You have a document, video or audio file with sensitive information on it and you need to send a copy to a third party. What options should you consider?
Three options come to mind: email, Dropbox or flash drive.
Sending an email is basically the same thing as sending a postcard. While there are efforts one can use to change this, email remains pretty wide open. This is true and scary; anyone who wants to read your email (not just the NSA) can read your email.
Most times you can send sensitive documents through email and nothing will happen. However; you are playing Russian roulette (almost literally, given the recent theft of 1.2 billion email account credentials by a Russian gang) with the security of that transmission. Remember, the topic of this post is about sharing sensitive data with a third party.
The next logical step would encrypting the email (or files) attached in the email. Encryption is a good option and certainly more secure than sending the email without encryption. You could run into a file size limitation though. Most videos will be larger than a 20MB, which is (generally) the maximum file size one could attached in an email. Encryption is a good next step, but there is a bigger issue at hand than file size. More about that in a few.
Dropbox is next on our list of most obvious options to share sensitive data with a third party. Dropbox is a great option when you have larger files. With Dropbox you could upload those big audio or video files and provide a download link for your recipient. Dropbox doesn’t encrypt your data by default so there is some exposure there. A quick and relatively safe method to encrypt your files using Windows would be compressing the video into a zip file and assigning it a password. Encrypting the data will provide that extra layer of security. As with an encrypted email, the encrypted Dropbox alternative also has a major flaw.
Ask yourself, “Do you trust the recipient?”
In 2015 Intel introduced the Compute Stick or Computer Stick – the item has been around from that point onward. The idea is simple and elegant. Intel wanted to create an HDMI dongle computer which can run Windows 10.
There is no confirmation, but our suspicion is that Intel wanted a ultra-cheap and portable solution to run Windows for embedded applications like set-top boxes (DVRs) and other IoT (Internet of Things) products. If our assumption is correct, it’s a wonderful product and is a great solution for its intended purpose.
PCWorld did an incredible overview of the Compute stick in 2016, and a connection link to that article is at the footer of this post. The PC World review outlined the specifications and performance levels of the Intel based product. We will let that article do the heavy lifting for the tech people out there, but today we want to talk about the applications one might have for a computer stick.
For only $120 (ish) off Amazon, this is an excellent solution to run Windows 10 for a host of specific applications.
Several bullet points worth mentioning right out of the gate:
When trying to format a flash drive in Windows (7 or 10) you will see the file system options best suited for the device. The proper file systems for a flash drive would be: FAT, FAT32 or exFAT. Windows will also list NTFS for a flash drive, but not the best for a USB stick, as mentioned before. The file system types listed by the Windows GUI (Graphical User Interface) will depend on the GB capacity of the flash drive connected.
So why no UDF file system on the list?
First, let me say it IS possible for Windows to format a flash drive as UDF (Universal Disk Format). Microsoft just doesn’t want you to do it; and there are good reasons why.
Before the reasons given for not using UDF as a format on flash drives, let’s clear one thing up: If you think formatting a flash drive as UDF will make the thumb drive appear as an optical drive in the computer – you are mistaken!
From the Wikipedia page about Universal Disk Format, UDF, the specification is governed by the Optical Storage Technology Association and because of that, many believe a UDF anything will work like a disc. It, UDF, is most widely used for DVDs and newer optical disc formats, can be used on flash drives, but does make it operate like one.
If we take out the hope of formatting a USB with a UDF file system, some may feel the Universal Disk Format means the flash drive will work in anything, such as from Windows, to Mac, to Linux, Symbian and/or to proprietary system. The truth here is exFAT will do just the same. Please keep that in mind.
So why not format a USB as UDF in Windows? Here is a list:
- The lack of fully-functional filesystem check tools.
- 64GB limit with Windows & Linux, a bug, not a limit of UDF
- SD and USB mass storage devices are exposed to quick wear-leveling failure
- UDF is read-only for Windows XP
Without bogging down this post with ultra-technical information, from the above list, the most important to consider is the first, lack of filesystem check tools.
This means if the USB is pulled out while in operation and a bit is affected by the action, there are no tools to check the file system for errors. You are flying the dark as to why the USB no longer works and there are no tools available to help you figure it out. Given the flash drive was specifically designed to be portable and quick access, the above action is most certainly going to happen sooner or later, which makes UDF a high risk file system.
How to format a flash drive as UDF:
Connect the USB to your computer and note the assigned drive letter
Today, more than ever, people are working from the home office. Working in a comfortable environment is nice and can be very productive. However; sometimes the home office doesn’t have the same computer equipment or gear to do the jobs needed. With many organizations who are practicing social distancing, or building a work community of remote offices, one will find certain items are still needed.
