BioDisk Biometric Flash Disk
CardMedia (Europe) Ltd
from $85 for 64MB version
Overall concept and finish.
An interesting approach to secure portable storage.
USB portable storage devices (or "sticks" as otherwise known) have become very popular as a handy means of carrying around your data, but what happens when you misplace the device? How safe is your data? OK, you could encrypt all the files on the device, but many users will simply not bother.
An alternative approach is to use your fingerprint to provide or block access to the device. The BioDisk achieves this by providing a fingerprint sensor neatly integrated into a USB stick.
The overall finish of the device is very good. It comes with a pocket clip, so it can be carried in your shirt or suit pocket, and a carrying pouch so you can keep the BioDisk safely about your person while on the move.
The enrolment routine is straightforward via an intuitive dialog, which shows a graphic of the fingerprint being supplied, helping the user to provide good-quality and consistent scans. There is also an adjustable matching threshold enabling stronger security to be balanced against ease of use.
The biometric element has thus been quite well considered, but how does it work in practice? Well, much might depend on where the USB ports are on the computer in question. If they are tucked around the back, or vertically oriented, then this will be quite awkward. However, a short USB extension lead is provided to get around this problem. When connected to an extension lead (as under test) don't forget that the USB stick is quite light in weight and therefore does not provide a particularly secure base to place your finger.
However, the user soon becomes acclimatized and, with a little practice, consistent fingerprint scans are easily achieved. Windows 2000 automatically recognizes the device as a removable drive and your files will only be visible after a valid fingerprint verification.
If you remove the device without specifically blocking access with your fingerprint, it reverts to a blocked mode, requiring a valid fingerprint to open it again. There are supplied utilities for additional encryption and screen locking.
In conclusion, an interesting product with obvious appeal for the security conscious user.