iStorage diskAshur2 in red

Hands-on review: iStorage diskAshur2 secure USB drive

Image credit: iStorage

Meet the external drive that employs PIN protection as well as encryption: the iStorage diskAshur2 secure portable USB drive.

We reviewed iStorage’s secure USB drive last year and now the portable hard drive specialist has added fully-fledged hard disk and solid state drives to its range of PIN-protected devices.

The tech company says its Enhanced Dual Generating Encryption technology in the diskAshur² drive makes it the most secure data storage on the market. This is built around a dedicated secure microprocessor that encrypts both the data and the encryption key.

There’s even a self-destruct mechanism. The device doesn’t actually blow up or self-ignite like in the movies, but you can set the device to destroy the data after unsuccessful PIN attempts if you wish. The company describes the encryption as real-time military grade AES-XTS 256-bit full-disk hardware encryption and the microprocessor complies with the security standard Common Criteria EAL4+.

What we liked most about the security is that the PIN method makes these secure drives very simple and straightforward to use. There’s no software to set up, no operating system dependency or any restrictions – just plug it in, unlock and it’s ready to go. All you have to do is remember the 7-15 digit PIN.

We also liked the look and feel of the diskAshur2. They have a really nice shock-absorbing finish in bold colours (red, blue, green and black) and the keypad has shiny, solid epoxy buttons that you don’t feel will wear out. The lock, unlock and admin LEDs are clear and bright with quite an easy sequence to follow. It comes with a neat, tight-fitting case and, best of all, the USB 3.1 cable folds away into the edge of the drive so there’s no loose cables to carry separately or to attempt to squeeze into a case that wasn't designed for them. It’s also dust and water resistant.

We tested the diskAshur2 on an Apple Mac and once we’d formatted the partition correctly it worked just fine.

The diskAshur2 comes in a range of capacities: 500GB to 5TB for the HDD version and 128GB to 1TB for the SSD version.

Our verdict? In short, the PIN method makes this secure drive simple and straightforward to use, while the neat design in bold colours and quality finish make it a pleasure.

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