KingFast Encrypted USB Key Review @ ModSynergy.com
I've been watching this great show called The Americans. The show is set during the Cold War time period when the Soviet Empire was at odds with their American counterparts. Essentially this spy drama has two KGB intelligence agents posing as a married couple in America and are tasked with spying on the American government. Their neighbor just happens to be an FBI counterintelligence agent so you have this FBI, CIA, KGB thing going against each other, its riveting stuff. You also get to see the "high tech" gadgets and spy equipment being used.
Well that got me thinking about today's review and thinking of it possibly being used as one of those devices in a The Americans type of show. Imagine a scenario, similar to the one seen on the House of Cards season 2, where a malware-infected USB drive was to be used to hack the AT&T servers. Maybe you had to pull some dark information and keep it secure, or maybe you had to keep ultra secretive information protected from prying eyes, you'd need something that couldn't be seen.
Heck, the Canadian Government should have had one of these a few years back when they lost an UNENCYRPTED portable hard drive that stored hundreds of thousands of people's important contact information along with their Social Insurance Numbers, birth dates, account balances, you name it. It's beyond laughable at how anyone in the Canadian Government can be using a cheap unencrypted storage medium. What did they do? Did they think grabbing a portable hard drive at Costco was good enough to secure incredibly sensitive information?
The KingFast Encrypted USB Key aims to secure and protect any information you save onto it with its hardware based AES256 data encryption, self destroy function, among other features in its arsenal. Read on to see how you can best protect your data with an Encrypted drive such as the one from KingFast. The specific model being reviewed is the KF1208MCH.
About New Shenzhen Kingfast Storage Technology Co., Ltd.
"KingFast ,is a leading and Professional manufacturer of High-tech SSDs Solid State Drive Products since 2008. Our company specializes in the development, manufacturing and selling of SSDs Solid State Storage Products.
Our SSDs are extensively used in mainstream PCs market and industrial market. our products are widely recognized and trusted by users and can meet continuously developing economic and Customer needs.
Our factory is equipped with the most advanced manufacturing facilities, having received the International ISO9001 Certification with computerized QA systems strictly to all European and American testing standards such as CE, FCC and ROHS. And, all of our SSDs products are provided with 3-year warranty.
Our motto is that quality is our life. For this, we firmly promise our customers with competitive price, top quality, timely delivery and the good after-sales-service. Therefore, we have had many valuable customers throughout Europe, America, Asia, Australia and the Middle East etc.We welcome new and old customers worldwide to contact us for more business cooperation and mutual success."
The KingFast Encrypted USB Key is a portable, shockproof, waterproof, and removable data encryption storage device that is the perfect combination between mobile USB flash storage and encryption technology. It features a separate push-button password keypad without requiring a computer in order to open the secure USB key, and you're able to set and modify the password to avoid hackers stealing your data.
All data transferred to the KingFast Encrypted USB Key is encrypted in real-time with the built in hardware encryption engine (AES256) and is protected from unauthorized access, or if your USB key is lost or stolen. The KingFast Encrypted USB Key automatically locks itself when unplugged from the host computer or power to the USB port is turned off. In the event that the password is incorrectly inputted 10 times, the KingFast Encrypted USB Key will automatically destroy the data on the drive, and will require reformatting to reuse the drive once the correct password is restored.
KingFast Encrypted USB Key Product Features
KingFast Encrypted USB Key Product Specifications
The capacity being reviewed today is the 8GB model, other capacities available include 4GB, 16GB, and 32GB. The model name of the KingFast Encrypted USB Key is calledKF1208MCH. All models come with MLC NAND flash memory and make use of the USB 2.0 interface to provide maximum compatibility with all computers, and also partly due to the cost factor involved if they were to make the drive with the newer USB 3.0 standard.
AES256 hardware level encryption is built-in the KingFast Encrypted USB Key and secures your data real-time once data is transferred on the drive. AES256 encryption is the same type of security used by the military, and if it's good enough of them, it most certainly is good enough for most of us!
Though as I'll point out, the military actually uses a stronger method of AES256 encryption than what is here offered on the KingFast Encrypted USB Key. What the difference comes down to is password length. While the KingFast Encrypted USB Key allows you to have a password between 6-15 digits, the military uses a far higher password length of 64 digits, so their setup is different what you have here. The longer the password, the higher the protection level. So with the KingFast Encrypted USB Key, I suggest if you want maximum protection, that you make full use of the 15 digit password length.
Though this is not necessarily a bad thing, because the KingFast Encrypted USB Key will get the job done for 99% of us consumers and make it highly improbable and virtually impossible for anyone to view your important information since the only way to unlock the drive is by inputting the correct password on the drive itself, and not through connection to a computer through an software program.
