Kingston IronKey Vault Privacy 80

2 weeks ago 14

Very unafraid and easy portable, the VP80ES delivers an affordable solution for those with secrets. But, the interaction surface doesn’t similar abdominous fingers, and the idiosyncratic relationship tin termination the contents with repeated incorrect passwords earlier the admin tin halt them.


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    Easy to use

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    OS agnostic

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    Strong information options


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    Poor transportation speeds for SSD

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    Password gotchas

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Kingston has been diversifying successful caller years, and 1 caller country for them is unafraid retention devices.

Its latest merchandise successful this assemblage is the Kingston IronKey Vault Privacy 80, oregon VP80ES arsenic it is besides designated. It's a USB connectable SSD that doesn’t necessitate a bundle installation to enactment with immoderate PC.

With DataLocker and others already established with their products, however does this Kingston solution lucifer up?

Price and availability

The Kingston IronKey Vault Privacy 80 comes successful 3 capacities starting with a 480GB model, and larger 960GB and 1920GB models are available.

Unusually for Kingston, nary MSRPs person been acceptable for this hardware. Instead, crossed the EMEA, vendors determine connected the pricing.

To springiness a wide idea, we recovered 1 vendor successful the UK selling the 480GB, 960GB and 1920GB for £282.34, £341.92 and £479.04, respectively.

In the USA, we recovered the aforesaid items listed connected for $248.99, $345.99 and $488.99. This pricing powerfully hints that the larger capacities connection amended value.

Kingston IronKey Vault Privacy 80

(Image credit: Kingston Technology)

Design and features

What’s bully astir this merchandise is that Kingston didn’t effort to bash thing overly theatrical with the aesthetics. It’s a USB-C outer thrust that has a interaction show connected the top, and on with the drive, Kingston included 2 USB connecting cables for USB-A and USB-C and a brushed neoprene transportation pouch.

On the beforehand of the pouch is simply a tiny pouch presumably included to transportation the cables, but it isn’t large capable to transportation adjacent one. Maybe a divider wrong mightiness person been a amended idea.

There is besides a ‘Quick Start Guide’ that provides basal instructions successful 10 antithetic languages and directs the proprietor to a much extended idiosyncratic usher that tin beryllium downloaded from the Kingston website.

The charismatic metallic bluish decorativeness gives the content that the VP80ES has a metallic construction, but it’s plastic. That does assistance support the value down to 262g, including cable.

Plugging successful the VP80ES for the archetypal time, the bundle connected committee asks for the proprietor to specify an admin password inputting that via the interaction screen. This interaction show is astir 60 x 45mm, though it isn’t flush with the case, and the recess makes the moving abstraction disposable for touching less.


Interface: USB 3.2 Gen 1
Connector: Type-C
Package Includes: Neoprene question case, USB 3.2 Gen 1 C-to-C cable,  USB 3.2 Gen 1 C-to-A cable
Capacities4: 480GB, 960GB, 1920GB
Speed: Up to 250MB/s read, 250MB/s write
Dimensions: 122.5 mm x 84.2 mm x 18.5 mm
Operating Temperature: 
0°C to 45°C
Storage Temperature: -20°C to 60°C
Compatibility: USB 3.0/USB 3.1/USB 3.2 Gen 1
Security specification: FIPS 197 certified
Warrant/Support5: Limited 3-year warranty

The elemental interface tin beryllium operated either with a stylus (not provided) oregon a fingertip. It’s overmuch easier with a stylus owed to the comparatively tiny standard of the surface combined with big fingers. Given its price, wherefore a inexpensive stylus wasn’t included is simply a mystery.

What Kingston is offering present is simply a acquainted signifier factor, but with the added functionality of being an FIPS 197 certified instrumentality that uses XTS-AES 256-bit encryption to support the contents harmless from hackers.

Above and beyond the information encryption, the thrust has been designed to defy BadUSB attacks and brute unit methods. It besides sports a Common Criteria EAL5+ certified unafraid microprocessor

All the clever parts of these products are hidden connected the inside, but the designers of this person created thing that shouldn’t intimidate the mean user.

Kingston IronKey Vault Privacy 80

(Image credit: Kingston Technology)

In use

Security retention is ever travelling a good enactment betwixt offering the champion imaginable extortion and the practicalities of being useable.

The attack taken successful the VP80ES is to supply 2 levels of unafraid ownership, wherever an head tin power idiosyncratic accounts.

This makes cleanable sense, arsenic invariably this instrumentality volition beryllium handed to a idiosyncratic that forgets their password, and the admin tin past retrieve the situation, theoretically.

What an IT section should ne'er bash with this instrumentality is manus the instrumentality straight to the idiosyncratic since they’ll acceptable the admin password and past perchance hide it.

One mild regret is that the admin password tin beryllium configured to beryllium lone six characters long,  entirely numbers oregon letters and devoid of peculiar characters.

As the admin tin unit users to usage much characters (up to 64) and premix letters and numbers, having beardown password rules should use to the admin from the outset?

Once the thrust is unlocked, the thrust partition tin beryllium formatted successful immoderate record operation is considered appropriate. It comes pre-formatted with ExFAT, but it could beryllium easy switched to NTFS oregon EXT4 earlier files are copied onto it.

In the admin settings, it is imaginable to accidental however agelong the thrust should stay unlocked portion connected, and it is imaginable to rapidly fastener it for those that request to permission the room.

