Why you can trust ZDNET : ZDNET independently tests and researches products to bring you our best recommendations and advice. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. Our process

'ZDNET Recommends': What exactly does it mean?

ZDNET's recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.

When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNET nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.

ZDNET's editorial team writes on behalf of you, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form.


This is the USB flash drive James Bond would use

We've found the perfect solution if you're in the market for a high-security and military-grade drive.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Contributing Writer
Kingston Ironkey Keypad 200

Kingston Ironkey Keypad 200.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

Carrying important information around on an unencrypted flash drive is a dumb move. Lose the drive, and anyone who finds it has immediate access to all your data, and the consequences can range from embarrassment to potentially opening up your company to legal headaches.

What you need is a flash drive that keeps everything on it secured at all times. You also need one that doesn't require you to install software on the machines that you want to use the flash drive on. I mean, not only is this issue really inconvenient, but some machines are going to be so locked down that you can't install third-party software onto them.

Also: The best security keys you can buy (and how they work)

Now, an answer to those problems is here -- in fact, the Kingston Ironkey Keypad 200 is the USB flash drive that James Bond would use to keep all his secrets secure.

View at Amazon

Kingston Ironkey Keypad 200 features

  • FIPS 140-3 Level 3 certified military-grade security (pending)
  • OS/device independent
  • XTS-AES 256-bit encryption
  • Enforced alphanumeric PIN
  • Multi-PIN (admin and user) option
  • 8GB, 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, 128GB
  • Up to 145MB/s read, 115MB/s write
  • Certified to IP57 rating
  • Built-in battery
  • Built-in wear-resistant keypad
  • USB-A interface 

In short, the Ironkey Keypad 200 is like a mini Fort Knox for your data. It meets the new FIPS 140-3 Level 3 military-grade security specifications published by NIST (certification pending). This specification further enhances the drive's security capabilities and makes tamper-resistance mandatory.

Also: Do RFID blocking cards actually work? My Flipper Zero revealed the truth

The drive includes XTS-AES 256-bit encryption, along with brute-force and BadUSB attack protection with digitally signed firmware. The drive is also filled with a special epoxy that makes it virtually impossible to remove components without damaging them, protecting the drive from low-level attacks.

What's more, the protection doesn't end there. The keypad can be used to set up a passcode that's an easy-to-remember but hard-to guess alphanumeric PIN for both admins and user.

Also: ChatGPT and the new AI are wreaking havoc on cybersecurity

And if you're worried that the keypad is going to wear -- and that this wear pattern could betray the password -- then the keypad has been coated with a polymer that protects the keys from wear and even fingerprints.

Wear-resistant keypad

Wear-resistant keypad.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

Brute-force protection means that if the passcode is entered incorrectly 10 times, the data will be irrevocably destroyed and the drive reset.

Also: The best secure browsers for privacy, and how to protect your identity online

And for auditing purposes, each drive has been laser-engraved with a unique serial number.

Every drive has a laser-engraved serial number for auditing

Every drive has a laser-engraved serial number for auditing.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

The drive slides into a tough, aluminum extruded shell to offer further protection, and there's a rubber gasket to help keep the shell secured to the drive, and to stop dirt and water from entering.

Rubber gasket protects the drive from dirt and dust

A rubber gasket protects the drive from dirt and dust.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

I've tested the dirt and water ingress protection, and the outer shell does a great job keeping your data safe.

The Ironkey Keypad 200 is certified to IP57 rating

The Ironkey Keypad 200 is certified to IP57 rating.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

On the end of the drive is a tough wire ring for securing the drive to your keyring.

Tough wire ring for securing the flash drive to a keyring

Here's that tough wire ring for securing the flash drive to a keyring.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

As for performance, the specs claim read speeds up to 145MB/s, and write speeds up to 115MB/s, and using Blackmagic's Disk Speed Test app, I was able to get speeds to within 5% of these rated speeds.

Also: 8 habits of highly secure remote workers

If you're in the market for a high-security, robust, tough, military-grade certified drive, then look no further than the Kingston Ironkey Keypad 200. It's also very competitively priced, with the 8GB version selling for $75, and the 128GB version selling for $204.

Editorial standards