Apricorn Aegis Padlock 3.0

For portable storage needs, a USB flash drive on a keyring is a constant companion these days. However, there are two weaknesses to this ubiquitous device. The first is that the capacity is limited, and the second is that very few are secure in any way. In other words, when it is time to do some serious data moving, in a safe fashion, then the Aegis Padlock 3.0 becomes the right tool for the job.

This latest Padlock updates the line to the latest in portable hard drives. The Aegis Padlock now has a 1 terabyte (TB) capacity, which means it will be large enough to backup most system drives out there... with room to spare. The other is that the USB is now the faster 3.0 standard that we should start seeing in more systems soon.

What's in the box?
  • Aegis Padlock 1 TB drive with integrated USB cable
  • Y-cable
  • Foam case
  • Quick Start Guide
  • Complete Manual as PDF preinstalled on drive

The Y-cable is designed that if your USB port does not provide adequate power, the drive can then draw power from 2 USB ports. It is nice that they include this for the "just in case," but I found the drive worked fine using only one USB port. As the USB 3.0 standard is relatively new, all testing was done via a Shuttle desktop running Windows 7 Home Premium, with the drive directly attatched to a USB 2.0 port without any adapters or hubs.

The other specs are as follows:
  • Data Transfer Rate: USB 3.0 - up to 5 Gbps
  • Power Supply: 100% Bus Powered
  • Buffersize: 8 MB
  • Interface Super Speed USB 3.0 (Backwards compatible with USB 2.0 and 1.1)
  • RPM:5400 - Average seek time: 12 ms
  • Shock: non operating 1000G 1ms Shock: operating 300G 2ms
  • Dimensions: 19mm X 84.5mm X 120mm (0.75” X 3.3” X 4.7”)
  • Weight: 6.2oz. (176 g)
  • Warranty: 1 year limited
  • Compatible with all Operating Systems, including Windows, Mac and Linux (Requires USB port)

 The Aegis Padlock 3.0 is about the size of a deck of cards, and is using a standard 2.5" notebook drive inside. The device is a little thicker than some others out there at 19 mm thick, but there is a keyboard built into the top of it. The plastic shell is bonded with epoxy, and is made of a soft plastic, and the buttons all feel solid. They also designed this to not show fingerprints which could give a clue about the password (so called "smudge attack"); they call this a wear resistant keyboard.

The Aegis Padlock 3.0 is available in three capacities: 250 GB, 500 GB, and 1 TB. Formatted, the 1 TB has 931 GB of usable space. Each of these can then be had with either 128 bit encryption, or 256 bit encryption. While both are tough to crack, reportedly the 128 bit version is adequate for US Government "Secret" documents, while 256 bit is required for "Top Secret." You can also have confidence that reportedly the 256 bit version of encryption has not been cracked.

The device is setup as previous Aegis products have been. There is a default password that comes installed. Using the Quick Start Guide, it is a few minute procedure to change the password to a new one that is a minimum of 6 digits. Most importantly do not forget the password as then there are several protections to a brute force attack. For example, after 6 unsuccessful password entry events, the Aegis will need to be removed and plugged in again before any more passwords can be entered. Then, after the 25th attempt, the drive will lock, and there is a sequence to follow to reset it so more attempts can be made. This goes on to a permanent lock, and there is even an option for a self destruct password. In addition, all the data is encrypted on the fly, so even if the drive is removed from the casing, and plugged directly into a reader, the data will still be inaccessible. This is all done at the drive level, and no software gets installed onto the computer.

 The drive itself has good speeds, and was probably bottlenecked on my USB 2.0 interface. The Aegis Padlock 3.0 was benchmarked in HDTune 2.55 against a pile of other USB hard drives. Even through the USB 2.0 interface, it still managed the fastest average speed, and was even slightly faster than its 750 GB Aegis brethren.

In summary, the Aegis Padlock 3.0 is a stable device, which provides through an easy to use interface, a large capacity and fast speeds. The simple numerical keyboard belies quite complex security. While most of us do not handle "Top Secret" documents too often, this Aegis Padlock 3.0 can keep digital documents safe, and is an essential adition to any road warrior's gear bag.  Prices start at $169 for the 250 GB, 128 bit encryption, and go up to $249 for the 1 TB, 256 bit.


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