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Generally speaking, we wouldn’t normally bother reviewing a USB memory key, let alone one with a rather measly 256MB of capacity. What’s special about this Memory Corp USB memory key, or thumb drive as some call it, is that it has a built-in Biometric fingerprint scanner for extra security.
Biometrics, the science of getting technology to recognise humans by physical characteristic rather than by manual data input, has been one of the buzz words of recent years. Our first encounter with it was when it was integrated into IBM’s, Thinkpad T42 notebook.
Having Biometrics on a USB key makes sense in a corporate environment, which have always been vulnerable to security issues. Regardless of the tightest network security, it would only take one careless executive to lose a thumb drive for a company’s sensitive data to become compromised.
Encased in a white, the Memory Corp key is quite a smart looking device. Rather than just a cap the whole device is covered by a sleeve with a thumb indentation so you can easily pull it off. The cover serves to protect the fingerprint sensor. The specifications don’t list MacOS X, only Windows 98, ME, 2000 (SP4) and XP, so cross platform use doesn’t look like it’s on the cards. Memory Corp does offer a five year warranty though and a USB extender cable is also supplied.
The first time you plug the drive in a dialogue box pops up asking you to register a fingerprint. You simply select a finger from the diagram and then click next to ‘Enrol’ that finger. You have to swipe your finger at least three times, as the software amalgamates each one and combines them to create an overall picture of your fingerprint.
Each finger could come from a different person, so if you wished, up to ten people could have access to the same drive.
On every Windows XP machine that I plugged it into, the first time it loaded up a number of drivers and was recognised as a CD-ROM drive. It also suggested I reboot the machine, though if you choose not to it will still work. If you have Microsoft’s Anti-Spyware application installed it will also flag up a number of DLLs that are installed to get the features to run.