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Travelling with a U3 Smart Drive
Old 05-08-2006, 11:09 PM   #1
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Travelling with a U3 Smart Drive

Anyone use or have any knowledge about, this software technology. I am thinking of getting a 1G USB U3 Smart Drive. I hope to be able to plug it in at any internet cafe to have fairly secure access to the web without leaving any trace of the host site. I assume that any PC that is no older than 3 years will allow the use of this usb device.
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Re: Travelling with a U3 Smart Drive
Old 05-08-2006, 11:40 PM   #2
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Re: Travelling with a U3 Smart Drive

I have no knowledge of the particulars here, but I am going to guess that it's a flash drive with some client programs and perhaps encrypted data.

Whether that's right or not be aware that keyloggers could capture password and account information if you type them in. It's probably less likely that a random script kidde could figure out what site you were looking at if you used on-flash software, but by no means is the information hidden.

Unless this U3 has its own processor, keyboard and display then keystrokes, unencrypted traffic and perhaps even encrypted traffic could theoretically be captured by the PC if any malware were installed. (The PC encrypts the data, so if the PC is compromised....)

Using such a device may (or may not) make it less likely to get observed by malware, but as described on the front page I don't imagine it makes your data, passwords or surfing really safe from an untrusted PC.

I wouldn't dare try it for banking info myself. (Again, my knowlege is a look at the front page and a few deductions about how it could work.) I'm even picky about which work PCs I use for personal banking.
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Re: Travelling with a U3 Smart Drive
Old 05-09-2006, 02:20 AM   #3
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Re: Travelling with a U3 Smart Drive

Quote:
Originally Posted by BigMoneyJim
I wouldn't dare try it for banking info myself. (Again, my knowlege is a look at the front page and a few deductions about how it could work.) I'm even picky about which work PCs I use for personal banking.
Jim, do you trust one's own laptop accessing through Wi-Max or some such? I have been wondering, what is a safe way to travel and do business while away from home?

What solution have you adopted?

Thanks, Ha
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Re: Travelling with a U3 Smart Drive
Old 05-09-2006, 08:30 AM   #4
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Re: Travelling with a U3 Smart Drive

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Originally Posted by HaHa
Jim, do you trust one's own laptop accessing through Wi-Max or some such? I have been wondering, what is a safe way to travel and do business while away from home?

What solution have you adopted?

Thanks, Ha
If I trusted my laptop at home, I would trust it in a public hotspot for banking, VPN and about everything else, but I would double-check to make sure it's using https: and might even double check the certificate for paranoia's sake. If you trust each end (PC/laptop and server) of an https connection (or other SSL/TLS tunneled protocol) then where the signal travels between them doesn't matter. (By "trusting each end" I also implicitly include that the certificate is verified.) Of course in a public place you have physical security to worry about...who's looking over your shoulder, and who's ready to walk off with your laptop when you're distracted?

As it is, I have PCs and fast internet at home and PCs and fast internet at work and don't have occassion to need to access important things between the two or on vacation. So I haven't adopted a traveling security procedure. Well, when I've traveled for work I only used my work laptop for VPN and if I did any banking, but everything went on the CC, so I didn't really need to bank on the trips.

I wouldn't dare use an untrusted PC for anything that involved money. Of course that can be problematic; lately I'm getting nervous about my work PC since others have access to it when I'm away. And for those with kids and spouses in the house, I'd be nervous about what they're installing on the PC, too.
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Re: Travelling with a U3 Smart Drive
Old 05-09-2006, 11:12 AM   #5
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Re: Travelling with a U3 Smart Drive

Quote:
I have no knowledge of the particulars here, but I am going to guess that it's a flash drive with some client programs and perhaps encrypted data.
That is correct.

Quote:
Whether that's right or not be aware that keyloggers could capture password and account information if you type them in. It's probably less likely that a random script kidde could figure out what site you were looking at if you used on-flash software, but by no means is the information hidden.

Unless this U3 has its own processor, keyboard and display then keystrokes, unencrypted traffic and perhaps even encrypted traffic could theoretically be captured by the PC if any malware were installed. (The PC encrypts the data, so if the PC is compromised....)

Using such a device may (or may not) make it less likely to get observed by malware, but as described on the front page I don't imagine it makes your data, passwords or surfing really safe from an untrusted PC.

I wouldn't dare try it for banking info myself. (Again, my knowlege is a look at the front page and a few deductions about how it could work.) I'm even picky about which work PCs I use for personal banking.
I am still doing my research. This was suggested by a software engineer and bicycle enthusiast who does a lot of travelling. He suggested using additional software that helps secure your smart drive and passwords from prying eyes.
I sense that he is a pretty smart and savy guy but I was hoping there were other members here that have also tested the U3 waters.
I know Billy and Akaisha with all the travelling they do have used public internet cafes for their financial web access. I know he doesn't go to the same cafe twice in a row. I wouldn't use cafes for personal banking but I thought, having your own USB drive that was supposedly "very" secure would be a great idea.
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Re: Travelling with a U3 Smart Drive
Old 05-09-2006, 05:07 PM   #6
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Re: Travelling with a U3 Smart Drive

I have one and use it all the time for move large files like digital photos and big big financial files from one PC to another. Mine is 1 GB which holds more than a CD and is smaller and can be easily reused. It works in all my PCs and my work one too so I can keep them all up to date.

A slow USB (1.0) port will work but is a pain. Windows XP works fine but even Win98 SE can be used on most of them but you may need a driver. One of mine would not work on Win98 so I used it on my other PC that had Xp. Now they both have XP so it is no big deal anymore.

You can download games, utilities, and even a virus scanner and data encoder to them so you keep the nasties out of your data. I only use mine on "known" computers so I don't worry about it much.
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Re: Travelling with a U3 Smart Drive
Old 05-09-2006, 08:01 PM   #7
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Re: Travelling with a U3 Smart Drive

Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveR
I have one and use it all the time for move large files like digital photos and big big financial files from one PC to another. Mine is 1 GB which holds more than a CD and is smaller and can be easily reused. It works in all my PCs and my work one too so I can keep them all up to date.

A slow USB (1.0) port will work but is a pain. Windows XP works fine but even Win98 SE can be used on most of them but you may need a driver. One of mine would not work on Win98 so I used it on my other PC that had Xp. Now they both have XP so it is no big deal anymore.

You can download games, utilities, and even a virus scanner and data encoder to them so you keep the nasties out of your data. I only use mine on "known" computers so I don't worry about it much.
sounds like your needs could also be met using a non-U3 USB flash memory drive that can store 1G to 4G?
On the surface, a U3 smart drive sounds like a terrific travel pentop but only if you can use it at internet cafes.
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