Some other cheaper secure encrypted USB keys on the market only offer AES128 protection and requires you to use a software program in order to unlock the drive. You can plug in the USB drive and the computer will immediately recognize the drive (install the driver) and will only show you contents once you've used the program to unlock it. The problem with that is a connection to the drive is already made, and the drive is recognizable to the system.
This is not what happens with the KingFast Encrypted USB Key, if you do not enter a password, and continue to insert it into a computer, you see absolutely nothing, no connection to the drive is made in the computer. How can you attempt to open a drive that has not been initialized by the system? In this case the KingFast Encrypted USB Key, it is very secure and does things the correct way. The fact that KingFast has taken the software portion out of the equation, and solely requires you inputting the password on the device itself without a computer, makes it secure than the others I've mentioned about.
Opening the package will reveal the following items...
With the KingFast Encrypted USB Key there is no bundle, just the drive is included in the package and Quick Start Guide which goes over the operation of the device. Not even a lanyard (wrist or neck) or USB extension cable are provided. I don't know why some companies continue to do this with USB drives, at least give a lanyard. Don't be cheap. The more people will see your branded logo around people’s necks with your own flash drives, the more people will remember the KingFast name for example, and be enticed to purchase the same brand one down the road. Remembering the name brand is more important, to me this is a poor decision not to include a lanyard or strap.
The 8GB model of the KingFast Encrypted USB Key being reviewed today measures 78.6mm × 23.5mm × 10.6mm, and feels solid in the hand. This is no slim or small USB stick, it is one of the more thicker ones on the market and closely mimics the size of a 1st generation iPod Shuffle USB stick which I had lying around to compare.
This is one of the more sturdier and heavier flash drive I've seen in a while, the whole exterior feels tough and rigid, this one weighing 52g. It feels durable and likely to last a long time. KingFast says that their Encrypted USB Key shell is made from a high quality Zinc alloy material and has resistance to high temperatures, is water resistant (NOT waterproof), dust proof, shockproof, has anti-static properties, and is anti-magnetic.
The KingFast Encrypted USB Key looks fantastic in its design, the squared flat edges reminds me of how an iPhone 5 looks when looking at its side profile. It doesn't feel cheap like a plastic flash drive would feel, and it does not flex or bend like a cheap flimsy one would. The drive feels very secure and is sealed completely tight. The whole feel of the drive is smooth to the touch, it is possible to see fingerprints on the exterior shell, but since the body is smooth, you can easily wipe it off. I've also noticed that the drive does not accumulate as much dust as other regular drives do.
The KingFast Encrypted USB Key is offered in only one color scheme of black and silver, no extra color combinations are available, this is not that type of fun play USB stick, this is meant for securing data, thus it has that high-tech down to business style.
The KingFast Encrypted USB Key has one of the best caps on this style of flash drive design. The cap is sturdy and has that high quality feel to it, and weighs 11 grams on its own. It's one of the best caps on a USB drive because it securely and snugly fits on the USB port requiring the user to use moderate force/pressure to open and close the cap. Once the cap is on the flash drive, you won't be losing it.
On the front of the KingFast Encrypted USB Key you immediately notice the difference being that it contains a 10 digit numeric keypad. Two extra buttons below the keypad pertain to lock, unlock, reset functions, while two small LED indicator lights above the keypad pertain to the drives lock and unlock status.
The keypad buttons feel great under operation. It has a nice springy feeling to it and audible confirmation that you've pressed it through the audible click sound. The buttons never feel like they're going to break, they feel solid and well done.
The full PDF manual of the KingFast Encrypted USB Key can be downloaded here. It is very easy to use.
The general idea of how to use the KingFast Encrypted USB Key is listed below. I've re-translated what I found difficult to read, and I've included a few videos showcasing each step.
1. Unlocking the data security guards
By default, the KingFast Encrypted USB Key is always in locked state, in which no data can be seen regardless if you were to plug it in to a computer (it would show up as unrecognized device). To unlock and use the drive, press the unlock key button (red and green lights flash at the same time), input the password (the initial default password is 112233), once again click the unlock key button, the lights flicker to confirm that the drive is in open unlocked state.
You may now insert the USB drive in the computer to transfer and view data as you normally would, but once you pull out the USB drive, or the USB port does not have power, the KingFast Encrypted USB Key will automatically place itself in locked state protecting the data.
In the event that the password is incorrectly entered 10 times, the KingFast Encrypted USB Key automatically erases itself and all data is lost and cannot be recovered. You are forced to reformat the drive once you've entered the correct password and reconnect the drive to the computer.
