LOCKHEED MARTIN MIGHT not be a company that most of us associate with computers, but as the company is heavily involved with the US military, it has come up with a secure computing solution called the IronClad in co-operation with IronKey. At first glance it might just look like any other USB key, although in a fancy brushed aluminium casing, but one shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.
The IronClad was specifically designed as a secure system for people that work with sensitive data. It houses the operating system and any applications that the user might need, but that’s it. This might not sound like a big deal, as it’s possible to do this with your average garden verity USB drive. However, the selling point in this case is data security and the IronClad comes not only with 256-bit “military grade” encryption but it also has a “secure” browser, remote management and embedded security policies.
It comes with a custom browser that is said to protect users from malware and viruses, although there are no details as to which web browser engine it’s based on. The remote management features allow lost or stolen IronClad’s to be remotely bricked and have all the data wiped off them permanently. Although this does of course require a lost or stolen drive to be installed on a computer that has an Internet connection. System administrators also have access to a whitelist of allowed applications which prevents users from installing unapproved applications onto the drive.
The host PC that you plug the IronClad into has to have at least a Pentium 4 or equivalent CPU, 1.5GB RAM, a USB 2.0 port, an 800×600 resolution display and must be able to boot from a USB CDROM drive. The latter is because the IronClad pretends to be a USB optical drive and this allows it to entirely bypass the host systems hard drive and operating system. How secure the IronClad is, though, is a matter of opinion, but it should at least be cheaper to equip people with a USB drive than an entire computer, especially for the Brits who tend to have a habit of leaving their computers with secret documents on them in the back of a cab.
No pricing was announced, but we’d guess the IronClad will start at expensive for the smallest size which is 8GB and go on to being even more costly for more spacious models. No availability date was provided, but Lockheed is set to be demonstrating the IronClad on the 26th of January at the 13th Annual Congressional Internet Caucus Advisory Committee Kickoff Technology Policy Exhibition.S|A
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