BeCrypt releases secure OS on USB drive

Data security firm will offer an encrypted bootable OS on a flash drive, for use on untrusted PCs

A secure operating system that can be carried around on a flash drive will be unveiled at the Infosecurity conference in London later this month.

Trusted Client is an encrypted operating system that its maker, BeCrypt, claims will "provide a trusted environment on an untrusted host". According to chief executive David Holman, the system has "already been piloted at a major UK government site".

The bootable system can be used for thin-client applications, web and email access or for standalone applications. Boot-time authentication and encryption protect the information held on the USB stick. The system is being advertised as particularly suitable for employees that occasionally work from home or clients' sites, or for "business continuity", when an employee needs to gain secure access to the corporate network from an untrusted computer. It is currently unclear when the system will be available for purchase, or how much it will cost.

Trusted Client will not be the first bootable operating system to appear on a flash drive. Mandriva also recently released its Linux distribution on a USB stick, bundled alongside open-source applications such as Firefox and OpenOffice.