Put the drive in unlocked state by entering the correct password. After unlocking, press and hold the unlock button for 3 seconds (red and green lights turn on at the same time solid), then input the desired password (from 6 to 15 digits) and press the unlock button again, holding for 3 seconds to confirm (red and green lights flashing at the same time), again input password a second time for final confirmation, and press the unlock button (green light flashes for confirmation).The password is set successfully.
3. Change password
If you need to change your password, operation is the same as method #2.
4. Reset data security guards - Initial State
In the event that you want to put the KingFast Encrypted USB Key back in original factory state, press and hold the unlock key and the number 9 key for 3 seconds at the same time, input 110 and press the unlock button to confirm, data security guards will be reset, back to the initial state. Data in the disk and password that was previously set will be erased and cannot be recovered. You must re-set a password and format the drive in order to re-use the Secure USB key.
Meaning of Data Security Lights
Performance Testing and Results
Edit: The results I have here, as I've been informed from KingFast, are from the 8GB Engineering sample they sent me. Another separate review will be released to show the production level performance you can expect to have in your hands (in 32GB form). I'll also update this review again with those new production level results from the 32GB KingFast Encrypted USB Key I expect to have soon.
The goal here is to simply verify how fast the KingFast Encrypted USB Key is. We'll see if the rated specifications of 20MB/s read and 18MB/s write speeds is possible to achieve in real-world testing by filling the drive. USB 2.0 interface is used in our ModSynergy Test PC consisting of an Intel Core i7-2600K and Intel DP67BG (B3) P67 chipset motherboard with native USB 2.0 support.
One synthetic benchmark is used in the form of CrystalDiskMark, which uses incompressible data.
The other test is a real-world verification tool called H2testw. The program was not originally intended as a benchmark, but after I used it, I felt that it was actually one of the best real-world tools to test USB drive performance with. I'm going to use this program from now on because it very useful in a couple of ways. The premise of H2testw was to detect counterfeit USB drives by verifying the capacity.
Some drives on eBay (and others) advertise a product, for example, being 16GB, though in reality when using H2testw to verify its capacity, it's really 2GB because the firmware is hacked to trick the drive in thinking it's bigger than it actually is. H2testw verifies the integrity of the drive by writing random data to the drive, and then goes back and verifies if that written data is good or corrupt.
While filling up the drive, the program also monitors and tracks how long it takes to write to the drive (write speed), and it tracks how long it takes to verify the drive (read speed) producing the read speed and write speed in Mbyte/s and the length of elapsed time. I really feel this is a great way in directly comparing drives. It's as simple as looking at the elapsed time, the shorter the time, the faster the drive.
In the synthetic benchmark of CrystalDiskMark, the KingFast Encrypted USB Key manages a read speed of 13.29MB/s, and a write speed of 9.516MB/s, not exactly meeting the companies rated 20MB/s read and 18MB/s write speed ratings. The performance is typical from such a standard USB drive.
On to something more real-world, using H2testw to completely fill up the drive (8GB) would give you a better indication of what the drive can do in a consistent basis.
Well let's see the results from the H2testw test. 7387MB were written to the formatted 8GB KingFast Encrypted USB Key, receiving no errors, and completing in 17 minutes, 10 seconds for a result of 7.17MB/s write.
7387MB was verified and read on the 8GB KingFast Encrypted USB Key, receiving no errors completing in only 9 minutes, 47 seconds for a result of 12.6MB/s read.
Again the results this time show a slightly slower speed rating, this time a 12.6MB/s read speed and 7.17MB/s write speed. It's not the fastest USB drive you'll ever see, but its average, and main focus is about the security, not the performance.
Where Can I Buy One? And For How Much?
I've brought the fact that KingFast product availability was pretty much nonexistent in the past for North America for quite some time, however, availability is out of the question because back in late 2012, KingFast has secured a location in Canada, where anyone from USA or Canada can purchase from and have access to KingFast products quite easily, with competitive shipping rates. http://www.kingfast-ssd.com
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Anyone serious about having their documents protected at a very high level needs to consider the KingFast Encrypted USB Key. It's a high quality secure encrypted USB key that utilizes military levels of AES256 protection, has great build quality and toughness, and it's affordable and easy to use for the everyday person.
It's hardware based AES256 protection along with a built-in numeric keypad that requires no use of a computer to unlock the device makes the device virtually impossible to crack. And the self destroy function that kicks in after 10 unsuccessful password entry attempts is great because it destroys your data and makes it impossible for intruders to get a hold of your data.
About the only drawbacks are that the device only uses the slower USB 2.0 interface, mainly to keep costs down, and that the device has no included lanyard or wrist strap even though the device has an eyelet available to use.