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iStorage diskAshur 2 review

Posted on 28-May-2017 14:52 by M Freitas | Filed under: Reviews

I recently had the chance to review the iStorage USB memory drives but what if you need larger storage for entire laptop backups or large file transfers? Take a look at the new iStorage diskAshur2 secure external drives.


Yes, there are plenty of software only encryption mechanisms around and some backup software will encrypt data at rest. But what if you need a solution that not only offers data encryption but features such as tamper proof build, brute force detection with self-destruction, no external software required and most importantly works with any OS that can read/write to USB drives?


iStorage has just launched a new line of secure data storage, the diskAshur 2, that covers all this and more.


The small diskAshur 2 meausres only 124mm x 84mm x 19mm. Despite the small size it comes in versions from 500GB, 1TB and 2TB. And still have a security keypad and built-in USB 3 data cable. All in this one small package.



The construction is really good, with IP56 certification (water and dust resistance) and epoxy coated wear resistant keypad. The whole package feels really nice and the non-slip coating make it feel safe while in your hands. The keypad is responsive and provide good feedback.


The built-in USB 3 cable is a bit too short for my taste though – it hangs from my laptop when using a stand – I would prefer it perhaps twice as long. But it works the same.


The keypad allows you to interact with the diskAshur 2. It’s not as easy initially (although you only really need to know how to change the default PIN to something more personal and how to unlock it). But with a bit of reading you can fully explore the capabilities provided.


Use is, as I mentioned, easy to start with. Plug the drive, enter the user default PIN and press the unlock key to have the drive switch to standard read/write mode. The drive will automatically lock if you unplug or eject it, or if you press the lock button.


If you feel comfortable you can go ahead and create an Admin PIN to manage the drive, which includes turning auto-lock on/off (a feature that will lock the drive if not in use after a certain amount of time) or even set an auto-destruct PIN, which can be entered like a normal User PIN but will instantly delete any device PIN and associated encryption keys, rendering content inaccessible to anyone, including you.


The diskAshur 2 will also self-destroy its contents after a certain number of incorrect PIN entries.


In terms of security the diskAshur 2 utilises a Common Criteria EAL4+ secure microprocessor, with rea-time AES 256 bit, hardware-based full disk encryption. The encryption algorithm is FIPS PUB 197 validated, thus guaranteeing the security of the data stored on the drive.


Documentation says the drive can transfer at up to 148Mbps (read) and 140Mbps (write). My tests using ATTO show a slightly less but not too far off speed, with a max of around 115Mbps, which seems to be constant when using blocks from 32KBytes to 64 MBytes. Speeds fall drastically when using small blocks of 512Bytes to 4Kbytes. This means users moving large documents, full system images and backups would make the most of the speeds available.



Available in four different colours, the diskAshur 2 comes with a protective carry case and a quick start guide – the full manual is available from their website and it’s recommended reading (even before you buy the drive).




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