Aegis Padlock Fortress

When it comes to moving data around, while a USB flash drive is hard to beat for convenience, when it comes to capacity, a hard drive is what gets the job done. A full drive of data out in "the wild" should make you nervous, and if the data is sensitive, then the Aegis Padlock Fortress is the tool to keep it secure. This is a drive designed specifically to keep data secure for applications including the military, government, and healthcare.

The encryption on the Aegis Padlock Fortress is top notch. It is FIPS 140-2 certified.  To achieve this level of certification requires that is has military grade AES-XTS 256-bit hardware encryption. The XTS is a newer algorithm, that reportedly uses 2 cipher keys simultaneously, to provide a greater level of security than other algorithms.

This drive also has two integral features to keep the data safe. The first is called "Forced enrollment," which requires users to setup their password the first time they attempt to use the device. The second is that the drive is not partitioned, and the entire drive is encrypted and private (in other words there is no "Public area"). These defaults ensure the drive is used the way is was intended, and the security must be utilized by the user.

In the box is the following:
  • Aegis Padlock Fortress- 1 terabyte capacity
  • Quick start guide
  • USB Y cable
  • Case

The drive has a sealed case that is dust and water resistant. There is also an integrated USB cable. The keypad is designed to be sealed, and resistant to moisture, wear, and dust. It has a weight of 6.7 oz, and is 0.75" x 3.3" x 4.7". It houses a 2.5" laptop hard drive, with an 8 MB buffer.

The drive is compatible with both USB 2.0 and the faster 3.0 standard. The first time the Padlock Fortress is plugged into the computer, the unit does a quick self test, and the LED's across the top let you know that it is working. A password must be entered, which is 7 to 16 digits long. For an even more unique password, the shift key can be used to generate more characters. In some cases, the drive will require more power than a single USB port can provide, in which case the Y cable should be used. Testing was done on a Lenovo sleekbook, and I needed the Y cable for setup, but not for subsequent accessing. There is no software to install as it is all self contained on the drive, which makes the Padlock Fortress compatible with all OS's (Windows, Mac and Linux), with no administrator rights needed for use. Once unlocked, the drive comes preloaded with a 19 page user manual as a PDF on the drive.

The Aegis Padlock Fortress has multiple security features:
  • Unattended auto lock
  • Self destruct pin
  • Brute force protection

The drive comes formatted NTFS. The 1 terabyte capacity drive I tested had 931 GB of usable capacity. This is the usual capacity formatting issue as a megabyte is 1024 bytes, and not 1000 bytes and standard for any storage device. The drive has one partition.

HD Tune 2.55 was used to benchmark the speeds of the drive. The speeds were acceptable on a USB 2.0 connection, with an average speed of 28.3 MB/sec, and a maximum of 31.9 MB/sec (displayed above as the upper HD Tune graph). This was consistent with other drives tested, and the bottleneck here is the USB 2.0 port. Plugging this into the USB 3.0 port was rewarded with a significant speed increase. The average went to 88.6 MB/sec, with a maximum 115.4 MB/sec, which is the fastest speed I have clocked from a mechanical hard drive (displayed as the lower HD Tune graph). Clearly, for those that have access to the USB 3.0 port, this device benefits from it quite a bit.

The drive is currently available in the following capacities:
  • 500 GB- $349 (hard drive)
  • 750 GB- $399 (hard drive)
  • 1 TB- $419 (hard drive)
  • 128 GB- $399 (SSD)
  • 256 GB- $599 (SSD)
  • 512 GB- $899 (SSD)

While testing was done on the mechanical hard drive, those desiring an even faster drive should consider the solid state drive (SSD). It has a 3 year warranty.

Overall grade: A


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