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?”
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
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:
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
You know a product is a great idea when a couple of pictures describe the entire product.
With that in mind, we’ve all seen wall outlet USB charges, but the Snap Power, in my opinion, will rule them all.
The design is clever. Installation is ultra-easy. Accessibility supersedes all others.
Take a second and just look at it:
In my mind there are three things which make this a brilliant wall charger. If you don’t mind me walking you through the obvious, here we go.
Or skip the highlights and jump right over to their website:
The design is brilliant. The User keeps both outlets available for normal use while a sleek looking USB port is added underneath. At the time of this article there is one USB socket, but visiting their website you can see two sockets, one on either side. They are constantly improving.
Installation is very easy. Simply unscrew your current face-plate and replace it with the Snap Power face-plate. You can see from the picture below the screws used on the outlet behind the face-plate is what provides the juice for the Snap Power USB port. They have a patent on this, so it’s definitely a fresh idea.
I think the final point on why this USB charger is the end-all, be-all is the slim design. Take a look at
If you’ve ever misplaced a phone or USB drive in your house and wished for a way to find it, a dog with a keen nose and a playful attitude could have helped you out. Fortunately, with skills like that, our canine friends are finding a much higher calling working with police, the FBI, and homeland security.
As devices improve, a tiny microSD the size of a fingernail and less than a millimeter thick can hold hundreds of gigabytes of data. With this advancement comes the tools for criminals to hide and transfer enormous amounts of information without even lifting a finger. Where does that leave the fine men and women tasked with staying one step ahead? In Ogden, Utah and across the United States, they are getting the edge with their friendly Labrador companions. Ogden is home to one of fewer than two dozen “Electronic Sniffing” dogs in the nation’s police force and his name is URL (pronounced “Earl”). URL sniffs out electronic media like flash drives, memory cards, and cell phones. While they’re not exactly cryptography experts, they are consistently able to find devices that humans might otherwise miss.
Starting around 2015 with a K-9 named Bear, investigations involving trafficking, pornography, and counterterrorism have had success with the sharp noses of the dogs alongside them. The dog’s expertise comes from playful, but rigorous training exercises and are on a food-reward diet. Dogs could be led to search an office piled to the ceiling with boxes, or an open field with evidence buried underground, and within minutes they will lead their handlers to the prize. What’s the secret? The common element between all these eletric devices is a circuitboard. Compounds are added to the board to help them deal with overheating and it’s this compound that officers train their K-9 partners with. Initially using large amounts and then all the way down to a standard thumb drive, the dogs familiarize the scent and the training to be able to search houses, vents, cars, and people if deemed necessary.
From detecting drugs, to explosives, and now to electronics, the utility of a canine’s senses can’t be understated. Craig Angle the co-director of the Canine Performance Sciences program at Auburn University said he’s seen dogs identify very small targets from incredible distances. “I’ve seen them detect two ounces of explosives from more than 300 yards away,” he said. “They can detect through barriers and masking agents. We see a lot of natural instincts in a dog’s ability to detect innate behaviors like understanding and utilizing wind currents and scent plume.” From a researcher perspective and from the law enforcement officers working with these animals, it’s clear that the full potential of cooperation like this has immense potential for evidence gathering in the future.
If you have a drive formatted from a Windows system, and you have your settings showing hidden files and folders, then a “System Volume Information” folder will appear with unclear contents and purpose. Why is it there? And how much space on your drive is it actually consuming?
The System Volume Information folder is set with strict permissions to prevent user access, even for administrators. This is to keep the settings inside untouched because they contain protocols for how Windows wants to interact with the USB device. As we tested, however, our drives functioned just fine without it, even with varying types of data stored on them.
According to the Windows documentation, this folder is where certain behaviors are stored when creating a System Restore point but that doesn’t apply to all users and furthers the confusion as to why it would be located on a drive that is being used for other purposes. To minimize the useless space taken up on our drives, the first attempt was to shrink it through the Control Panel. Through the Control Panel > System and Security > System > System Protection, there are Protection Settings which can enable System Restore and control how much disk space Windows uses.
Unfortunately shrinking it did not free up as much space as we were looking for so the next step was to find a way to get rid of it. Now since this is a Windows file, and Windows isn’t even too keen on letting us access the file, it doesn’t like the idea of deletion at all. After trying to find ways within the operating system to allow us to remove the file, we ended up looking at an outside option from Nexcopy whom we had worked with in the past. Their tool wasn’t built for deleting a single file but since we could just move our desired content back onto the drive after using their “Erase” function, and since it’s free, it ended up being a solid workaround. The end result? No more unruly folder and a useful software to keep around in case we find other unwanted files that our operating system won’t let us get rid of.