Kingston DataTraveler Locker+ 16GB USB Flash

Author
Logan King
Posted
December 11, 2009
Manufacturer
Kingston
Product Page
DataTraveler Locker+
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99353
Kingston DataTraveler Locker+ 16GB USB Flash
The Kingston DataTraveler Locker+ 16GB combines an easy-to-use interface and good performance with strong and thorough security features.

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Page 1
Intro

With USB flash drives having become nearly ubiquitous when it comes to transferring files from computers, it stands to reason that one might want to be able to move files with a net of security. In order to help protect your files, Kingston has created the DataTraveler Locker+ series USB Flash Drive, designed with normal consumers in mind but built with hardware-based security encryption.

Packaging

The front of the packaging proudly mentions the hardware-based data encryption, as well as the 5-year warranty. The rear of the packaging is mostly the same standard specifications and requirements info found on practically all flash drives. Of note, it mentions that Windows Vista and Windows 7 ReadyBoost is not supported.

Packaging FrontPackage Rear


The packaging itself is standard blister pack-type that most flash drives come with, which is disappointing but not unexpected. One thing of note that is either a misprint or an inconsistency with the product manual (available in .pdf form on the Kingston Product page) is that the manual mentions USB 2.0 is required, whereas the packaging mentions that USB 1.1 is acceptable.

Specs

Features:
  • Full Encryption — 100 percent of stored data is protected by hardware-based encryption
  • Secure — drive locks down and reformats after 10 intrusion attempts.
  • Enforced password protection — complex password issuer set with minimum characteristics to prevent unauthorized access
  • Easy to use — no admin rights or application installation required
  • Guaranteed — 5-year warranty and 24/7 free tech support


Specifications:
  • USB 2.0 Compliant, USB 1.1 Compatible
  • Compatible with Mac OS 10.4 and up (with 1.08 firmware), Windows 2000 SP4 and up.
  • Available in 4GB, 8GB, 16GB and 32GB capacities
  • Dimensions: 2.58" (L) x 0.71" (W) x 0.41" (T)
  • LED Status Light
  • SKU: DTL+/16GB


Parts

The packaging includes two things: The drive itself, and a lanyard keychain connector. I think the inclusion of the keychain connector is a nice touch, allowing you more freedom with how you want to transport the drive than a standard lanyard would. In any case, lanyards are so common these days that it would be trivial to connect the drive to one, so it isn't really a problem that one isn't included. The keychain connector attaches itself through a pair of holes on the top of the drive, so it is out of the way when the drive is in use.

Package Contents


Design

The drive itself is the more recent swivel design rather than the more traditional cap or slide out styles. The swivel joint itself has good resistance, and the drive is fairly compact when everything is closed. The drive has a bit more grip than the cover, allowing it to be removed from the computer more easily from the sides rather than the top and bottom. Of note, there is a beveled hole in the cover of the drive for the light, which allows you to slightly close it in order to obscure the light if you don't want to see it. In addition to the ability of obscuring the light entirely, the cover of the drive helps cut down on the spread the light has when active. The light itself is the standard blue blinking activity light, but it is notable in that the light remains off when the drive is idling.

Datalocker+ Open
Datalocker+ Closed


All in all, it is a fairly standard drive with some nice touches towards practicality built into the design.
Page 2
Setup

When you plug the drive into the computer for the first time (and after the software installs), a setup menu pops up. First is asks for the desired language that you would like to use, and then it shows you the standard EULA. After that, you are shown the initial password entry screen, which contains a useful help menu to tell you what is required to create a secure password.

Setup Screen Password EntryPassword Info


After you enter a password that is to your liking, it brings you to an information screen. This data is viewable without logging in, and is presumably for use in a way similar to a return address in case you misplace your drive someplace. It contains your name, your company (or any other affiliation) and whatever other notes you deem necessary to add (phone numbers, return address, etc.).

Setup Information Entry


After the password setup is complete, the drive formats itself to FAT32 and opens up the drive in Windows Explorer.

