1 [PC]: Specs

  • 2x encryption-based USB keys
  • AES data encryption
  • software included
  • 30 days of free technical support
  • 30 day money back guarantee. System requirements: Windows Vista, XP Professional, XP Home, 2000 or Server 2003/Mac OS X 10.4 or 10.5, PPC or Intel
  • 2x encryption-based USB keys
  • AES data encryption
  • software included
  • 30 days of free technical support
  • 30 day money back guarantee. System requirements: Windows Vista, XP Professional, XP Home, 2000 or Server 2003/Mac OS X 10.4 or 10.5, PPC or Intel

OUR VERDICT

If you're on the road a lot and carrying sensitive information, SecuriKey offers a quick and easy way to keep data away from prying eyes. The setup of additional users on your system may be slightly confusing, but overall SecuriKey just works. If you're a true paranoid, you may want to look into a whole disk encryption product, like the open-source TrueCrypt project. But for the average user, SecuriKey's ability to quickly lock your computer and encrypt a disk partition should provide more than enough security.

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