by Alex Schuchter

iStorage Datashur PRO2 Review

The iStorage datAshur PRO2 is a USB flash drive that is hardware encrypted for those that need the highest level of security on the go. Like all iStorage products, the datAshur PRO2 uses a PIN authentication pad to unlock for use; users can select a 7-15 digit PIN. Extra security measures leveraged by this drive include real time data encryption using military grade aes-xts 256-bit hardware encryption and a uniquely incorporated Common Criteria EAL4+ ready secure microprocessor. The drive comes in capacities up to 512GB.

The datAshur Pro 2 is the newest product in the iStorage encrypted flash drive portfolio. With each new product iStorage delivers more than the last and that trend reigns true for the datAshur Pro 2. This drive offers quite a few improvements and benefits over the rest of the iStorage encrypted flash drive portfolio. Changes seen with this model include significantly increased capacity, inclusion of the Common Criteria EAL4 + ready secure microprocessor, additional security certifications, and a higher quality enclosure.

When critical data needs to be transported and protected from falling into the wrong hands iStorage has the solution. The datAshur Pro 2 is iron clad while simultaneously offering ease of use in a smaller footprint than a portable SSD/HDD. The drive is extremely durable meeting FIPS 140-2 Level 3 compliance with a polymer coated wear resistant keypad and a layer of epoxy resin coating all critical components. The toughness of the enclosure doesn’t end there either; the drive also features a hard anodized and ruggedized extruded aluminum housing, rubber gasket making the module waterproof when fitted, and a zinc alloy keyhole. It’s nearly impossible to remove the layer of resin and if breached there would be visible damage.

The datAshur PRO2 comes with dedicated hardware based secure microprocessor (Common Criteria EAL4+ ready), which employs built-in physical protection mechanisms designed to defend against external tampering, bypass attacks and more. Environmental protection system protects against voltage monitor, frequency monitor, temperature monitor, and light protection. Thanks to the secure microprocessor there is also dedicated hardware for protection against SPA/DPA/SEMA, DEMA attacks. Error checking and advanced physical protection exist in the form of Active Shield, Enhanced Protection Object, CStack checker, Slope detector, and Parity Errors. The device automatically locks after a predetermined amount of time or if ten consecutive incorrect PIN attempts are entered.

A few other useful features of the datAshur include device reset, one-time user recovery PIN, and self-destruct. The device reset feature completely wipes the drive of all data as well as the encryption key and allows for redeployment. Redeployment generates a new encryption key and can be repeated as many times as needed. One-time user recovery allows the admin to configure a one time PIN which is useful for the situation of forgotten PINs. Lastly, the self-destruct feature is set into motion when a pre-programed self-destruct PIN is entered and in response the encryption key, all PINS, and all data is rendered as lost forever and wiped.

For review and testing purposes we were given the iStorage datAshur PRO2 256GB model. The iStorage datAshur comes with a three year warranty and can currently be picked up from Amazon for $313.48 for the 256GB model.


iStorage Datashur PRO2 Specifications

Capacity Up to 512GB 
Data Transfer Speed Read: 130.3 MB/s 
Write: 116.5 MB/s
Interface USB 3.2 (Gen 1x1) SuperSpeed - backwards compatible 1/2
Power Supply 3.7V Li-Polymer rechargeable battery
OS Compatibility MS Windows
macOS
Linux
Chrome
Android
Thin Clients
Zero Clients
Embedded Systems
Citrix
​VMware
Certifications FIPS 140-2 Level 3
NCSC CPA
NLNCSA BSPA
​NATO Restricted validation (pending Q3)
Physical
Dimensions - H/W/D 87.40mm / 19.40 mm / 13.40mm 
Weight Without sleeve: approx. 28 grams 
​With sleeve: approx. 37 grams
Warranty 3 year warranty with free lifetime technical support 
Hardware Data Encryption AES-XTS 256-bit full disk hardware encryption


Design and Build

The top of the iStorage datAshur PRO2 has the keypad with the shift and key buttons as well as 3 LED indicators to signify lock, unlock, and admin. Company branding is located on the outside of the cover.

Setup and Use

Setup of the device wasn’t too painful and took only a few minutes with the aid of the quick start guide and user manual. Overall setup can be described in 4 quick steps:

  1.     Press and hold down the SHIFT button for one second.
    •         RED and GREEN LEDS will become solid.
  2.     Press and hold down both KEY + 1 buttons.
    •         LEDs turn to blinking GREEN and solid BLUE.
  3.     Enter New Admin PIN and press the KEY button once.
    •         LEDs remain blinking GREEN and solid BLUE.
  4.     Re-enter Admin PIN and press the KEY button once.
    •         GREEN LED will blink indicating Admin PIN has been successfully configured and drive unlocked.

It is important to take note of the PIN requirements which are not found in the quick start guide. In addition to the 7-15 digit length requirement, repetitive numbers and consecutive numbers aren’t accepted. I found this out because it did take me a few tries and referencing the user manual to create an acceptable password. These are great security measures but, for testing purposes repetitive and consecutive numbers are easiest for our use.

Performance

To test the performance of the iStorage datAshur PRO2 we used an HP ZBook x2 G4 for windows testing. For IOMeter the datAshur PRO2 was able to hit 131.8MB/s read and 119.5MB/s write in our 2MB sequential. Our 2MB random test results showed 123.9MB/s read and 110.5MB/s write. Looking at random 4K throughput, the drive hit 2940.3 IOps read and 1980.2 IOps write.

Conclusion

The iStorage datAshur PRO2 is a well constructed encrypted flash drive with a solid feel. It is OS and platform independent requiring no software. Independent user and admin PINs make it ideal for corporate and government use. It’s easy to use, fast, and ultra-secure. However, the buttons are small, so if you have large hands this product may not be the best suited product for you. The smaller capacities are affordable with the cost starting around $65. However, the larger capacities quickly become expensive. That being said while expensive iStorage is currently one of the only companies in the market producing a 512GB model. A super useful and enticing feature is the self-destruct pin which wipes the encryption key, all PINs, and drive data.

Looking at the performance results the datAshur PRO2 lived up to expectations and even slightly surpassed the official iStorage data transfer speed. An added bonus seen in testing was that random test results were fairly close to the sequential test results. Sometimes during testing we see random test results tank even if the sequential results are superb. For IOMeter the datAshur PRO2 was able to hit 131.8MB/s read and 119.5MB/s write in our 2MB sequential. Our 2MB random test results showed 123.9MB/s read and 110.5MB/s write. Looking at random 4K throughput, the drive hit 2940.3 IOps read and 1980.2 IOps write.

Overall, with a strong performance and only minor complaints (potential to fat finger numbers) I recommend checking this drive out. It offers a plethora of security and durability features and is fortified completely from the inside and out.

iStorage datAshur PRO2 on Amazon

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