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Monday, 16 November 2009 13:37

A secure computing environment on a USB stick

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Curtin University of Technology researcher, Don Griffiths, has been awarded a government grant to develop a system that enables a secure computing environment to be loaded onto a USB memory stick and then used to provide secure access to corporate applications from any PC.

The device - known as the Mini Silicon Data Vault (SDV) - is produced by security technology company, Secure Systems. A trusted software application resident on the device can be uploaded to any host PC and promises to provide users with a portable virtual private network (VPN), browser or network client to allow them to connect to their corporate applications and data securely.

Griffiths, from Curtin's School of Information Systems, is working on the development of the trusted applications to be packaged with the Mini SDV. "The trusted application environment is an operating system and set of applications configured to work with the unique protections of the Mini SDV," he said. "The protection offered by the security features of the device allows establishment of a portable trusted environment using any available PC as a host."

Secure Systems managing director, Peter James, said the device had been designed to meet the high demand from security-conscious organisations for a secure device that could be issued to customers or home-based/mobile employees. "The device allows an organisation to implement home-based or mobile working without compromising organisational security or trading security for functionality," he said.

According to James, "One of the main innovative features of the device is its ability to protect a trusted application in a secure storage area whilst ensuring no sensitive data remains on the host PC."

The device is expected be available to purchase from March 2010. Griffiths has received an Australian Government "Enterprise Connect Researchers in Business" grant to assist with its development.

Gemalto introduced secure USB memory
Meanwhile, Gemalto has released a USB memory stick designed to hold data securely yet let the authorised user access that data on any machine. Called the "Protiva Smart Guardian", it is a smart card enabled USB drive that. According to Gemalto, "For the first time [enables] mobile workers and their organisations [to] have the highest level of security available today – fully encrypted data on the fly." It is claimed to be multiple operating systems and to operate without the need for drivers."

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