We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
Storage Devices Reviews
15,670 Reviews

IronKey Personal 8GB review

£229 inc VAT

Manufacturer: Ironkey

Our Rating: We rate this 3.5 out of 5

The IronKey Personal is an 8GB flash drive that encrypts your data and offers password protection.

The IronKey Personal is an 8GB flash drive that encrypts your data and offers password protection.

We’re starting to see more USB flash drives with encryption to protect onboard data – and with good reason considering the storage capacity of these portable sticks, and in turn, their capacity for damage when they get lost. The IronKey Personal is such a device.

There’s now a trend away from software encryption toward hardware scrambling, acknowledged as a more secure barrier against outside hacking. Like the SanDisk Enterprise USB drive, with the IronKey Personal you must first set up a secure password to lock down your key, which you type in every time you insert it into a computer.

See also: Latest PC security news and reviews

The IronKey Personal is now cross-platform, working on Windows with a password manager, and Mac OS X and Linux for just encryption, without requiring the installation of any software.

Where the IronKey Personal principally differs from other encrypted drives is the way it protects your data in the case of unsuccessful password attempts. Instead of reformatting your data and leaving you with a blank drive, the IronKey self-destructs.

This is not quite in the manner of Mission Impossible ‘Jim, this message will self-destruct in five seconds’; instead of smoke pouring from the USB device, it will permanently and irreversibly destroy the data inside – and render the device useless thereafter. IronKey Personal assures its users that ‘you, personally, should not be physically harmed when this happens’!

The USB drive itself is made from a sturdy piece of metal, although for ‘sturdy’ do not read elegant. In fact our sample IronKey Personal was poorly finished and resembled something assembled in a school workshop.

The cap did not sit on straight as the USB contacts end had been crudely glued in place at an angle, and epoxy was visible around the join. The IronKey Personal's exterior looked all-too hand filed and polished.

But for its target audience, the IronKey Personal's low-grade exterior may be compensated by the high-grade encryption inside. It’s even epoxy-potted inside to deter determined attempts to physically crack it open, backed up by automatic self-destruction after tampering.

Users are encouraged to log their IronKey Personal passwords at the my.ironkey.com website, as 10 consecutive failed logins will leave you with an ornamental keyring.

Already installed on the drive is a portable version of Mozilla Firefox 2.0, offering browsing sessions with all history and cookies stored on the key. A Secure Sessions service is offered, directing your browsing via the IronKey company’s server for security. One-year’s subscription is included; thereafter a fee is applicable.

You can also make an encrypted backup of your IronKey Personal’s content’s on to your personal computer.

The IronKey Personal's performance is superior to that of most USB drives, recording a write speed of 27.9MBps and random access of just 3.4ms.

Visit Business Advisor for IT news and reviews

IronKey Personal Expert Verdict »

8GB USB flash drive
dual-channel SLC NAND flash memory
FIPS 140-2 compliant
AES-128 CBC-mode (Cipher Block Chaing) hardware encryption
iron alloy case
76x19x9mm
24g
  • Build Quality: We give this item 5 of 10 for build quality
  • Features: We give this item 8 of 10 for features
  • Value for Money: We give this item 6 of 10 for value for money
  • Overall: We give this item 7 of 10 overall

Build quality aside, the IronKey Personal is an impressive piece of portable storage with capacities up to 8GB. Its security looks bullet-proof – but beware of bricking it with repeated wrong passwords.

  • IronKey S200 review

    IronKey S200

    The IronKey S200 is still arguably the most secure USB drive in existence.

  • iStorage diskGenie review

    iStorage diskGenie

    The iStorage diskGenie is a USB hard drive with capacity up to 500GB, featuring secure AES-256 encryption, and unlocked by a number keypad.

  • iStorage datAshur 8GB review

    iStorage datAshur 8GB

    Few USB flash drives keep your data as secure as the datAshur. Its combination of hardware encryption, physical keypad and tamper-proofing make it virtually un-hackable. We put it through its paces.

  • Kingston DataTraveler 5000 review

    Kingston DataTraveler 5000

    The Kingston DataTraveler 5000 (4GB) is a USB 2.0 flash drive designed for business users who regularly carry sensitive information.

  • iStorage diskAshur DT 3TB review

    iStorage diskAshur DT 3TB

    The iStorage diskAshur DT 3TB is a high-capacity desktop drive with 256-bit encryption, all locked down through a number keypad.


IDG UK Sites

Best Christmas 2014 UK tech deals, Boxing Day 2014 UK tech deals & January sales 2015 UK tech...

IDG UK Sites

LED vs Halogen: Why now could be the right time to invest in LED bulbs

IDG UK Sites

Christmas' best ads: See great festive spots studios have created to promote themselves and clients

IDG UK Sites

Why Apple shouldn't be blamed for exploitation in China and Indonesia