How To: Share Sensitive Files with a Third Party

You need to share a document, video or audio file with a third party, but the files are filled with sensitive information. What options should you consider?

Three possibilities come to mind: email, Dropbox or flash drive.

Sending an email is the same thing as sending a postcard through US Mail. Email remains wide open when it comes to security or lack there of. 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 – roll of the dice really. However; you are playing Russian roulette (almost literally, given a recent theft of 1.2 billion email account credentials by a Russian gang). Remember, the topic of this post is about sharing sensitive data with a third party.

The next option would encrypting the email attached in the email. Encryption is a great 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 the next option on our list for how 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 person receiving the document?”

If you cannot answer that question with absolute certainty, then sending sensitive documents to a third party using encryption is not the most secure method. It is important to understand, with encryption the files are secure while in transit from the sender to the recipient, but once the recipient puts in the password to decrypt the file, they can do anything they want with it. When the password decrypts the file, all the security goes away. When dealing with legal matters and sharing sensitive data with third parties, a major criteria will be to insure the file cannot be changed, manipulated or put into the wrong hands. With that in mind, copy protection is the better alternative for sharing sensitive data.

It is important to understand the difference between encryption and copy protection. Both technologies use encryption to protect the file, the big difference is trust of the user for the protected file. With encryption the only security feature is the password. Encryption is great for protecting files when the user is in your circle of trust. Think of your computer back-up files stored on a USB flash drive and that drive is dropped in a parking lot by mistake. Anyone who found the drive could not view the data because the data is encrypted with a password. They could not see your back-up files unless the correct password was entered.

Let us change the scenario just a little.

In this scenario, sensitive files are to be shared with a third party whom you don’t necessarily trust. It is important the files have a password to insure only the intended recipient can view the files and in addition, you need security to make sure the recipient cannot save the files, print the files, stream, share, upload or export the files. By changing the situation to this scenario one can see the value with copy protection is greater than the value of encryption. As with copy protection, the file can only be viewed, nothing else can be done with the file.

The last option from our original list is the USB flash drive.

As with email and Dropbox, one could encrypt the files and place them on a flash drive and send to the third party. But as we just discussed and highlighted, encryption is not the best solution for this situation. A Copy Secure flash drive which provides USB copy protection is the best alternative for this situation. The Copy Secure flash drive is manufactured by Nexcopy and carries a variety of features specifically designed for sharing files with “not so trusted” recipients.

USB copy protection

Copy Secure flash drives offer copy protection on USB sticks

The Copy Secure flash drive is write protected after the data is put on the drive. This means the flash drive is read-only. It is impossible to format the drive, delete the files on the drive or manipulate the files on the drive. The write protection feature is done at the hardware controller level, it is not a software solution, which means the most secure method for locking the device. The files on the drive are encrypted. A viewer application runs from the flash drive for either a Windows computer or Mac computer which displays the files. The viewer application is very secure and blocks the ability to save the file, print the file, screen capture, stream or export the files. Continue reading

Review: Windows 10 Computer Stick bu Intel

In 2015 Intel introduced the Computer Stick and for some reason called it the “compute stick” – the product has been available ever since. The idea is simple and elegant and they wanted to create an HDMI dongle computer which can run Windows 10.

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. They wanted the device to run directly from a TV so portable displays could be used in a variety of situations. We would even guess, this “compute stick” was a maturity of some hack Microsoft did for a trade show where by they needed a portable way to run presentations. If our assumption is correct, it’s a wonderful product and is a great solution for its intended purpose.

PCWorld did a technical review of the compute stick back in 2016, and the link can be found at the bottom of this article. The PC World review outlined the specifications and performance levels of the Intel based product, and they are not bad at all given the small size of the stick. 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.

computer stick

Some key bullet points to get an idea of the hardware we are dealing with:

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How To Tips: Transition from CD Services to USB Duplication Services

USB drives are in high demand because the optical drive is no longer sold with computers. Supplementary tools and equipment such as USB flash drive duplicators are additionally increasing in popularity. USB duplicators come with an array of features, they are practical options for quick, accurate flash drive duplication. This article will expand on these ideas to better inform you of what equipment is out there, and which features are most helpful.

