A few simple questions and answers about IRONKEY

Every question you could think of (hopefully) answered in easy to understand english. If you can’t find a question or answer here then please contact us and we will be happy to assist you.

Q. What is IRONKEY?

IronKey is the World’s most secure USB flash drive. It automatically encrypts all stored data using AES256 CBC Encryption (The highest rated encryption possible) and is the only USB flash drive to have FIP 140-2 Level 3 validation meaning that it has tamper-evident physical security mechanisms and a high probability of detecting and responding to attempts at physical access, use or modification of the cryptographic module. It is the most physically rugged, tough and waterproof USB flash drive in the World.

Furthermore, the IronKey is the only encrypted flash drive to have gained NATO approval. It is also currently undergoing CESG CAPS approval (UK Government) with said approval expected in due course.

Replace your USB sticks with IronKey to ensure information security at all times and to have a long lasting, durable product you can be sure to trust.

Q. Why would I need an encrypted USB Memory Stick?

Each year thousands, upon thousands, of unsecure USB drives are lost leaving the data on these drives completely exposed. This puts at risk organisation brand value, business partner relationships, users’ employment details, client data etc… Furthermore, current legislation demands that data is secure and encrypted; non-compliance can lead to fines of up to £500,000 in the UK.

With IronKey your information is safeguarded. All your data is always password-protected and encrypted within the hardware. A lost or stolen device is merely a lost or stolen device, your data is safe and no breach will ever occur.

If a lost IronKey is found and returned you can be 100% sure that the data is intact and has not been read or manipulated by anyone. Just plug it into a computer and it is ready to work for you again. This saves money from day one as data breaches and surrounding routines and procedures are all costly. Not to mention the headaches you will avoid for all involved.

Q. Why choose IRONKEY?

IronKey Inc. was founded in 2005 to devise a secure drive for Homeland Security and the US Military and is now the global leader in providing secure managed portable storage, authentication, and trusted virtual computing. Its best-of-breed product portfolio meets the highest security, performance, and privacy standards of the most demanding Fortune 500, FTSE 250, enterprise, government, and military customers.

As part of a complete security solution, IronKey managed multifunction security devices meet the unique needs of mobile workers worldwide. Its award-winning solutions range from IronKey Basic, the world’s most secure USB flash drive, to IronKey Enterprise Virtual Desktop, a complete solution for carrying a secure computer operating system in your pocket. Powered by IronKey Enterprise Management software, IronKey network-aware devices can be managed remotely by an organisation’s IT staff.

Over 1,000,000 users in 75 countries trust IronKey solutions to protect their invaluable data and networks. Through its innovative, extensible Trusted Virtual Computing platform, enterprises and government agencies can now realise the cost-effective benefits of virtualisation without compromising security.

IronKey is a security based product with data storage – all other encrypted flash drives are storage devices with some security added on. If you want security and encryption choose IronKey.

Q. What Models are available and which one it right for me?

There are 3 different types of IronKey: The IronKey Basic, the IronKey Personal and the IronKey Enterprise

The IronKey Basic is the World’s most secure flash drive and has AES256 CBC encryption for securing your data. Buy this if you need to encrypt you data and be totally sure that no one else can ever access it.

The IronKey Personal has all the benefits of the Basic model together with a host of on-board security software including hardened Mozilla firefox web browser, Secure Sessions Surfing, ID Manager and Secure back-up using my.ironkey.com. Buy this if you need to encrypt you data and be totally sure that no one else can even access it and you would also like the ability to surf the web anonymously, have your IronKey remember and pre-populate your Passwords and Logins with the ability to securely back-up all your Passwords and Logins. Please be aware that when using the IronKey Personal on a MAC the above features are not functional.

The IronKey Enterprise is a solution for organisations which allows them to manage their IronKeys in the field – see below for full explanation. Buy this if your organisation needs to manage their users in the field and have the ability to prove data compliance.

Q. What is the difference between the S250 and D250 Models?

The S250 Models use SLC Memory. SLC or Single Level Cell memory is faster, more durable and long lasting than other memory – up to 31MB/s read speed / Up to 18MB/s write speed. The IronKey S250 is the only USB flash drive to use SLC memory – all other flash drives use MLC memory.

For ease of recognition the S250 Models are finished in brushed steel.

The D250 Models use MLC Memory. Multi Level Cell memory in comparison to SLC memory is slower and not as durable – up to 29MB/s read speed / Up to 13MB/s write speed. The D250 Model is for users who require higher storage capacities but do not require their IronKey for daily use/heavy usage.

For ease of recognition the D250 Models are finished in black enamel (still in a steel casing and epoxy resin enclosure).

Both models have the same levels of data encryption and physical security.

Q. What memory capacities are available?

IronKey is available in these storage sizes:

S250 Models:  2GB, 4GB, 8GB, 16GB and 32GB

D250 Models: 2GB, 4GB, 8GB, 16GB, 32GB and 63GB

Q .What is the IRONKEY Enterprise Solution?

Enterprise IronKeys have the same level of encryption and security of the BASIC Models and are managed using the cloud-based software (EMS). The IronKey Enterprise Solution has the following features:

IronKey Enterprise logs device use for reporting and compliance / Remote Administration and Policy Enforcement over the Internet / Active Anti-Malware Protection (subject to using IronKey’s Anti-Malware Software Subsciption) / Remotely Disable or Terminate Lost and Stolen USB Drives using the Silver Bullet Service / Self-Service Password Recovery / Administrator Device Unlock and Reset / Portable Security Software / Secure Platform for Virtualisation / One-Time Password technology for two factor Authentication / Onboard identity management software / Endpoint and Enterprise Application Integration / Policy Enforcement and Provisioning / Speedy deployment and commissioning

Q. Which USB-ports is IRONKEY compatible with?

IronKey works on all available USB-ports, both 1.1 and 2.0 (high-speed/full-speed). The small form factor means that it will fit even is space is scarce as with close adjacent ports on ultra slim laptops.

