Hardware, Technology Security

Tech on the Go; Meet the Kingston DataTraveler Locker+


The ability to carry sensitive data from point A to point B has become an increasingly difficult thing to do. Not all that long ago you could simply put your data on a floppy disk or CD/DVD-ROM and head to your destination. Now, with the increasing occurrence of theft, data breaches, and outright carless loss of items while traveling that option is just gone.  So how do you get your sensitive data between stops? Well you look for an encrypted device that is easy to carry with you but large enough to hold anything you need. Fortunately there are a few encrypted USB ?thumb? drives on the market. Unfortunately, not all are truly secure. Today we look at one that boasts good security on paper and an even better capacity. This is the Kingston DataTravler Locker+ 32GB USB drive, let?s take a look and see just how secure it is.

The packaging that they DataTraveler Locker+ [for the rest of this review we will call it the DT Locker +] comes in is pretty simple. It is the typical blister pack intended for hanging on a peg in a store. It does offer a good view of the product as well as all of the information you would need/want to know about before you purchased this device. You can clearly see the capacity and the fact that this has hardware based encryption. On the lower right hand corner is a big red and white number 5. This is the number of years that Kingston warranties the DT Locker + against defects and failure.

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If you want more information on what the warranty covers you can tear apart the cardboard insert and it is there for your reading pleasure.

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DataTraveler Locker +
The DT Locker + is a pretty nice looking device [as far as USB flash drives go], it would not win any awards for looks but it does manage to convey a sense of durability. The outer cover is metal and swings around on a small ?torx? head screw. The drive underneath is made of an interesting feeling material. At first it felt like hard rubber, and that is exactly what it is? something that feels like hard rubber. All kidding aside it is more likely plastic, it just does not feel like your typical plastic. The rest of the drive looks like you would expect a USB flash drive to look.
Internally the DT Locker + is anything but ordinary. It contains the hardware to secure your data with 256-Bit AES encryption. It comes in capacities of up to 32GB and is one of the simplest encrypted drives I have used. There is no software to install as everything is directly on the drive.

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To setup the DT Locker + you simple insert the drive into an available USB 2.0 or 1.1 slot. It will load its unencrypted partition. This partition is formatted as a CDFS file system which actually makes it looks like a CD-ROM to your system. This should help prevent accidental overwriting of the boot partition as removal of this would prevent the drive from working properly.

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Once interested you will find the DT Locker+ has a few files on it. The most important of which [for Windows users] is the DTLplus_Launcher.exe file. Also found on the drive are the files to allow the DT Locker+ to work on a Mac as well as manuals to explain how to use the DT Locker+.

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Once you run the DTLplus_Launcher app it will allow you to setup the encrypted part of your drive.
The launch app will take you through a short series of setups to initialize and encrypt your DT Locker+

After you are finished the launcher app will format your drive? unfortunately for compatibility it will format it FAT32. This is a problem with Windows though, as in Windows if you try to move large files to the drive it will fail as FAT32 just cannot support files over a certain size [1GB if I remember correctly]. But all is not lost; you can actually format the drive once it is decrypted [after opening the launcher and typing in the password] this will not affect the encrypted state of your data but will allow you to have the benefits of NTFS. Once you have formatted the drive you will notice that you have two drives there. One is the CDFS partition and the other is your newly decrypted partition. If you log out the 2nd partition will not be visible any longer.

To access your data after you are done setting it up you launch the DTLplus_launcher application again. This time it will prompt you for your password; you simply type it in and you are off.  If you forget your password things are not so good for you. Although you do have the option to put in a hint, there is no recovering the password if that hint does not do it.

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Clicking on ?Forgot Password? only prompts you to reformat the drive to protect your data. Likewise typing in the password incorrectly ten times will result in the drive formatting itself.  In all the DT Locker+ is pretty secure once you initialize it.

The DT Locker+ is a fairly fast little drive. It is capable of 28MB/s read speeds and is even able to run a virtual machine [VM] from it without too much trouble. I tested this by installing an ACE VM onto the DT Locker+ and running it from the encrypted partition. I was pleased with the speed, true it was not the same as a 7200RPM HDD or SSD. But it was more than fast enough to work. For normal files and even HD video it was very good. I did not experience any issues with data transfer, reading, or execution of applications from the drive.

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Here is the interesting part; the DT Locker+ starts at $23 for the 4GB model and run up to $155 for the 32GB flavor. To me this is an excellent price for having the peace of mind knowing that if I am foolish enough to leave this somewhere or to allow it to be stolen then anything that is on there will not be usable by the thief. Yes they will get a $20-$150 ?toy? from me, but I do not have to worry about losing any confidential data that I may have there. When you add in the 5-year warranty it sweetens the deal even more.

I am impressed with the DT Locker+, it is a handy little product that allows for the safe transport of sensitive data. It has more than enough speed to keep up with data read and write requests, it is priced well for the performance and security you get, and is built to last with a 5-year warranty to back it up. Although I like the larger drive, for most the smaller 4-8GB drives will cover just about anything you want to ?hide.?  I personally like to know that I can transport more information and also have a VM image or a Pocket ACE PC sitting in my pocket but one that is not open for just anyone to make use of. The Kingston DT Locker+ is an excellent product that we can really be proud to get behind. If you are looking for secure storage for your? um documents [or porn as some call it], well then here it is.

We are happy to award the Kingston DT Locker+ our Prosumer Product Editor?s Choice for its security, performance and ease of use.