SecureDrive BT Portable Hardware Encrypted SSD With Bluetooth Unlocking

Monday, September 02, 2019

Hardware-encrypted drives require a password and without the password (assuming it's a strong password), you are not getting to the data. Period!
It's hard to believe though, that there are external hard drives with hardware encryption without a password/pin because it defies the very purpose of their existence. The purpose of a password/pin combination is not just an encryption/decryption key but also to authenticate that the user is, indeed, authorized to access the contents of the drive.
If you are in the market for a new external portable hard drive and want one that encrypts data with a password, check out SecureDrive BT. Unlike external portable drives that integrate a keypad to unlock the drive, SecureDrive BT uses a mobile device to unlock it.
SecureDrive BT is, essentially, a bluetooth hard drive with 256-bit XTS AES hardware encryption that is compatible with any operating system (i.e.Windows, Mac, Linux and Chrome). Just like most portable storage devices, SecureDrive BT is a USB mass storage device, meaning when you plug it into a computer, it shows up as a regular drive just like a built-in hard drive in a computer.

SecureDrive BT SSD next to 2.5-inch SSD
The SSD (solid-state drive) version of SecureDrive BT is more closely related to a USB flash drive as it has no moving parts, unlike the HDD version of SecureDrive. Solid state drives are, overall, better than hard disk drives (HDD) because SSDs are less fragile and less prone to data loss than hard drives.

As an optional add-on, you can add the option of remote management for one or multiple SecureDrive BTs so, as an admin you can restrict a user's access to the drives by implementing GPS geo-fencing from as little as a 91-meter radius of any specific location, up to an entire continent.  Additionally, you can restrict access by time control (time-fencing).  You can enable and disable user's access to any drive on your account.
The user access log will show each time when a user unlocks a drive, as well as where and when it happened. The access log will also show issues such as the user entering an incorrect password, or is trying to unlock the drive in the wrong location. From here you can remotely reset (remote wipe) drives, as well as remotely unlock, and change passwords.
SecureDrive BT is managed remotely via the DataLock BT web console so, no need to download a software application. The web console is a subscription based service and requires a fairly inexpensive yearly license fee per BT drive. Additional user licenses can be purchased for additional BT drives for a modest fee.
Most portable hard drives on the market only use a keypad password to lock and unlock the drive to access the contents, making SecureDrive BT stand out from the crowd because of wireless authentication via an iOS device or Android mobile device.
Wireless authentication makes SecureDrive BT even more secure than an external hard drive with keypad lock because anyone trying to access the drive will have to bypass the mobile device own security.
Android security options include fingerprint, facial recognition, pattern lock or pin, while iOS security options include facial recognition, passcode and thumbprint recognition to unlock an iPhone, Apple Watch or iPad.
SecureDrive BT is unlocked using the DataLock mobile app, which communicates to the drive via Bluetooth. The DataLock app is developed by ClevX (Clever Xtensions) and it's as easy to use as pairing any other bluetooth device. Simply open the DataLock app, connect the drive and start the pairing process.
By default, SecureDrive BT comes with a default password that you can later change to a password between 7 and 15 characters long. There is no "backdoor" so, the only way to access SecureDrive BT is with a password.
If you forget the password, you can recover it as long as the Password Recovery option is enabled from the DataLock app. If Password Recovery is not enabled, there is absolutely no way to recover the contents of the drive. Password Recovery works by sending you a text message with the password and requires that you enter a mobile number.
After ten failed attempts to unlock, SecureDrive BT is designed with Brute Force Hacking detection so, SecureDrive BT will automatically erase the password, data and formatting. If someone tries to access the internal electronics, the will find epoxy coated all over the circuitry.
The DataLock app settings include a total of 10 options for changing the settings of SecureDrive BT, including name of drive, password, 2-factor authentication (2FA), password recovery, password reminder, inactivity auto-lock (set to activate lock at predefined times between 1 and 60 minutes), step-away auto-lock, read-only (prevents writing, deleting or saving), reset drive and remote wipe so, you can wipe all contents remotely.
If you own an iPhone (iPhone 5S and newer), there is an extra feature called TouchID (FaceID) that lets you unlock SecureDrive BT with the fingerprint sensor. iPhone users with an iPhone 5S, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus can also unlock the drive with an Apple Watch but DataLock app also has to be installed on the Apple Watch. SecureDrive BT also supports Android's version of Face ID and Touch ID.
The Step-away autolock locks SecureDrive BT when the mobile device is moved more than 3 meters away from SecureDrive BT for longer than 5 seconds.
Two-factor authentication is an extra layer of security for SecureDrive BT that you can enable, requiring you to enter a password, as well as a security code (sent to your mobile phone) to access SecureDrive BT. DataLock app can control multiple SecureDrive BTs.
SecureDrive BT comes in two form factors - SSD and HDD. The SecureDrive BT SSD format is the one pictured in this review and the smallest, measuring 12.5mm thin. SecureDrive BT's HDD version is thicker, measuring 20.5mm (up to 5TB HDD). Both the SSD and HDD versions have the same length and width (125mm long and 77mm wide).
As far as data transfer speeds, SecureDrive BT is rated at up to 355 MB per second read and up to 333MB per second write. Of course, these data transfer speeds depend on the specification of the computer (i.e. RAM, motherboard, etc) SecureDrive BT is connected to, as well as the connection method (USB 2.0, USB 3.0 or USB 3.1).
If SecureDrive BT is connected to a USB 2.0 port of an AMD 760G chipset motherboard running 8GB of RAM, you can expect around 30MB read and 29MB write.
SecureDrive BT is designed for consumers, but has FIPS 140-2 Level 3 validation so, it is approved to be used by government departments, agencies, public bodies, banking institutions and healthcare centres.
As it does not have firmware/control code that can be overwritten from a computer, SecureDrive BT is also immune to the infamous Bad USB exploit that allows hackers to turn a USB device into a keyboard to control someone's computer. This means, even if someone steals your drive or manages to hack into your computer they will not be able to use SecureDrive BT as a keyboard to control your computer.
As mentioned earlier, there is no keypad or buttons. SecureDrive BT only features a USB connection port and three LED indicators to indicate Lock (red LED), Data Transfer (blue dash) and Unlock (green LED). The device ID is located above the USB connection port and Serial Number is located on the back of the drive.
When using the DataLock app locally as an admin, your mobile device does not require an Internet connection or mobile phone signal in order to unlock SecureDrive BT.
If you are a user and your SecureDrive BT is being remotely managed, you will be required an Internet/mobile connection on your mobile device unless the admin enables the offline mode in the DataLock app, which requires Android phones to run at least version 4.4 or above
2 year limited warranty - designed and assembled in the USA
Included with SecureDrive BT is also a 40cm long short USB to micro USB 3.0 cable, which has a 3.0 micro-B USB connector on one end. The 3.0 micro-B USB cable comes secretly stowed inside the lid of the plastic casing packaging. There is also a quick start guide included.

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