Hardware vs. Software Based Encryption for USB Flash Drives

When choosing a Secure USB Flash Drive to transport your sensitive data, you will get Ralph Lauren sale UK the most protection and performance from a drive that uses hardware based encryption.  Here’s why…

Encryption is the process of transforming information–text or data–using an algorithm (a specific set of rules or steps) to make it unreadable to anyone except those possessing special knowledge, or the key.  (We’ll talk more about this in our Ralph Lauren Outlet sale next post when we look at AES-256 encryption).  The process of encrypting or decrypting data can be performed two ways: software encryption which uses some of the processing power in your computer to execute the algorithm or hardware encryption.

1. Software encryption, while it is effective, is just that: a software program that is installed on your computer like any other software program. This means that it can be hacked in the same fashion other Windows programs get hacked on a daily basis. Not that these programs are easy to hack, but if you were to lose your USB flash drive a skilled computer hacker could use what is called “brute force attack” to unlock the drive and steal your data.  They would try to unlock the data by trying every possible key with nothing to curb this process.

Hardware encryption allows for safeguards against these types of brute force attacks to be built into your device. In the case of the Aleratec PortaStor Secure 256-bit AES Encrypted USB flash drives, if you log-in with the wrong password six times the encryption key is deleted rendering your data useless. Anyone trying to gain access to your data must know your password or risk permanently deleting the secured contents of the drive.
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2. Software encryption stores your password in a file on the flash drive. A skilled computer hacker could copy the file to his computer to determine the algorithm used.  Once the hacker knows the algorithm used, he has the key to figure out your password and thereby gain access to your data.

With hardware encryption like that on the PortaStor drives, a hacker would not even have access to the drive until a proper password is entered.

3. Software encryption is dependent on the security of the operating system on top of which it is running. A security hole in the operating system of the computer you use to encrypt your flash drive could lead to vulnerability in the encryption application.

Hardware encryption, on the other hand does not depend on a driver or application installed on your PC. It is part of the thumb drive itself and keeps the encryption process independent of the computer.

4. The software encryption application is stored in your computer’s memory and is executed on demand. When it is stored in a common memory space it is vulnerable to attacks that can weaken the integrity of the application code.

With Hardware based encryption, the application is stored in a fully contained memory space on the USB flash drive which provides a high level of code integrity. In the case of the PortaStor Secure flash drive, the application is stored on a CD-ROM partition of the USB Flash Drive so the application itself cannot be altered.

5. Software-based encryption is performed more slowly as it uses the processing power of your computer.

Performance of Hardware based encryption is fast since it uses a separate encryption control chip for processing.

To transport your sensitive data with confidence, Aleratec’s PortaStor Secure product line of USB flash drives uses hardware-based 256-bit AES to encrypt your data.

256 AES encryption badgeAleratec’s PortaStor Secure flash drives are available in four capacity points: 16GB, 8GB, 4GB, and 2GB.

Customers can find Aleratec’s PortaStor Secure USB Flash Drives at leading resellers throughout North America and on Aleratec’s website at www.aleratec.com.

Interested in more? Give us a “like” on Facebook, follow us on Twitter (@aleratec), and watch our videos on YouTube to learn more about our full catalog of products.

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