Hard Drive Kept Secure With Keycard, No Password

It seems as if you have to come up with a new password with upper and lower case, symbols and numbers every five seconds. So the idea of having a secure external hard drive that needs no password seems rather intriguing.

Freecom came out with a relatively small external drive that uses a keycard instead of a password to keep your data secure. Sure, you have to make sure you don't lose the card, but at least you can't get locked out if you keep typing in your Gmail password by accident.

Said Axel Lucassen, Freecom's co-founder and executive senior VP of product line management and marketing:
You hear about it almost every day – somebody somewhere loses their hard drive and all kinds of confidential information ends up out in the open for anyone to see. Whether at home or in the office, the keycard system on the Hard Drive Secure keeps your data completely safe and gives you instant access to your files whenever you need to use them.

The aluminum "Hard Drive Secure" is controlled with a keycard using radio frequency identification. Basically, like those security pads at some workplaces where you wave a credit-card-sized keycard and it unlocks the door. Same concept. If your drive is stolen, no one can get into the data without the keycard. There are a few different models, ranging from 500GB (more than $160) to 2TB ($400-plus) storage capacity. Yes, that said TB - a terabyte, which is 1,024GB. It hooks up to a computer via a USB 2.0 port.

"Optimal airflow management" prevents it from overheating, Freecom says, and it runs "almost silently."

Freecom also came out with the Hard Drive Quattro, with the same amount of storage space and aluminum enclosure, but it's optimized for AV users, with four different interfaces so it is compatible with any type of computer. Its FireWire 800 & 400 interfaces in particular are compatible with Macs. And Freecom says when it's connectd to eSATA, it transfers data six times faster than a standard USB 2.0 hard drive. Prices range from $200-plus to the vicinity of $500.