Hardware Encryption and the New Buffalo USB Flash Drive

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Buffalo 256 bit Hardware Encryption USB Flash Drives

Flash drive security breaches are popping up in more and more headlines these days. For example, a recent news story talked about a medical data breach concerning sensitive patient information of 280,000 patients via a missing flash drive. While responsibility falls in the hands of the medical organization involved, as a technologically driven society, we don’t have to be fearful in using USB flash drives. Security and privacy start with the building blocks of every drive.

As a likely response to security demands, Buffalo Technology focuses on hardware encryption as its standout feature of its new line of RUF2-HSC-T flash drives. Buffalo opts out of the rugged durability boasted by some manufacturers. You’ll most likely not want to go swimming with it, expose it to temperature extremes, force it into military combat or drop if off a mountaintop. The RUF2-HSC-T drives also stick with the more universal USB 2.0 rather than experiment with SuperSpeed USB 3.0

Instead, this unassuming, lightweight, black and silver flash drive uses AES 256-bit hardware encryption—meaning if you don’t own it, you’re not going to be able to use it. It’s an Advanced Encryption Standard that converts private or sensitive information into a code by using an algorithm that’s a symmetrical block cipher of 128 bits with a key size of 256 bits. When calculated, it would take billions of years to crack the numeric code.

What’s more, hardware encryption can beat out software encryption in terms of security. Software encryption is built around passwords that can be cracked with the right password guessing application. Software-based security primarily stores encryption information in RAM, so cold boot or offline attacks can also leave private information at risk of exposure.

Flash drive hardware encryption can prevent attacks through device lockdown, keys developed into the device, built-in security activation that’s independent of OS and using memory solely contained on the flash drive.

The Buffalo flash drive should be available later this month. It is made with storage capacities ranging from 2 GB to 64 GB and priced at $154 to $694 according to Softpedia. It may be pricey to the average consumer, but for some of the sensitive data it protects, you often cannot put a price on it.

Since our lives are all about on-the-go information, flash drives are an invaluable, mandatory tool. Security breaches demonstrate that the solution lies in finding the right encryption methods to protect the data rather than not using the drives at all. Along with other manufacturers, Buffalo may hopefully satisfy that market need.

Do you think a Buffalo flash drive is worth the price? What are the most important features you look for when buying a USB flash drive?

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