A USB duplicator machines are an innovative tool that make it easy to replicate information from a master USB flash drive to blank flash drives (or simply USB drives), called targets. The duplication equipment is specifically design for use of binary replication from one master to many targets. One of the most valuable features is asynchronous duplication where all target USB flash drives are copied at any time which they become available to the duplicator. Meaning, the binary copy process will begin the moment a USB drive is connected, and as more USB targets are connected the binary copy process starts independent of the devices connected. The goal is for each USB port of the USB duplicator to have maximum efficiency. However; some could find this confusing and synchronous duplication is also available. Synchronous duplication means the binary copy process is not started until all USB target drives are connected and the user presses a button to begin the binary copy process. The asynchronous USB duplication method is the single most efficient and beneficial feature of the copier equipment.

The USB duplicator by Nexcopy is a crucial digital gadget for production of USB flash drives which hold information. This type of equipment has ended up being the norm when transferring data from one master device to other target devices. Versatile and easy to use, the USB duplicator has become preferred method for saving and moving essential records from a primary location to a secondary location or group of secondary devices. Likewise, the USB duplicator has become the essential tool for distributing promotional information materials on give-away promotion items like trade show flash drives. USB’s are the preferred method for the high tech world to transfer data from one point to another.

The USB drive, also called thumb drive, consists of flash NAND memory integrated with a printed circuit board or PCB and a controller chip that controls the flow of data transmission. Using a USB (Universal Serial Bus) port, the thumb drive may be connected to a computer system, or any other digital device with USB ports, such as today’s HD LCD Televisions, car stereos and hand held portable devices. USB drives are well suited to store data as well as exchange data, as the preferred medium for data distribution over optical drives. Flash drives are naturally a portable device because of their small size and durable case and comes with the added benefit of being rewritable. The USB flash drive is rewritable and will not deteriorate or drop in durability which is a significant advantage over competing mediums like floppy disks (if you can still get them) or CD and DVD discs. Flash drives operate very quickly and have great access and seek times which searching for specific files or data on them. This is another significant advantage the USB thumb drive has over optical media. In addition to all these great benefits, the USB flash drive comes in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and colors. Making them more customizable to your branding requirements then a standard size CD or DVD disc. The only way to personalize or brand an optical disc is printing on the top surface.

Given that USB drives are so prevalent, it is not shocking to see USB duplicator systems with a wide variety of features and functions to address every type of need a user might have. There is not one USB duplicator system that is perfect for everyone. Both PC based duplicators and standalone duplicators have their advantages. These USB copiers make use of current USB technology to maximize speed and reliability, including raised data transfer rates with USB 3.1 and USB copy protection attributes to safeguard content put onto the USB flash drive. When it concerns data distribution to flash memory, the USB duplicator is an invaluable asset. Nexcopy USB duplicator machines are one of the most reliable and dependable methods of copying binary data to USB thumb drives.

USB duplicators include copy and verify functions that can be done in one simple step, this is why they are gaining popularity in the business sector. Standalone USB copiers can transfer data as quickly as 33MB per second. This ultra-fast copy speed significantly cuts down manufacturing times when comparing production times with their counter part such as CD-R and DVD-R optical media. Nexcopy USB duplicators can be found in 4, 15, 20, 40 and 60 target systems.

Today’s USB duplicators are easy to use and friendly to operate. Standalone units generally include an LCD screen, a front control board and little keypad to make the USB duplicator technology as easy-as-possible to operate. Another version of US duplicator would be a PC based system where a host computer runs software that controls the binary copy process. The PC based duplicators can copy data to all different digital capacities of flash drives, which is important to understand when dealing with a collection of different GB sized flash drives. The standalone USB duplicators do not care about USB 2.0 or USB 3.0 flash drives because the USB copiers will simply copy as quickly as the device memory will allow. There are no barrier speeds with standalone duplicators. With PC based USB duplicators you can copy to USB 1.0 and USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 flash drives will full support of the USB specification. Both systems, standalone and PC based, offer the copy and compare function to produce the most accurate copies possible. The biggest advantage with PC based USB duplicators would be with the advanced functions a flash drive offers, such as making the USB read-only or also said another way, write protected. Write protection a USB flash drive means the data cannot be deleted or formatted off the drive. The data is permanently on the USB stick, muck like a CD or DVD disc.

