First Look: n-Tegrity Pro secure USB thumb drive appliance
What it is:
USB stick with fingerprint
authentication, AES or Blowfish file encryption, secure partition and platform
for hosting and launching applications. Plug this little baby in and launch apps, store files, send emails, and
sign documents all without leaving a trace on the host computer. Capacity
ranges from 256K to 4 Gigs.
n-Trance Security Ltd
How it does it:
n-Tegrity Pro combines a
proprietary biometric authentication application (all properly documented and
publicly discussed in academic papers, of course), file encryption (using your
choice of AES, Blowfish or other popular encryption options), and a logical
partition for secure file storage.
The product is shipping is
currently sold through a few channels in Europe and on Amazon.
Starts at $45, up to $200.
I tested the Pro version with 1 Gig of memory selling for about $90.
I opened the box and
installed it in seconds. Within five or
six minutes I was a power user (after I figured out that I have to swipe my
finger three times to enroll instead of just one). The software running on my device is n-Pass
Pro 188.8.131.526. I inserted it in a USB
port of my old IBM ThinkPad T42 running Windows XP (updated) and was pleased at
how quickly the n-Tegrity Pro was detected. After registering two fingers using
the biometric reader, a navigation window offered me options to launch the
embedded applications like Skype or Miranda instant messaging. I selected Internet Explorer and surfed away,
hardly detecting any latency given the fact that the app and its caches were
being completely housed on the stick. At
one point, mid operation, I ripped the stick out to see what would crash. Nothing did. The n-Tegrity Pro icon in the system tray simply disappeared. When I
reinserted the device in the USB port I counted to ten and was presented with
the fingerprint authentication request, slid my left thumb across the reader
and was instantly back in action. Encrypting was just as easy. I dragged a file into the reader and right
clicked. I found the functions of this
powerful device and its elegant software to be intuitive and supremely
useful. The device has an integrated
cover and comes with a lanyard – an important protection for me because I lose
Other capabilities listed
on the website are
- n-Pass Pro – biometrically
enabled VPN and RDC connection
- n-Crypt –shell-integrated
biometrically-enabled cryptographic application for files and folders
- Encrypted Virtual Disks
- FIPS 140-2 Level 1
- Selectable cryptographic
algorithms from the list of 7 most powerful (such as RSA-2048 key pair, AES-256, etc)
I mentioned IE, Miranda and
Skype, but there are many apps you could launch from the flash disk. A list of
compliant applications is available HERE.
USB sticks combining secure
file storage are a dime a dozen these days. Well, maybe $500 a dozen, but you get the idea. The n-Trance solution combines applications,
secure files, password storage, and so many other uses neatly contained in a
form factor with its own secure biometric authentication and encryption engine.
Not much to gripe about at
this point. It does what it claims. The Quick Start Guide is not written as
clearly as it could be. And I look
forward to support of Linux and Mac.
How to Buy:
Europeans can go to their
local UniEuro Market in Italy, Netherlands, Hungary and Russia where you’ll likely find the
products displayed next to new computers.
Everyone else can go to