At a Glance
- Slick interface; Works on any USB thumb drive; Secure browsing
- Slower than hardware encryption
This feature-laden security utility runs from a flash drive and installs no software on your PC.
Version 5 of Encrypt Stick remains one of the most secure and
least intrusive ways to store and encrypt sensitive data. It
installs to and runs off of your USB thumb drive, and leaving no
footprint on your (or others’) PC or Mac. It also uses polymorphic
encryption (the algorithm will change for each device it runs from)
that the company claims is 10 times faster than 256-bit AES, and
provides a virtual keyboard to prevent key-logging programs from
stealing your password.
ENC Security Systems has addressed every minor complaint I had
about the previous
version. It’s now readily apparent that the program runs from
your flash drive, and the interface is nigh-on flawless. Aside from
fixes, version 5 adds a secure Web browser that launches from
within the Encrypt Stick interface. The browser rendered the
limited number of sites I visited just fine, but trying to watch
videos on YouTube was a frustrating, stuttering experience. But
YouTube is not what you use a secure browser for anyway. You use
Encrypt Stick’s browser to prevent malware attacks, and it does
this nicely by preventing third-parties from installing any kind of
software, including plug-ins.
My only issue with Encrypt Stick is the same one I have with all
software-based encryption–speed, or lack thereof compared to a
hardware-based secure drive. That’s more than made up for by the
cost differential. You may use Encrypt Stick on as many drives as
you want while hardware-encrypted flash drives are expensive.
The free version of Encrypt Stick is limited to 20MB of storage
and one group of passwords, etc.–and it restricts use of the Web
browser to 30 days–but it’s still quite useful. A detailed feature
comparison with the $40 full version can be found on the company’s
Web site. All-in-all, Encrypt Stick is a most worthy program and
much improved since my last look. Highly recommended if you need to
secure your data on a flash drive.
Note: This is the free version of the software,
which has some limitations compared to the paid version.
–Jon L. Jacobi