By Evan Ackerman
While sheer paranoia isn’t the best thing to have dictating your gadget purchases, there are some instances where paying a small premium for that extra level of comfort and security might make sense. Freecom’s Hard Drive Secure is a run of the mill external HD, except that you can’t access the data on it without swiping an encrypted RFID card the size of a credit card past the drive. Swipe the card again and the drive locks itself. It’s not too terribly expensive at $120 for a 500 gig drive, although $410 for a 2TB drive it just a little crazy.
What Freecom doesn’t make clear is just how the encryption on the drive works… It sort of sounds like while the encrypted keycard locks and unlocks the drive, the data on the drive itself is not actually encrypted. This sort of system might keep your porn stash safe from your kid brother, but anyone with a mediocre amount of computer experience (which your kid brother probably has) will just remove the drive from the case and access it directly. Even having the locking system on the drive itself won’t thwart someone who is casually determined. And irrespective of the encryption on the drive, having to swipe your card a second time to lock the thing is just stupid. It should be set up so that if the RFID card leaves, the drive locks itself. And of course, I won’t even get started on the security flaws in RFID.
So yeah, there are some instances where paying a small premium for an extra level of comfort and security might make sense, but this is probably not one of them.