Q. Does IRONKEY require software installations or admin rights?

No, just plug the stick in and all necessary resources are run directly from the stick and no traces are left behind.

Q. What strength of Password should I use?

Given that the password count try is only 10 then you do not need a long, hard to remember password with all sorts of characters. Think of it this way: If someone asked you to guess a sequence of five characters in the right order and you only have 10 chances to get it right – how do you think you would do?

Do remember, however, that for passwords for other devices or logins to accounts etc… the above advice should not be followed.

Q. What happens if a user forgets their IRONKEY password?

It is not possible in any way to get access to stored information without the correct password. There are no back-doors and tests by independent security labs and customers have confirmed this over and over again. It is statistically and technically impossible to retrieve data.

IRONKEY BASIC Models – Password Try Count is 10. Default setting after 10 incorrect tries is self-destruct rendering device and data un-useable, however, it can be set just to wipe data only, leaving the device re-useable.

IRONKEY Personal Models – Password Try Count is 10. Default setting after 10 incorrect tries is self-destruct rendering device and data un-useable, however, using the my.ironkey.com account users can securely back-up and retrieve their password using two factor authentication and hint questions.

IRONKEY Enterprise Models – Password Try Count is 10 (default) although can be set between1 to 200. As this is a managed service if a user forgets their password it can be reset remotely by the administrator. No information is lost and the user is securely back to work in minutes.

Q. What happens if I lose my IRONKEY?

Your data is 100% safe; it is password protected and encrypted using AES256 CBC encryption. Furthermore, the IronKey is physically tamper-proof (as described above).

If a lost IRONKEY is found anyone attempting to use the device will be presented with a lost and found message asking the person to return the IronKey to the rightful owner.

Q. What happens if my IRONKEY is stolen?

If your IronKey is stolen (or lost and falls into the wrong hands) then be assured that your data is 100% safe. If anyone tries to guess the password they only have 10 attempts to do so. Once 10 guessed have been tried the IronKey will self-destruct or wipe the data held on it (depending on your settings).

With the IronKey Enterprise Solution, Administrators can use the Silver Bullet Service to immediately destroy the stolen IronKey.

Knowing that your data is 100% secure gives IronKey users the surety that their data is safe and allows them to comply with a variety of Legalities including the Data Protection Act, the ICO office etc…..

Q. Can IRONKEY be managed in a Corporate Environment?

Yes. Use the IronKey Enterprise Solution (see above for explanation of this Solution). The IronKey Enterprise Solution is used by over 5000 corporate and governmental customer worldwide.

IronKey Enterprise Service allows you to manage thousands of IronKey drives wherever they may be in the world.

IronKey Enterprise Service together with IronKey drives are rapidly deployed and provides full management capabilities, complete device life-cycle management, assignment of policies and features, remote reset of passwords, compliant auditing, remote wiping of rogue drives and much more.

Q. How tough is IRONKEY? Will it break?

The IronKey is a small device but it is extremely tough and rugged. It is the only USB to meet the rigorous and exacting standards set by FIPS 140-2 Level 3. It is encased in a totally sealed steel body and filled with an epoxy resin. IronKey devices also employ tamper-reaction technology in their firmware. The Cryptochip defends itself against power analysis, temperature, and probing attacks. It will self-destruct by erasing the data and keys when it detects any of these types of attacks.

In addition to the epoxy potting compound, IronKey devices are protected by thin-film metal shielding around the onboard memory. This electromagnetic shielding provides another layer of defence against tampering by protecting against invasive attacks such as electronic scanning of the memory contents.

IronKey devices have passed—and exceeded—military waterproof standards (MIL-STD-810F).

Some of the things the IronKey has been proven to withstand include:

There are a number of videos displaying the IronKey under extreme conditions on this site including Repeated rolling over by large/heavy vehicles and other physical attacks and repeated full washing machine cycles at the highest temperature.

Q. What operating systems does IRONKEY support?

IRONKEY operates on the following Systems:

Windows 2000 SP4, Windows XP SP2+, Vista, Windows 7, Macintosh OS X 10.4+, Linux 2.6+.

All IronKeys provide hardware encryption on the above operating systems however, please note that IronKey’s On-board Mozilla FireFox, Secure Sessions and ID manager do not work on the MAC OS or Linux OS.

Q. Can I trial the IRONKEY?

Organisations can apply for a FREE trial version of the IRONKEY Enterprise Model

Q. Do I need to Comply with the Data Protection Act?

Anyone who processes personal information must comply with all eight principles of the Data Protection Act, which make sure that personal information is:

Fairly and lawfully processed / Processed for limited purposes / Adequate, relevant and not excessive / Accurate and up to date / Not kept for longer than is necessary / Processed in line with your rights / Secure / Not transferred without adequate protection (the last two points being very important and the two which can be complied with via the use of an IronKey)

Q. What other Legislation is there?

Recommendations by the UK Government Cabinet Office and the ICO (Information Commissioners Office) require that arrangements for data handling procedures specify that:

“removable media should be encrypted to a standard of at least FIPS 140-2 or equivalent in addition to being protected by a authentication mechanism, such as a password”

Ironkey goes much further than those recommendations and is the only secure USB drive currently undergoing the CESG CAPS Evaluation (UK Government approval)

Q .Got a Question?

If you’ve got a question that you would like answering please contact us and we’ll answer you personally and then put the question and answer here for others to benefit from.


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