Other features which come with these USB duplicators would include ways to test or benchmark the USB flash drive. Meaning, there are features to test the read and write speed of a device. Having this capability means the user can check the quality of product before the product is put into use for production or mass USB duplication. One other feature which many corporate IT managers like to know is the ability to erase the data on a flash drive. These USB duplicator systems come with features to erase data on the flash drive. Meaning, the USB will be written with random binary code to all the memory so that no data could be recovered. Even the most sophisticated data recovery tools could not restore lost data after a USB erase cycle by a Nexcopy USB duplicator.

USB duplicators are really beneficial both in the business world and the educational sector. The duplicators make it easy for data to circulate to others through the flash drive device. These USB copiers may be purchased through online e-tailers such as Amazon and Wal-Mart. Learn more about USB duplicators here.

Source: GetUSB.info

Inexpensive and Economical iPhone Charge Cable Solution

Are you looking for an inexpensive iPhone cable? This is a common search on Google because those cables go missing, get taken by your kids or co-workers, or possible break. It is as-though we need an endless supply of them. I don’t recall the last cable I had which lasted more than four months. There is an article out there, somewhere, that claims for each iPhone made, the user will need at least three cables for charging it. The link to that article escapes me, but I do believe it speaks the truth. From personal experience there is one needed for the car to charge while driving. One needed at work to charge while working, need that TV back-ground noise {wink}, and one needed at home for charging overnight.

iPhone cables or lightening cables are expensive. Go to Amazon and you will find a decent six foot cable costing nearly $20. Couple that cost with our observation about needing three cables, we are now looking at a $60 dollar expense. No thanks! We want an inexpensive iPhone charging cable.

This cable problem actually gets worse, not better, here is why:

You need microUSB cables to charge your portable battery packs. Okay, so we have our three cables for charging an iPhone. The work one, the car one and the home one. Of course we all have portable batteries to charge our phone, when away from said places. How do you charge those portable batteries? With a microUSB cable. At least those are cheaper than an iPhone lightening cable. Never-the-less it’s still another corded cable.

We all need the portable battery for charging – don’t think otherwise! Kids baseball game could stretch to three hours. Girls softball games are usually 1.4 hours and a couple per day. A golf round with your friends, typically 4.5 hours. The point, many times we find ourselves away from the car, home and work place and have the need for charging.

How do we solve this problem of finding an inexpensive iPhone charging cable? The answer is with a combination of products. The combination will not only charge your iPhone, but also charge the portable battery packs.

Going to Amazon you can find a pack of five microUSB cables for under $10. Be sure to check the length you want. It is easy to make the mistake of buying a shorter cable because the price is a bit lower, only to find out the length is too short.

The other item you need is a microUSB to Lightening adapter. This are little adapters that sit at the end of your microUSB connector and transfor the connection to a Lightening connection for your iPhone. A pack of four can be found on Amazon for less than $10.

Its important to note, these adapters only supply power to your iPhone. The adapters do not allow data transmission to your iPhone. Which is fine, when is the last time you connected your iPhone to the computer anyway for sync’ing? It’s all done wirelessly.

So with our $20 you just spent at Amazone you have three Lightening cables to charge your iPhone and you have three microUSB cables to charge your portable power pack. This is a very inexpensive iPhone charge cable solution. It would amaze me on why anyone would purchase something different, don’t you?

Source: GetUSB.info

New Mini Size USB Duplicator from Nexcopy

Lake Forest, CA – November 20, 2019 – Nexcopy Inc., a leading manufacturer and developer of flash memory duplicators, introduces the USB104SA, a 4 target standalone USB Duplicator specifically design to be light weight and portable.

“With the lack of optical drives in computers and laptop, the USB stick continues to grow in popularity,” reports Greg Morris, President of Nexcopy. “What we have seen is a demand for both small configuration systems for those transitioning from optical media to USB media and large production systems which we’ve serviced for years. The USB104SA is a great stepping stone for those coming from the optical duplication industry.”

