Corsair Flash Padlock 2 8GB Review
Confession time now. When Corsair first came to us with the press release for the Padlock 2 and asked if we'd have any interest in reviewing it, we had absolutely no idea how we was actually going to 'test' the device. Sure we could line up the usual list of OC3D benchmarking programs, run off a load of result graphs and hope that nobody noticed that we avoided testing the most important feature of all - it's security. But with Corsair pounding it into our heads that "this drive is not designed for speed" from the outset, a quick run of Sisoft Sandra would never wash.
Hiring a 'hacker' would also be out of the question too. Plenty of people pertain to be 'hackers', yet most only really know how to use hacking utilities that other people have created. Not being 'hackers' ourselves we'd also have no idea if they were up to the job and whether an outcome such as "this drive is totally impenetrable" would actually be true. Additionally, hiring a verified security expert for the job would also be beyond our budget and a bit overkill considering it's just a USB stick we're looking at here.
And then it suddenly dawned upon us.
If we were unable to gain access to the drive and had to reset it thus wiping its contents, the first thing we'd do in order to try and recover what was on there previously would be to grab a copy of the best disk recovery tool we could find and set it to work on the flash drive. Could it really be this simple to get back that sensitive data? Let's find out...
Easeus Data Recovery Pro
Step 1: Set up a PIN number on the Padlock 2 and place an extremely important document on there. Server Passwords.docx - wouldn't you like to get your hands on that one? (It's actually the wifes shopping list).
Step 2: Test that the data recovery software is working by deleting the file from the drive and attempting to recover it. As we can see, Easeus has located the deleted file and is giving us the option to restore it.
Step 3: Place the file back on the drive, remove the drive from the PC and forget the PIN number. Oh no, now we need to reset the drives PIN resulting in our important document being wiped from the drive. But is it? Let's run the recovery tool over the now unformatted drive to see what it can pick up.
Nothing. Zip. Nadda. The drive was completely wiped clean with absolutely no traces of the previous data recoverable at all. Although this is by no means a scientific test, it certainly shows that a casual PC user would not be able to recover any data from the drive if they found it in the street. I think we can also be quite confident that even a seasoned Neo would have a tough time too.
Yes, I know we said that we wasn't going to run any performance benchmarks. But did you honestly believe us? At the very least we need just a rough idea of how the Padlock 2 performs. To do this we're going to be transferring a 3GB ISO file to and from the flash disk using DiskBench by NodeSoft. DiskBench is not to be confused with synthetic benchmarks as the sole purpose of the software is to time the transfer of a specified file between source and target drives. Based on the size of the file and the time taken, it can also calculate the average transfer speed in MB/s. The results are below:
The ATP Toughdrive chosen to be the Padlock 2's adversary is about the worst USB stick that we could dig up in the office, and unfortunately it still manages to give the Corsair a thorough pasting in the read results. On the up-side the writing results are more closely matched, but if you're expecting the Padlock 2 drive to be one of those sticks that you can quickly transfer a few hundred MB's of data over to on your way out of the front door in the morning, you're going to be quite disappointed.