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Think Xtra AutoSave Encrypt CDSoft-R Cryptex review




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Think Xtra AutoSave Encrypt CDSoft-R Cryptex
  • Think Xtra AutoSave Encrypt CDSoft-R Cryptex
  • Think Xtra AutoSave Encrypt CDSoft-R Cryptex
  • Think Xtra AutoSave Encrypt CDSoft-R Cryptex
  • Think Xtra AutoSave Encrypt CDSoft-R Cryptex
  • Think Xtra AutoSave Encrypt CDSoft-R Cryptex


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With pretty much all important data stored digitally these days, safeguarding that data is paramount. We've all read the news stories of government agencies losing laptops stuffed full of sensitive or even top secret data, but the most relevant debacle is the Child Benefit fiasco of 2007. For those of you who aren't aware of that particular incident, let me remind you…

Officials at Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs needed to supply the National Audit Office with data regarding all families entitled to Child Benefit. Consequently the personal details for some 25 million individuals were burned to a couple of CDs and popped in the post. Not only were basic safeguards like Recorded Delivery or hand to hand couriers not used, but absolutely no data protection was in place on the CDs themselves. Unsurprisingly, when those CDs never arrived, the public outcry was pretty much deafening.

Of course you simply can't protect against the kind of gross incompetence from the example above, but today I'm looking at a product that will ensure that your data is kept safe no matter how incompetent everyone else may be. The AutoSave Encrypt CDSoft-R Cryptex (yes it's a mouthful) discs from Think Xtra are designed to keep your data safe from prying eyes, without you having to employ any other security measures.

The Cryptex disc employs a combination of password protection and 256-bit AES encryption to stop unauthorised access of your data. You're probably thinking that this is nothing new, since you've been able to encrypt data on CDs for some time now, and as long as every machine you want to read the disc on is equipped with your chosen encryption application you shouldn't have a problem. But Think Xtra (TX) has taken this model a step further, because everything you need is embedded on the disc, and you are not required to install any kind of application or utility onto your PC.

As soon as you place the Cryptex disc into your CD/DVD writer it will autorun its embedded application and guide you through the process of archiving your data. The first screen you'll see will let you choose the language you wish to use. You will then be asked to input and confirm your chosen password. Your password can be up to 256 characters long, so it really can be as safe as you want it to be - just remember that if you make your password too long or obscure, you may end up forgetting it yourself and then you'll never be able to get at your precious data.

Once you've decided on your password, it's just a matter of choosing which files and folders you'd like to archive to the disc. But you're not using Windows Explorer or any other application on your PC to do this, since the disc has a file management utility embedded on it. From this utility you can either drag and drop files directly onto the window, or you can click the Add Files button and choose what you need. When you've collated all your files and folders, you just click the Burn button, and all your data will be recorded to the disc with the added bonus of 256-bit encryption.


April 25, 2009, 5:26 am

OR take a look at the freeware TrueCrypt, which I have used on CD-RW ,HDD's etc. It allows some fiendish hidden encryption. eg a virtual encrypted disk within a file. And, the part I love, "plausible deniability" - don't you just love that phrase. LOL

( oh and I have nothing to do with the product, so I am mot spamming)


April 25, 2009, 5:36 am

Ordinary ThinkXtra (TX) recordable CD's and DVD's are of poor quality, don't say I didn't warn you...


April 25, 2009, 2:11 pm

Another reason that TrueCrypt is a good idea is that it supports Mac OS X and Linux, not just Windows.


April 25, 2009, 7:09 pm

And another +1 for truecrypt. Not 100% whether it could run easily on non-writeable media like a cd-r, but I'm using the traveller version of it on a USB key. No need to have anything installed on the machine, just stick in the usb key and the software runs from the usb stick, and auto mounts the protected volume (when you've put the password in...).

The biggest problem I had with truecrypt is that reading the FAQ's and other info made me feel like a terrorist

Chocoa - you shouldn't need to confirm you're not linked to the "product" - it's freeware after all :-)


April 26, 2009, 1:35 am

Chocoa - just looked up TrueCrypt's site, as I was intrigued by 'plausible deniability', a term I haven't heard since Area 51 was kept hidden from the President in Independence Day! I love the scenario they present on their website - very Hollywood!


April 27, 2009, 3:00 pm

Yeah, first thing I thought when I saw this was TrueCrypt :).

One point people keep making about the "plausible deniability" bit, do be aware for this to work there are a lot of gotcha's, that involve a lot of changes to the way you save your data etc.


April 27, 2009, 4:31 pm

People have mentioned TrueCrypt to me before, but the point with these discs is that you don’t have to do anything. You don’t have to download anything, you don’t have to install anything onto the media, you simply put the disc in the drive and it works.

And let’s not forget that many corporate installations won’t even allow the use of freeware applications, or if they do allow them, they have to be tested and put on the “approved list” first - yes I’m talking from frustrating personal experience here!

Ultimately, for your average PC user to take data security into account, it has to be made as simple as possible, and that’s what these discs do. Everything is just there, without the need for any user intervention. That alone will make the encryption and password protection more solid, since even the laziest of worker will have to use it.

ced perf77

April 28, 2009, 2:15 pm

Hoo, who will use a freeware to protect, carry or send confidential data ?

sure, me not.

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