The USB104SA USB Duplicator has a list of features which pivot from the larger, award winning, Nexcopy standalone duplicators. Features include:

  • 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 Ful Erase for disk sanitization
  • Four language modes in LCD menu
  • USB speed benchmark utility
  • Firmware upgradeable

Stan McCrosky, head of Sales, comments, “What we have seen, are small organizations and business requesting something low cost and low volume for data duplication. Our main focus is still business-to-business, but the growing demand for low volume duplication equipment justified the development of a product like the USB104SA.”

The USB104SA is a portable solution and ideal for trade shows or spoken word events. The unit weighs less than one pound and with a foot print of about six inches by one inch tall. The unit can easily fit into your computer bag, which is ideal for carry-on luggage at the airport.

The USB duplicator is powered by a microUSB cable which can be connected to your computer laptop USB port. A USB block is also provided for powering from an outlet.

“What I like about this unit is the feature rich firmware. We did not compromise on the firmware settings and offer less. We offer the same functionality as our larger standalone USB duplicator models.” Morris continues,
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What Comes After the Dead Optical Drive?

Let’s face it, optical discs are large and bulky. At nearly five inches in diameter, the discs are big when compared to the size of modern laptops and now tablets. Even though the optical drives has been greatly reduced in size, more and more laptops have dropped the technology to conserve on space and power.

If you are not talking about the size of the mobile computer, the space used up by an optical drive can be used for more practical things. That space could be better used for the battery which can extend the overall running time of the system. If the system is designed for performance, it could store a better or bigger solid state drive in addition to a hard drive for added performance. Maybe the computer could use a better graphics solution for graphic design or gaming.

When CD-R drives first came into the market, they offered a huge storage capacity that rivaled traditional magnetic media of the day. After all, 650 megabytes of storage was well beyond what most hard drives were at the time. DVD expanded this capacity even further with 4.7 gigabytes of storage on the recordable formats.

While the growth rate of optical media was good, it is nowhere near the exponential growth that hard drives and USB sticks have seen. Optical storage is still stuck in the gigabytes while most hard drives are pushing even more terabytes. Using the CD, DVD and Blu-ray for storing data is just not worth it anymore. The write time is too slow and the seek time to find your data is equally as slow. The hard drive and it’s portable version, USB flash drive have found the main stream masses.

Keeping these points in mind, you can see why optical media is all but dead. Sure, the CD-R and DVD-R will last another year, probably another five, but it’s USB and hard drives which have taken over. The next step in the logical progression, is how to data load USB media? With optical media you had CD and DVD tower duplicators. There are many systems with robotics and printers so duplicate to the optical media and also print a label. But those systems are getting harder and harder to find.

The equipment most companies and organizations are seeking now are USB duplicators. These are flash memory copier systems which can data load content to USB flash drives at ultra-fast speeds. CD and DVD duplicators went through some phases of supported formats like discs being finalized or disc-at-once over track-at-once. Well, USB duplicators have a similar issue to resolve. There is file copy and binary copy and duplication from an ISO file or an IMG file. There are many ways to copy the data from the source to the target USB media.

It’s important to have a USB duplicator which supports all these functions. There are some duplicators with as many as six copy modes. A system like this makes it extremely versatile for the user to move data around. There is file copy, copy add, unique data streaming, copy from a physical device, copy from an IMG file, copy from an ISO file. These are all great resources to have if you are not sure how the content is being given to you.

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Did You Know These Six Copy Modes for a USB Duplicator?

Flash drives have become a ubiquitous product which really deserves a bit more attention, at least for those who depend on flash drives as part of an overall solution, and today we are diving in deeper to copy modes of a USB duplicator. For the trade show guys who give away flash drives, this article is a bit overkill, but for the IT professional or product manager, this is right up your alley.

Today, I want to spend some time and review the different copy methods one can use to data load your flash drive. Each method has its advantage, and each method could be a slightly better fit, than your previous duplication method.

So let’s talk about the six copy methods a PC base USB duplicator has. After some product reviews and searching on-line, in this article we will use the Nexcopy brad product as their PC based duplicator had the most copy options for us to review.

USB Duplicator

The six copy modes are:

  1. File Copy
  2. Copy Add
  3. Unique Data Streaming
  4. Short Device Copy
  5. Full Device Copy
  6. Image File Copy

The above information is pulled from a different article from TechSling and for the full description of the above six copy methods, head over to that site. It’s a great read and each copy mode has it’s own value for what and when to use it.

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