USB flash drive protection

Ever lost a USB “Thumb” drive? Did you worry if strangers found it what they could find?

As an IT professional, I use USB drives every day. I have lost two in the last 3 years. Fortunately, I don’t keep any customer or dangerous data on them. Basically I keep my logos, some security software and maybe a file or two. The biggest thing that sucks for me is getting my notes back. Normally they are notes on a project I am working on such as “Why WHS backup keeps failing” and in it, shortcuts to web sites with a few notes.

Encrypting your drive is the most common option of keeping others from seeing your data. I think that Gizmo’s has the best, kind of geeky, way of explaining what is out there currently and what not to use due to flaws. Here is a very good article that should give you knowledge and understanding:

With that said, you may not want people to “see” your drive info if you drop it, leave it at a Tram terminal or in someone’s computer.

There are several options available for you. The first is buying a USB drive specifically with built in protection. The primary way to do this is with software encryption, however there are drives with fingerprint readers (biometric) on them. These are not cheap and how well they work depend on you and the reader.


A much less expensive way is with software encryption. This only requires you to use a password that you can remember. How well they are protected depends on two things, the strength of your password and the strength of the encryption.


You can add software to an existing USB drive if you like. PC World has a good article that should give you some guidance.

To have the USB drive only work on one specific computer, here is an easy way to do that with Microsoft’s BitLocker again, this USB drive will then only work on the computer it was setup on.

What you can do to protect a USB drive is as varied as your pocketbook can handle.

Until we meet again, have a virus free week.

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