Lexar Media JumpDrive TouchGuard

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Lexar Media JumpDrive TouchGuard
  • Lexar Media JumpDrive TouchGuard
  • Lexar Media JumpDrive TouchGuard
  • Lexar Media JumpDrive TouchGuard

Pros

  • Simple, trouble-free encryption for sites

Cons

  • No authentication for network PCs

Bottom Line

If you're a busy surfer with countless online accounts, Lexar's JumpDrive TouchGuard will simplify maintaining robust security. If only it were possible to log into Windows PCs with the fingerprint reader…

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As an ever-increasing number of services are moved to the net, the integrity and security of passwords is becoming paramount. Identity theft is a serious issue, and between online banking, auction sites, webmail, forums, support resources, corporate intranets and other sites that demand users authenticate, a casual surfer may need to remember a dozen passwords. And if you're a serious net addict, chances are you'll have credentials for many more. Remembering different passwords for every site visited regularly is a hassle, so many just use the same between several sites. If someone manages to crack a password for one site, they can then get into any you're registered for.

While there are several software solutions on the market designed to store passwords for these sites, Lexar has integrated biometric fingerprint scanning into a memory key, allowing the user to authenticate against that.

The JumpDrive TouchGuard looks like any other USB memory key, but with a fingerprint reader inlaid into the top face. It can store unique logins and passwords for 200 web sites and will hold up to 10 different fingerprints - so several people can use a single key to authenticate.

The drive ships with a Dashboard application that controlls access to the encryption, favourites, user profiles, and settings. It greatly streamlines the process of registering fingerprints and managing logins. A single swipe will authenticate for most sites, and you can set the key up to recognize several of your fingers (to minimize the chances of something going wrong and the key locking you out from sites).

The key is reasonably demanding -- and only works with Windows 2000 or XP, with Internet Explorer 6 installed, but that shouldn't be an issue for the majority of corporate or even home users.

Operation couldn't be simpler after scanning your fingerprint into the key's memory: when visiting web pages that demand a login and password, a single swipe over the fingerprint scanner sends the appropriate credentials to the site, and you're logged in. It's also possible to use the fingerprint scanner to restrict access to files stored on a PC or on the key itself. Built-in 256-bit AES encryption offers rock-solid protection against prying eyes if you accidentally lose the key (along with the fingerprint authentication).

Lexar claim the drive to be tested with over 500 web sites, and we found all to work smoothly during testing. One limitation is authentication for Windows networks, though: you can currently only use the device for web sites.

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