Let us look at a simple way to make USB copies at the home office. For example, let us think about an IT manager who needs to roll out restore installation packages, or a software developer who is required to deploy software updates to a group of remote users. This IT manager or software developer needs a quick, easy and inexpensive piece of equipment to do the job.
The mini-sized USB flash drive duplicator by Nexcopy is a great solution for this exact problem. The unit pictured below is 6″ long and 4″ wide. So it will fit into any briefcase (if those are used anymore) and light as a book.
The USB duplicator allocates one socket for the master device and four sockets for the target devices. The duplicator is a binary copier and will copy any file format or file system connected to it. The duplicator is powered through a USB cable and is ideal for any sized USB flash drive.
With a duplicator like this, making copies at the home office is very quick and very easy. The duplicator works with a single push of a single button. The mini duplicator may be configured to perform a binary copy or a binary copy and compare. The copy and compare function gives the user piece of mind that each copy is exactly the same as the master. So the USB flash drives can be delivered with the utmost confidence each copy is working and an exact digital copy of the master.
Flipping through the features of the duplicator, we have some other bullet points worth mentioning:
- Asynchronous copy mode, all the time
- Binary copier will copy any format; FAT, FAT32, exFAT, NTFS, HFS, Ext2,3,4, Proprietary
- Binary CRC verification algorithm
- Quick Erase and Full Erase for disk sanitization
- Four language modes in LCD menu
- USB speed benchmark utility
- Firmware upgradeable
So how much will this mini USB duplicator benefit a home office employee? The easiest way to determine this is asking ourselves how much time the duplicator will save. This mini system, called the Nexcopy USB104SA will copy one GB of data to each device in about one minute. That is ultra-fast. So if the IT manager or software engineer had to data load a 12 GB data set, it would take about twelve minutes to make four copies. There is now way Windows could copy data that fast to four sticks. When using the copy and compare mode it takes a bit longer… about 1.5 minutes per GB. So still incredibly quick.
There are a couple of features listed above one may not be familiar with, so let’s review. The quick erase or full erase is a scrub method to remove all data from the USB flash drive. This is a nice feature to guarantee data is removed from the USB with no chance of the data being recovered. Formatting a drive doesn’t remove data, but erase will. The quick erase will scrub certain portions of the drive so some data could remain, but most likely corrupted and unable to recover. The full erase function will randomly write binary zero and one data to the entire memory of the flash drive. By doing this random write sequence, it would be impossible for even the most sophisticated forensics recover software to restore data from the device.
The four language modes include English, Spanish, Portuguese and Simplified Chinese.
The USB benchmark speed is a great tool to figure out the quality of media one is using. This is particularly important when dealing with promotional quality media, as promo memory is very instable. The easiest way to determine the quality of memory is looking at the write speed. With the benchmark utility one can test the read and write speed of a drive. The USB duplicator will write about 20MBs of random data to determine the average read and write speed. If the USB memory has a write speed of 4MB/second or lower, it’s not good quality. If the write speed is above 8MB/second for USB 2.0 media and above 20MB/second write speed for USB 3.0 media, it is of better quality memory.
The CRC verification method is Cyclical Redundancy Check verification method and is most reliable for NAND memory. Probably best to search for CRC verification for a complete understanding of this protocol.
The USB duplicator made by Nexcopy is a backward compatible product and will copy to USB 1.0, USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 flash drives. The duplicator will write to the device as fast as it will allow. The best write times will result from the operator using USB 3.0 media.
The USB104SA has a manufacturer suggested retail price (MSRP) of $399 USD.
The most common reason why only one Compact Flash Card is usable when multiple Compact Flash Cards are connected is due to a device signature collision.
If you are dealing with bootable devices and seeing this problem, we are confident a collision is the issue. If you are not dealing with a bootable device, then our information below will, probably, not help.
What is a Compact Flash Card signature collision?
A signature collision can happen on any bootable device, so Compact Flash Card cards, SD cards, microSD cards and USB flash drives. A disk signature is a unique identifier number (UID). It is a unique identifier stored as part of the MBR (Master Boot Record) for an operating system loaded on the device. The operating system will use the UID to identify and distinguish between storage devices. It is commonly made up of eight alphanumeric characters. A disk collision occurs when your operating system (Windows) detects that there are two disks with identical signatures.
For Windows 7, 8, 8.1 and 10, these versions of Windows will disable the second drive and will not allow that second volume to mount until the disk collision has been rectified. If you are reading this article, chances are, this is exactly what is happening to you.
The first thing to do is navigate to the Disk Management tool with in Windows. To do this, use the search tool and type in Disk Management. This will take you to the utility that Windows offers. Here you can see your multiple devices connected. If you click or hover over the device not working you will see one of two messages:
Today Apple announced the new iPadOS will support USB thumb drives. The iPad has long been toughted a workers tablet from Apple, but the relaity is their iPad didn’t provide much functionality. In addition, the devices have limited storage.
