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USB Lock Standard

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At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder USB Lock Standard

Watch any recent/decent spy movie, and there's invariably a scene where the hero/heroine downloads secret data to some type of removable media. With today's technology, that probably means a USB (or possibly FireWire) connection. USB Lock is a background app that prevents unauthorized access to your machine with USB devices, CD/DVD, and floppies at least while Windows is running.

After installing USB Lock, you reboot (the company claims one isn't necessary, but it was in my experiences) and create a password that allows you to administer the program. You can create an exemption for one USB device so you can transport your data if you wish, but all other devices are locked out. If you insert a non-exempt device you'll get a full-screen warning that to continue you must remove the device. It's quite dramatic. USB Lock worked perfectly for me on two relatively clean PCs; however, I had problems getting it to work on a older, well-worn XP installation. On the older system, the system tray applet--which is the only way to administer the program (for obvious reasons, there's no remove option in the Control Panel)--kept disappearing. I also had problems accessing the network. With all the programs that have been installed/uninstalled on that system, this was disappointing, but not shocking and a reboot at allowed me to uninstall. For the most part, the program performed as advertised. A $9 add-on, USB Aware, logs USB insertions and files copied to USB devices.

USB Lock is a Windows-only solution. Hence, it will only stop casual data theft that might occur during office hours when you're using the computer. Unless you encrypt your vital data and/or use a BIOS-level security, anyone with enough time can boot from a USB CD/DVD or thumb drive and browse/copy/read your files with impunity. In other words, USB Lock is only one part of a security solution, albeit a welcome and efficient one.

Tip: Use an encrypting hard drive, heavyweight encryption, or physically secure your hard drive. With enough time, lightweight encryption such as that offered by Windows is easily broken.

--Jon L. Jacobi

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At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder USB Lock Standard

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