Here is our review of the diskAshur 2 USB Drive from iStorage.

An easy to use ultra-secure, PIN authenticated, portable USB 3.1 hard drive with real-time AES 256-bit XTS hardware encryption, software free design and super-fast data transfer speeds. The diskAshur2 has an easy-to-use keypad design enabling you to securely access the drive with your own unique 7-15 digit PIN and with software free setup and operation, the diskAshur2 is platform/device independent and works across all operating systems including all versions of MS Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, Chrome, Thin Clients, Zero Clients and embedded systems. In fact, it will work on any device with a USB port! One of the unique and underlying security features of the GDPR compliant diskAshur2 is the dedicated hardware based secure microprocessor (Common Criteria EAL4+ ready), which employs built-in physical protection mechanisms designed to defend against external tamper, bypass attacks and more. Unlike other solutions, the diskAshurreacts to an automated attack by entering the deadlock frozen state, which renders all such attacks as useless.

EDGE technology offers advanced portable data security via built-in FIPS PUB 197 validated AES 256-bit XTS hardware encryption engine. The data encryption key is randomly generated by a Common Criteria EAL4+ ready Random Number Generator and protected by NCSC, FIPS and Common Criteria validated wrapping algorithms.   Uniquely featuring a dedicated on-board Common Criteria EAL4+ ready secure microprocessor to enhance security through true random number generation and built-in cryptography. The security component employs physical protection mechanisms to protect itself from any external tamper, bypass laser attacks and fault injections and incorporates active-shield violation technology. More specifically, the secure microprocessor reacts to all forms of automated hacking attempts by entering the deadlock frozen state where the device can only restart through a ‘Power On’ reset procedure (i.e. power off/power on). The security lock feature protects the device against any unauthorised firmware modifications from the host side (fully protected against BadUSB). The diskAshur2 uniquely incorporates a secure microprocessor providing secure algorithms to encrypt both the data and the encryption key, giving you confidence that your data is protected to the highest standards at any given time.

Specifications

  • USB 3.1 Portable Encrypted Hard Drive
  • Capacities up to 2TB
  • FIPS PUB 197 validated
  • AES 256-bit XTS hardware encryption – no software required
  • OS & Platform independent
  • Employs EDGE Technology
  • Available in 4 colours-Phantom Black, Ocean Blue, Fiery Red & Racing Green

Who are iStorage?

From their website:

iStorage is the trusted global leader of PIN authenticated, hardware encrypted data storage devices, that include: USB Flash Drives, Hard Disk Drives, and Solid State Drive formats. We deliver the most innovative products to securely store and protect data to Military specified encryption levels, safeguarding your valuable business information whilst ensuring compliance to regulations and directives.

The iStorage range of products are accredited across the range, include FIPS 197 (Advanced Encryption Standard, Computer Security Standard, Cryptography), FIPS 140-2 Level 2 (Tamper Evident, and seals), FIPS 140-2 Level 3 (Responding to attempts of a Physical attack), IP57 (Protected from limited dust ingress and water immersion up to 1M), CESG (National Technical Authority for Information Assurance), CCTM (Claims Tested Mark).

What’s in the box?

The box contains the diskAshur 2, a storage case and a quick start guide.

A Closer Look

Using the diskAshur

When you used the diskAshur for the first time, the standby state shows a red locked light, as below.

You enter the default Admin PIN and wait whilst the various checks are run.

Then it’s ready to use!

Final Thoughts

The diskAsur 2 is bigger than the previous iStorage USB drives we have reviewed. It’s still fairly lightweight though so you can carry it around without feeling like you are dragging a brick around!

Including a carry case is also a great idea – it not only keeps the drive clean but it keeps it safe too!

Using the drive is very simple – just enter your code and the drive is ready to use. When you have finished with the drive just remove it and it locks automatically.

One nice feature is the ability to have an Admin code on the drive, so if you forget your code you can use that one to gain access.

You may be wondering why the drive has a keypad and why you wouldn’t just use the keyboard on your computer to unlock the drive. It’s to stop keyloggers and brute force attacks from gaining access to the drive.

If you enter your code incorrectly 15 times in a row (for example if someone else is trying to guess your code) the user code is deleted. The only way to access the drive is to use the Admin code and reset the user code. If the Admin code is then entered incorrectly 15 times in a row that too is deleted and this time all the data on the drive is also deleted thus protecting whatever you stored on it, so you should feel safe in the knowledge that whatever happens your data is safe and secure.

The drive is recharged when it is plugged into a powered USB port, so don’t worry too much about it losing charge.

Using the drive is simple – once you have entered the PIN you use it just like any other drive, only everything stored on the drive is encrypted.

Speed wise the drive delivers up to 148MB per second read and up to 140MB per second write. But remember, it is hardware based encryption so that is far more important than speed.

You can set your own unique Self Destruct PIN which can instantly delete the encryption key, all PINs, all data and then creates a new encryption key so that the drive is blank.

There is also an auto-lock feature which you can set. This will automatically lock the drive after a set period of time.

The keypad is even coated with a wear resistant epoxy so that you can’t tell which keys have been pressed more than others. When it comes to security, every little bit helps!

If you want a high capacity portable drive that is safe and secure, and comes in different colours, then look no further than the diskAshur 2.

Available now in 500GB, 1TB and 2TB, in either Fiery Red, Phantom Black, Racing Green and Ocean Blue, with prices starting around £159 (the 1TB Phantom Black drive retails for around £219).

You can learn more about iStorage and their product range here.