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

By Riyad Emeran

Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR
Think Xtra AutoSave Encrypt CDSoft-R Cryptex

Summary

Our Score:

8

The Cryptex is a multi-session disc, so you can keep archiving data to it until you've filled it up, or you can finalise the disc as soon as you've copied over what you need. If you want to read data from the disc, you need to enter the correct password, at which point you can access the files. Another nice touch is that when you eject the disc from the computer, the Cryptex utility will also erase any temporary versions of your files on the PC you were using. This "wipe" facility can also be used when archiving the data, thus erasing the original file from your PC and leaving only the encrypted copy on the CD.

If you're wondering what's stopping someone from using brute force to crack the password, there are some safeguards in place. First up, with up to 256 characters at your disposal you can make you password very strong indeed. Secondly, after every three incorrect attempts the disc is automatically ejected, so even if you're using a password cracker program, you'll need manual intervention after every three attempts. Obviously this doesn't make the password protection infallible, but someone is going to have to be very dedicated, and have a significant amount of time on their hands if they hope to crack your password.

I did have one issue where I couldn't burn to the disc from a machine that didn't have admin access. I asked the guys at TX about this and they assured me that you shouldn't need admin rights to use the Cryptex discs. Despite the issue I encountered with my review sample, I was told that retail discs will be universally usable, whether or not you have admin access on your PC. Oh and, unfortunately if you're a Mac or Linux user, you're out of luck because the discs only work on Windows, which is a shame.

At £24.95 plus VAT for a four-pack the TX CDSoft-R Cryptex discs couldn't be described as cheap, but whether that represents good value depends entirely on how precious your data is. If making sure that no one can gain access to your sensitive data is paramount to you, then that will be a very small price to pay. In fact, going back to my original example, I'm sure that those HMRC officials wish that they had spent £25 and saved themselves a lot of worry and embarrassment.

If you're not convinced on the merits of these self encrypting CD-R discs, for a limited time you can get a free sample, allowing you to try it out and see if it suits your archiving needs. I have also been told that DVD versions of the Cryptex discs are on their way, so if you have large amounts of data that you need to archive securely, they should suit your needs.

Verdict

As with so many things, you either need this product or you don't. If you want to archive or transport data without fear of unauthorised access, the Cryptex discs are pretty much ideal. The fact that everything is embedded on the disc itself makes the whole process unbelievably easy, and even though they're not cheap, the cost of someone accessing your sensitive data could be far higher.

Overall Score

8

Chocoa

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)

SpiderJacek

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...

needlegun

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.

GaryRW

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 :-)

GoldenGuy

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!

Keithe6e

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.

Riyad

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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