Settings Adjustment

While you are logged on, an icon is shown in your taskbar that is used to configure the drive to your liking. Clicking on it pulls up a menu of various actions to take. They are pretty straightforward, with the most notable thing being that clicking "Shut Down" not only terminates the program but also removes the hardware from the computer (similar to how clicking "Safely Remove Hardware" does).

Drive Menu


Clicking on DTLocker+ Settings brings up the settings menu, which allows you to change your password, edit the contact info fields and change your preferred language. It is all pretty straightforward as well. One particularly nice touch is that you have to enter the current password to edit any of the settings, so you don't have to worry about people changing anything on you if you walk away from your computer.

Settings Screen


Logging In

All this is fine and dandy, but what about the security, the main draw of this drive? Well, while I can't vouch for it being unbreakable, it does seem pretty secure. The log-in screen seems pretty straightforward, and indeed it is. It has the hint button to show whatever your password hint was, the Contact Information link in case the drive is lost and the Forgot Password link.

Log-In Screen
Contact Info


One thing that shows how much Kingston wasn't messing around when they designed the drive: The Forgot Password link doesn't send a password to your e-mail address or anything like that. It in fact formats the entire drive, preferring to wipe the data from the drive than let it fall into the wrong hands.

Password Reset


Another facet of the thoroughness Kingston built into the security of this drive is the log-in attempts counter. If you exceed 7 log-in attempts a warning pops up on the log-in screen explaining that you only have 3 more attempts to log-in. If you proceed to exceed those three attempts and still not enter the correct info, it proceeds to format the drive.

Log-in Maximum warning
Log-in Maximum Exceeded


With all that in mind, I think it is fair to conclude that Kingston didn't cut any corners when designing the security software for this drive. Make sure to remember your password!

Performance Testing

Testing the drive was done on a computer running Windows XP SP3. The test was run using Flash Memory Toolkit, and the flash drive was plugged into a Belkin 4-port USB 2.0 hub. As Kingston makes no claims regarding the read/write speeds of the drives, and because the drive is targeted at security rather than outright performance, the test was done to get a general idea of the performance of the drive rather than as a means of comparison to anything else.

Performance Results


Even with that in mind, the test numbers that the Locker+ pulled down are nothing to sneeze at. Flash Memory Toolkit indicated an average read speed of 23.6 MB/s and an average write speed of 12.8 MB/s, with little derivation for either. While they aren't earth shattering or anything to that effect, considering the drive isn't targeted at performance and doesn't really make any claims towards such, the numbers themselves are still pretty good.

Conclusion

Pricing for the DataTraveler Locker+ is around $85 (Newegg) as of press time. That may seem a bit steep for a 16GB flash drive, but its pretty well in line with the rest of the security market. With that in mind, if you are in the market for secure flash memory, ASE Labs recommends the Kingston DataTraveler Locker+.



Thanks to Kingston for making this review possible.

Comments

images/siteimages/upload/2009/12/11/3622ltu.png Log-in Maximum Exceeded images/siteimages/upload/2009/12/11/3619lqu.png Drive Menu images/siteimages/upload/2009/12/11/3615l7f.png Setup Screen Password Entry images/siteimages/upload/2009/12/11/3616lc0.png Password Info images/siteimages/upload/2009/12/11/3617lup.png Setup Information Entry images/siteimages/upload/2009/12/11/3621lmp.png Log-in Maximum warning images/siteimages/upload/2009/12/11/3623lm0.png Settings Screen images/siteimages/upload/2009/12/11/3624l70.png Log-In Screen images/siteimages/upload/2009/12/11/3625l2k.png Contact Info images/siteimages/upload/2009/12/11/3626l8p.png Password Reset images/siteimages/upload/2009/12/12/3627l7k.png Performance Results images/siteimages/upload/2009/12/12/3628l0k.png Datalocker+ Closed images/siteimages/upload/2009/12/12/3630l65.png Datalocker+ Open images/siteimages/upload/2009/12/12/3631lu5.png Packaging Front images/siteimages/upload/2009/12/12/3632lf0.png Package Contents images/siteimages/upload/2009/12/12/3633lxp.png Package Rear

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