Lexar JumpDrive SAFE S3000 FIPS Review

By Paul Riegler on 15 August 2010
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In the television show Mission Impossible, the tape detailing the mission that Jim Phelps (played by Peter Graves) was being assigned would self-destruct in five seconds so the top-secret information would not fall into the wrong hands.

Today, many business travelers think nothing of carrying confidential information on an ordinary flash drive.  Every day, however, thousands of such drives are lost or misplaced and some fall into the wrong hands.  One way of keeping your data out of the wrong hands is to use a secure drive.

The JumpDrive SAFE S3000 FIPS is the first USB flash memory storage device to utilize a smartcard for authentication and encryption that will keep your data safe and secure.  The tiny (48 g) drive is solidly made and survived my attempts to destroy it.  My testing included dropping it from a height of 8 feet multiple times on a variety of floor surfaces including tile and concrete, throwing it against a brick wall multiple times, and trying to crush it with a 1 kg barbell.   Although it bore the physical scars from these tests, the drive itself continued to work flawlessly.

Lexar claims that the device is waterproof to a depth of 30 m, something I was unable to test, but I did leave it in a pants pocket in the washing machine (but not the dryer)  followed by a five-day dunk in a decommissioned fresh water aquarium.  After drying off the connector (do not insert the connector wet!), all data was accessible.

Using the JumpDrive is easy and fairly straightforward.   It encrypts data using AES-256 bit technology and it is necessary to log into the drive to access the encrypted drive.  Access to the drive is blocked after a set number of login attempts and the device will, for all intents and purposes, self destruct if the security question is answered incorrectly five times.

$121.35 at amazon.com

-Paul Riegler is a contributing editor at Executive Road Warrior.

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