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Computing and Information Services

Secure USB Storage

Many of us have a need to access data files whilst on the go, both within the University and especially when working away. As they can easily be lost or stolen CIS discourages the general use of USB devices and provides a number of safer alternatives for sharing files or accessing information whilst on the move.

If you do need to use an USB storage device to store University Information, for example as part of your role or your research, this must be encrypted. Staff can order encrypted USB sticks from CIS using the IT ordering process.

Further information on working safely whilst on the move or off-campus, including the policies that apply, is available on the information security matters webpages.

Purchasing an encrypted USB key

CIS recommend the Kingston Data Traveler encrypted USB key:

Kingston's® Vault Privacy Edition USB Flash drive protects the most sensitive data with 256-bit AES hardware encryption and an enforced complex password.

Kingston's® provides the following features:

  • Full Encryption – 100 % of stored data is protected by hardware-based, 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES).
  • Secure – drive locks down and reformats after 10 intrusion attempts.
  • Enforced password protection – complex password is user set with minimum characteristics to prevent unauthorized access.
  • Easy to use – no admin rights or application installation required.
  • Compatibility – Microsoft Windows 7, Vista (SP1), XP (SP1, 2, 3), 2000 (SP4). Mac and Linux.

What is AES 256-bit?

Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) is a block cipher adopted as an encryption standard by the U.S. government. AES is one of the most popular algorithms used in symmetric key cryptography.

PLEASE NOTE: The encryption used by the Data Traveler is of a level that prevents the data being recovered should the password/key be lost. The algorithm is extremely robust and cannot be reverse engineered or cracked. CIS has no capacity to recover any data should the password be lost.

We strongly recommend that any data stored on your encrypted USB is a copy of the original and that you take appropriate steps to ensure the password is not lost.

The Kingston Data Traveler is available in three sizes:

  • 4 Gb Kingston Secure memory key - £20
  • 8 Gb Kingston Secure memory key - £34.83
  • 16 Gb Kingston Secure memory key - £67.63

You can purchase one via your department or college using the IT Web Order Form (nb. only authorised members of staff can use this form).