What’s bully astir this solution is that the thrust is efficaciously OS agnostic and doesn’t necessitate locally installed drivers oregon software. But it isn’t each rainbows.

Kingston IronKey Vault Privacy 80

(Image credit: Kingston Technology)

At immoderate point, those designing the Kingston IronKey VP80ES got carried distant with their unafraid processor and intrusion extortion and took their eyes disconnected the idiosyncratic experience.

Because you can’t easy cardinal an unlock codification into the portion rapidly owed to a important hold aft each missive oregon fig is selected. We aboriginal determined this was owed to the size of our fingers, arsenic with a stylus, it worked overmuch much smoothly.

But this isn’t the lone imaginable contented that we noted. There is different occupation to bash with the idiosyncratic relationship mode of the device. When a idiosyncratic relationship is created, and you tin person lone one, a password is defined for that idiosyncratic that they tin usage to entree the device.

With this mode operational, erstwhile the instrumentality is powered up, it asks if the password volition beryllium ‘admin oregon user’, and the idiosyncratic password doesn’t supply entree to each the paper functions that the admin has.

But 1 caveat to idiosyncratic mode is that a bounds is acceptable to however galore incorrect passwords tin beryllium input earlier the instrumentality automatically erases the contents to forestall brute unit attempts. The maximum fig of incorrect tries allowed is 30, and the minimum is 10, but worryingly that fig is shared betwixt the idiosyncratic and the admin.

Therefore, the idiosyncratic tin usage up each their attempts and erase the thrust earlier the admin has a accidental to retrieve the situation.

It doesn’t instrumentality overmuch imaginativeness to spot a script with a idiosyncratic who won’t oregon can’t telephone the admin going horribly wrong. And the idiosyncratic goes to the admin aft their information has been irretrievably erased.

Kingston IronKey Vault Privacy 80

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)



Here’s however the Kingston IronKey VP80ES 480GB performed successful our suite of benchmark tests:

CrystalDiskMark 8.0.4: 269.25MBps (read); 256.72MBps (write)
ATTO:  257.03MBps (read, 256mb); 240MBps (write, 256mb)
AS SSD: 251.36MBps (seq read); 240.67MBps (seq write)
AJA: 251MBps (read); 237MBps (write)

The VP80ES is an SSD, but it’s not 1 that volition interruption immoderate velocity records.

It’s reasonably harmless to presume that the SSD exertion wrong the VP80ES is SATA based, and that would theoretically highest astatine astir 500MB/s. Encryption and decryption tin trim this performance, but the nonaccomplishment of fractional that velocity seems connected the excessive level.

We’ve seen others reason that unafraid retention show isn’t essential, but if you are rushing to get a formation oregon train, past being capable to constitute astatine a maximum of astir 245MB/s mightiness go much of a factor.

These results uncover that the VP80ES is slower than astir immoderate USB SSD we’ve seen precocious and astir the aforesaid velocity arsenic the DataLocker DL4FE, different disappointing performer.

Kingston IronKey Vault Privacy 80

(Image credit: Kingston Technology)

Final verdict

What’s undeniable astir the Kingston IronKey VP80ES is that accusation stored connected it should beryllium secure, arsenic overmuch arsenic the passwords defined for it are. Give this to the benignant of idiosyncratic who has sticky notes with passwords stuck to their monitor, and it won’t be.

But, different than 1 constituent we’ll get to, the exertion utilized successful this thrust achieves a precocious level of information that immoderate volition beryllium funny in.

However, determination are a fewer issues with this plan that imaginable purchasers request to beryllium alert of.

As a USB SSD, this isn’t a precise accelerated drive, and we’ve utilized accepted hard drives that could amended the work and constitute speeds connected offer. This mightiness person been mitigated had the USB interface been 1 that supported USB 3.2 Gen 2, but lone fractional that bandwidth is disposable to Gen 1 devices.

Another problematic country is the interaction panel. This interface works precise good with a stylus but little good with a abdominous finger. Spend the tiny magnitude needed for a tiny rubber-ended stylus and get less password input mistakes.

That mightiness beryllium critical, arsenic the password input errors tin erase the thrust if the idiosyncratic oregon admin exceeds the fig of tries. The extortion attack assumes that the information of the contents is much important than those files, truthful it would beryllium a mediocre spot to enactment the lone existing transcript of immoderate data.

Conversely, if the information isn’t important but keeping it nether power is, past this should beryllium fine.

We besides request to speech astir unafraid retention costs, often overmuch much than mightiness beryllium expected for an SSD of the aforesaid capacity.

The pricing of this merchandise seems precise adjacent to the DataLocker DL4FE astatine the aforesaid capacities, a merchandise that offers the aforesaid touchscreen input but has distant power features.

Technically, the DataLocker DL4FE is information rated for FIPS 140-2 Level 3 Device certification, but the FIPS 197 modular that the VP80SE has is the adjacent rung down the information ladder. The DataLocker solution does connection a overmuch much extended scope of capacities going up to 16TB if you similar spending big.

Unless you specifically privation a means to termination the contents of a thrust remotely, the Kingston VP80SE is an effectual option. But we’d urge immoderate grooming for those utilizing it astir however to retrieve passwords and erstwhile to interaction the admin earlier information nonaccomplishment occurs.

Mark Pickavance

Mark is an adept connected displays, reviewing monitors and TVs. He besides covers retention including SSDs, NAS drives and portable hard drives. He started penning successful 1986 and had contributed to MicroMart, PC Format, 3D World among others.

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