Portable Encryption and Storage Devices

portable encryption image
Figure: The small size of micro memory cards make them ideal for discreetly transporting data. Courtesy of James Bowe https://www.flickr.com/photos/jamesrbowe/3601316250/in/photolist-6ueFRu

Achieving Portable Encryption with Drives, USB Memory Sticks and Memory Cards

Portable drives are popular and practical, especially if you have lots of large downloads, such as videos. Our recommended encryption methods just as easily lets you create an encrypted container on a portable hard drive, USB memory stick or SD card. Once mounted, it operates similar to any other removable drive with virtually no impact on speed.

You can use an encrypted portable storage device to shuttle items from one place to another. If a snoop or adversary gets his or her hands on the portable storage device, the information on it will be completely undecipherable without the correct passphrase.

Don’t be Obsessed with Capacity

These days, portable hard drives are huge and affordable. It is now quite possible to get a multi -terabyte portable hard drive for a decent price. However, one consideration to keep in mind is the actual degree of portability. Consider opting for smaller capacity portable drives that do not require their own power source.

Products such as Western Digital’s My Passport series are large but do not require their own power source. You simply plug the drive into a USB port and that’s all there is to it. No fumbling around with an extra power cord to plug in.

This is convenient especially if you are using encryption and physically transporting data between two or more places. It is easy to overlook this important factor and be obsessed with the sheer storage capacity of portable drives. Don’t overlook convenience when thinking about portable encryption.

Using SD and Micro Memory Cards

SD cards and micro cards are the memory media you might associate most with digital photography. These memory cards are so small and yet of sufficient capacity that they are a great way to securely transport encrypted data.

Just as it is a good idea to take the memory card out of your camera so that your pictures are not lost if your luggage (with camera) goes missing, carrying memory cards is also a handy way to physically transport data, especially sensitive data. These memory cards are smaller than USB memory sticks, are easy to keep on your person and easy to conceal (for example, tucked away hidden in your wallet).

Combined with a memory card adapter it is just a matter of slipping the memory card into the adapter, plugging the adapter into your device, launching the encryption app and entering your correct passphrase. The encrypted data then mounts and you are able to access the files on it just as if you had plugged a normal USB memory stick into your device.

In particular micro memory cards are about the size of your fingernail (see image at the top) making them ideal for portable encryption. They are easy to hide in transit, on the move and especially when crossing borders.


June 22, 2021

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