Imation Defender F200 biometric flash drive (32GB)
A fingerprint scanner adds a higher level of security to the Imation Defender F200 flash drive
- Biometric security, doesn't come cheap
- IronKey offers better performance
Overall, the choice of Imation's Defender F200 comes down to a matter of security options over performance. If you really like the idea of a biometrics reader, the F200 makes sense. But if you're concerned with performance, the IronKey has the F200 beat hands down.
Price$ 349.00 (AUD)
Note: Pricing for this product is in US$.
Earlier this month, Imation launched its Defender series of USB flash drives aimed at the consumer portable storage and data backup market.
The drives have a range of features, including hardware-based 256-bit AES data encryption, and have (or are in the process of receiving) varying levels of FIPS (Federal Information Processing Standardization) 140-2 Level 3 validation.
The drives vary in form factor and size, including two flash drives, two hard drives and an optical line of disc drives. I thought the most useful one to review would the Defender F200, a biometric flash drive with all the bells and whistles, including a waterproof casing, a built-in fingerprint scanner and the ability to create multiple disk partitions.
The Defender is awaiting Level 3 FIPS validation, second only to Level 4 for overall security. To achieve FIPS Level 3, a device must have some form of physical tamper resistance, password authentication, and a physical or logical separation between the interfaces by which "critical security parameters" enter and leave a device and its other interfaces.
But all that security doesn't come cheap. The drive comes in capacities ranging from 1GB to 32GB and has a suggested retail price of $99 to $349, depending on its capacity. I find $99 for a 1GB flash drive outrageous, but if you need a device with the highest level of security, it may be worth it to you.
The Defender F200 drive is a bit beefier in size compared with a typical USB drive, but that's to make room for an ergonomically designed biometric finger scanner. The drive comes in a metal, "tamper-resistant" enclosure, which basically means there are no screws showing. However, you could easily slip a flat-head screwdriver between the joint where the upper and lower casing meet and force it open.
One thing I don't like is the large removable sleeve used to protect the finger scanner. I like USB drives that slide the body out or have flip-out hinges. That way, there's no cover to lose.
I don't think it's uncommon for people to leave USB drives in desk drawers, in the pockets of clothing headed for the wash, in car seats or under couch cushions. I've lost more than my share of flash drives to absentmindedness over the past several years, so I want any USB drive I own to have excellent security -- but still be simple to use. This drive absolutely fulfills that need.
The Defender F200 defends against unauthorized data access with two-factor identity authentication -- in other words, it demands two passwords -- and the aforementioned biometric finger scanner. The nice thing about this drive is that you can choose to use the security measures or eliminate the ones you don't want. For example, I chose to use only the fingerprint reader on my evaluation unit.
I've reviewed other drives with finger scanners, and while I don't prefer them over simple password encryption, there are some obvious advantages, the main one being that you don't have to remember a password. Also, no one's going to be able to duplicate your fingerprint unless he goes to the trouble of hacking off your finger. A hacker (no pun intended) can always attempt to guess a password and will sometimes succeed.
One of the reasons I'm not crazy about biometric finger scanners on a USB stick is that you need a USB extension cable in order to position the drive comfortably when sliding your finger over the scanner. Imation provided a 6-in. cable with the Defender F200 for that purpose.
Another cool but optional feature for this drive is antivirus and central management software; that's more for the corporate user than for the average consumer, but it's important to note that they're available.
Imation partnered with MXI Security for its data encryption technology, which is powered by MXI's Bluefly processor. Larry Hamid, chief technology officer at MXI Security, said the chip's FIPS 140-2 Level 3 tamper resistance is achieved by virtue of the chip packaging, which has no openings and must be physically damaged in order to gain access to the interior.
"Trying to gain access into the chip package will have a very high probability of rendering the chip inoperable, which meets all of the FIPS requirements," Hamid said.
Identity-based authentication is built into the processor's firmware, which manages up to 10 users and two roles, such as administrator and user. This means up to 10 people can enter their fingerprints and/or passwords to access data on the device. To register your biometric signature, you swipe a finger across the sensor five times. An LED light on the drive will then go from red to green, indicating that the fingerprint is now registered on the drive.
"Since the USB interface is used to communicate both data and critical security parameters, they are not physically separate. They are logically separated by encrypted and optionally authenticated secure channels," Hamid said. "The secure channel implementation in Bluefly uses a FIPS-validated key agreement scheme and allows for multiple simultaneous secure sessions to be active at any time."
Join the newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Samsung Galaxy Note 8: Full, in-depth review
- 2 Huawei Y5 (2017): Full, in depth review
- 3 LG G6 Plus: Full, in-depth review
- 4 First Look: Nikon D850
- 5 OnePlus 5: Full, in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Seagate joins Bain bid to take control of Toshiba Memory
- Seagate and Baidu sign strategic cooperation agreement for big data analysis
- Western Digital Announces Acquisition of Upthere
- Western Digital to acquire Tegile
- New development for Western Digital
PCW Evaluation Team
Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.
The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.
The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.
The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic
I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.
It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.
- Jabra Elite Sport (2017) review
- How to download the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update right now
- Opinon: Life after KRACK
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
Product Launch Showcase
- CCIntegration ArchitectQLD
- FTTechnical Support OfficerOther
- CCNetwork Designer - TelcoVIC
- CCSalesforce CloudSense LeadVIC
- CCSupport Specialist MQ and ESB AdministrationNSW
- TPSales Representative/Account Manager - Global CorporationNSW
- FTNetwork Support Engineer - HFC and FTTxOther
- CCPartner Marketing ManagerNSW
- FTPython DeveloperOther
- FTDevOps Engineer | Leading SaaS Product CompanyOther
- TPProject ManagerQLD
- FTAWS Data ArchitectsOther
- CCC++ Developer - Financial Services - Contract - Sydney CBDNSW
- FTCommunications Officer (Social Media Focus)Other
- FTDigital Marketing ExecutiveOther
- FTMid-Level Drupal DeveloperQLD
- FTCommunications Specialist- Change / MarketingOther
- FTMessage Queue / DataPower AdministratorACT
- FT.Net DeveloperOther
- TPIT Business AnalystNSW
- TPSQL Systems DeveloperQLD
- TPProject CoordinatorNSW
- CCTechnical Infrastructure SME - VMware / Storage/ BackupNSW
- FTFront-End Developer - BankingVIC
- CCSenior PMO ManagerNSW