This is the world's most versatile hardware-encrypted USB flash key, with prices starting at $59

The Apricorn Aegis Secure Key 3NXC is the first USB 3.2 encrypted flash drive to be fitted with a USB-C connector, making it the perfect solution for businesses, governments, nd individuals wanting the best possible data security.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

In an era of GDPR, FISMA, FERPA and HIPAA, carrying around unencrypted data really isn't an option for businesses these days. And with working from home having made more progress in the past few months that it was expected to make in the next few years, security is more important than ever.

And Apricorn's new Aegis Secure Key 3NXC is the perfect solution.

The new Aegis Secure Key 3NXC builds on Apricorn's Secure Key 3z and Aegis Secure Key 3NX, taking the same proven form-factor and physical keypad, and adding something that users have been asking for -- USB-C support.

"Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, remote and mobile working was on the rise, along with the associated risks to data," said Jon Fielding, Apricorn's managing director EMEA. "As the global workforce shifted from office to home practically overnight, the demand for our encrypted secure keys skyrocketed, as did the demand for our A-to-C adapters. We accelerated the release of the Aegis Secure Key 3NXC to provide an efficient way of ensuring that employees using MacBooks, iPads and Android devices can securely store and move sensitive data, wherever and however they're working."

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Apricorn Aegis Secure Key 3NXC

Aegis Secure Key 3NXC tech specs:

  • No software – so there's nothing to keylog or to hack.
  • OS agnostic – the device is completely cross platform compatible.
  • Onboard keypad – all authentication takes place within the device itself.
  • All data, passwords and encryption keys are 256-bit encrypted at rest.
  • No host computer is involved in setup, authentication or encryption.
  • Forced enrollment – no default PINs ensures that data is not put at risk by employees who fail to change a factory set PIN before deployment.
  • IP-68 rated against water and dust damage.
  • Separate administrator and user access.
  • Read-only options that can be enforced by the administrator or set by the user if allowed by policy.
  • Highly configurable with policy such as time out values, data recovery PINs, and programmable PIN lengths.
  • Brute force PIN attack protection.
  • Ability to automatically configure multiple devices remotely using Apricorn's Aegis Configurator tool.

When I started using Aegis keys with the built-in keypad I'd expected the polymer-coated buttons to be the weak link, but they are exceedingly wear-resistant and do not seem to wear out over time to reveal most commonly used buttons. I have similar drives that have been in regular usage for over a year and the keypad is still like new.

The drive also comes with a silicone sleeve that helps to keep it clean and free from scratches.

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Because there are no drivers to install, the drive is totally OS agnostic and perfectly at home on Windows, Linux, Mac, Android, Chrome, iPadOS on the iPad Pro, and embedded systems, as well as other equipment equipped with a powered USB port and storage file system.

In use, the simplicity of the Aegis Secure Key 3NXC really shines. Once you've set up a passcode, you can unlock and lock the drive in a matter of seconds.

You can unlock it easily. Not the bad guys.

The drive features built-in brute-force decrypt defense, can be set to read-only mode, and it has unattended auto-lock in case you walk away from it and become distracted.

For that added level of security, there's also the ability to set a self-destruct PIN to quickly wipe the drive of its contents yet make it seem like it is fully working.

The flash drive's firmware is also locked to prevent tampering with it, which makes the drive resistant to attacks such as BadUSB.

"USB-C is the first truly universal standard for transferring data between devices, and is set to take over from USB-A as the new standard on computers of the future," Fielding told ZDNet. "While most computers and laptops still offer both A and C connector ports, the number of manufacturers exclusively committing to type C is growing. We're developing our products with this next generation of computers in mind - but we will continue to manufacture USB-A compatible devices for those who need them for the foreseeable future."

This drive is everything I have come to like and expect from Apricorn hardware, now with a USB-C connector, which for me makes it the perfect drive to protect my data.

FIPS 140-2 Level 3 validation for the Aegis Secure Key 3NXC is pending for Q3 2020.

The 3NXC comes in a broader range of capacities, ranging from 4GB to 128GB. This translates into savings for those who don't need high-capacity storage drives, and prices range from $59 to $179.

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