With today’s announcement the above argument could get a little muted.
Update: We learned the iPad will allow other storage devices such as external hard drives and SD or microSD cards (with USB adapters). The USB port will also allow for HID devices, such as a USB mouse and keyboard. We are not sure if the iPad will support Bluetooth mouse and keyboard, but we’ve got to assume, right!
There is no word about the connection. The connection could be one of three; an adapter, USB-C socket size or the classic USB type A socket size.
Source: GetUSB.info News Site.
Nexcopy put out a press release today announcing a USB Type C duplication Copier which is available for immediate purchase. The USB-C200PC is a twenty target USB-C socket duplicator which is PC based and loaded with software features.
Via EIN Presswire service, Nexcopy Inc the news release talks about the increased demand is due from Apple housing a USB-C socket for their computers and Iot, or Internet of Things, type products are using the USB-C socket more frequently. Because of this shift, the duplication equipment market has adjusted.
Because the Nexcopy duplicator is PC based does not mean you will lose functionality and speed. The USB-C200PC is believed to be a 3.1 based technology and will write at the devices maximum transfer rate. USB 3.1 has a theoretical maximum speed of 10 gigabits per second (Gbps). Keep in mind that is “theoretical” so your real world experience will never get that close.
The USB-C200PC ships with the Drive Manager software and includes some fairly trick software features:
- Six copy modes
- Binary copy mode supports all formats; HFS, Ext2,3,4, Proprietary
- Unique data streaming to each USB-C socket
- Binary verification
- Erase and D.o.D. Erase for disk sanitization
- Data collection to extract files off USB-C devices
- Intuitive and informative Drive Manager software
- Upgradeable to PRO Series for USB-C write protection
- Upgradeable to PRO Series for USB-C partitioning
One interesting copy mode is the unique data streaming function. The data streaming function gives a user the ability to put unique data to each USB-C flash drive. This is of particular interest for software publishers and on-demand USB production sent from on-line, front end order fulfillment solutions.
Nexcopy is also well known for the PRO series duplicators that perform advanced functions to flash drives, such as USB write protection (USB read-only), partitions at the controller level, and serial number control for UFD identification. From the press release, these advanced functions will also be available on the USB-C200PC duplicator.
The USB-C duplicator has a list price of $1,299 and is available through on-line retails like Amazon, WalMart.com and NewEgg. If you are outside the United States, the product is available through a worldwide network of authorized resellers.
Micron, with the corporate office based in Boise Idaho,
introduces the c200 microSD card with a data storage range from 128GB to
1TB. No that wasn’t a typo, One Terabyte
of storage. The card was designed to
address the demand around 4K video recording and playback.
The card has read speeds near 100MB/s and write speeds of
near 95MB/s. The c200 card collection
can reach these speeds because of Dynamic SLC cache; which is intelligent maintenance
during idle time for sustained peak performance. The Micron microSD card uses the UHS-1 Speed
Class 3 for capture and Video Speed Class 30 for support. Meaning to get these transfer rates, the host
device must also be UHS-1 compliant.
In case you are wondering, the card uses Micron 98-layer
3D QLC NAND memory, which is cost effective for both consumers and commercial customers.
If you have an Android device, you can be even happier
with the card meeting the Application Performance Class 2 specification which
is built-in memory expansion for compatible Android devices.
The Application Performance Class 2 (A2) is defined by the
Secure Digital (SD) Physical 6.0 specification. A2 makes SD memory cards higher
performance devices than A1 devices by using functions of the Command Queuing
and Cache framework. The Application Performance Class can be applied to UHS
SDHC/SDXC Memory Card product family.
Here are 10 of the 60 incredible USB flash drive designs. This article was pulled from GetUSB.info which has all 60 custom USB flash drive designs. Apparently all these designs have been made for other clients. We didn’t know how detailed these could get, but you can clearly see there really is no limitation to what can be done…
Flash Drive #1
Flash Drive #2
Flash Drive #3
Flash Drive #4
This USB Duplicator is PC based and a 60 target unit. There are many advantages with a PC system which standalone USB duplicators do not offer.
- Copy from an image file
- Copy from a network location
- Unique data streaming to each USB socket
- Extract data off each individual USB stick
This presentation is about the USB600PC, Nexcopy duplicator. If your company deals with flash drives for data distribution, this presentation is worth watching.
Nexcopy manufactures a variety of USB Duplicators which are PC based or Standalone Systems. The PC based systems use our exclusive and feature rich Drive Manager software with advanced functions. Standalone systems are ultra-fast, high speed copiers duplicating gigabytes of data quickly and accurately. Made in U.S.A.
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