The Specifics

Who: iStorage.

The product: diskAshur DT² Portable Encrypted Hard Drive. Sizes range from 1TB to 12TB.

What comes in the packaging: Drive, Universal Mains Adapter, USB cable & Quick Start Guide.

What are they selling us: "The diskAshur DT2 is the world's first and only NCSC CPA and NLNCSA BSPA certified encrypted desktop hard drive. An easy to use ultra-secure, PIN authenticated, USB 3.1 desktop hard drive with capacities of up to 12TB and real-time AES-XTS 256-bit hardware encryption, software free design and super-fast data transfer speeds."

Things We Liked

The first thing that you need to do when using a product such as the diskAshur DT² is put on a hoodie, slide on some fingerless gloves, and hack a mainframe. It could be anyone's mainframe really, but it 100% has to be a mainframe and definitely not a secondary or third frame. That's very important.

Obvious joking aside, there is something of a 'Ridley Scott is currently filming me leave a coffee shop as I escape the feds' about this encrypted desktop hard drive. For a start, it has a keypad on the front which makes it at least 67% cooler than your standard external hard drive. The second, and most important thing really, is that you're not breaking into this hard drive. At all. And here's a bunch of information explaining why:

"The dedicated hardware-based secure microprocessor (Common Criteria EAL4+ ready) employs built-in physical protection mechanisms designed to defend against external tamper, bypass attacks and more. The diskAshur DT2 reacts to an automated attack by entering the deadlock frozen state, which renders all such attacks as useless."

That's cool, right? Well how about this:

"EDGETM* (Enhanced Dual Generating Encryption) Technology Offering advanced portable data security via built-in FIPS PUB 197 validated AES 256-bit XTS hardware encryption engine. The data encryption key is randomly generated by a Common Criteria EAL4+ ready Random Number Generator and protected by FIPS validated wrapping algorithms."

Lost yet? There's more:

"The security lock feature protects the device against any unauthorised firmware modifications from the host side (fully protected against BadUSB). The diskAshur DT2 uniquely incorporates a secure microprocessor providing secure algorithms to encrypt both the data and the encryption key, giving you confidence that your data is protected to the highest standards at any given time. FIPS PUB 197 Validated Encryption Algorithm Employing AES-XTS 256-bit hardware encryption, the iStorage diskAshur DT2 seamlessly encrypts all data on the drive in real-time, keeping your data safe even if the hard drive is removed from its enclosure. The iStorage diskAshur DT2 is intelligently programmed to protect against all forms of Brute Force attacks. Designed with protection in mind, the diskAshur DT2 wear resistant epoxy coated keypad hides key usage to avoid tipping off a potential hacker to commonly used key usage to avoid tipping off a potential hacker to commonly used keys."

Look, most of that information will feel alien to the average person, but all you need to know is that iStorage have spent a lot of time and money making sure the diskAshur DT² is as secure as it possibly can be. So in that respect, they've done a great job.

Outside of the security - which is what a product like this will live and die on - we were impressed by the transfer speeds - 225 MBps (Read) and 223 MBps (Write) - as well as its platform/device independence, meaning that it can be used on any device with a USB port. So many products we've tested recently have ended up being locked to a specific platform, so it's nice having some freedom.

The build quality is great, though that's to be expected for a security conscious product so it's hard to really use that as a plus point. However, it does a great job of containing noise - something that came as a genuine surprise and needs to be mentioned.

Things We Didn't Like

Compared to other hard drives in a similar arena, the diskAshur DT² is certainly on the expensive end, with the smallest model (1TB) costing £179, and the largest (12TB) costing £699. This would also be a great time to mention the rather dated-looking design. It's certainly not a dealbreaker, in fact, that's way at the bottom of my list of requirements when it comes to external hard drives, but I'm allowed to be petty in this section, especially when the product is this good.

Is It Worth The Money?

If you're in need of securing your data, there's certainly a million options for you to choose from, some much cheaper than the diskAshur DT². However, when it comes to storage you often get what you pay for, making this a great investment. Just don't share your pin code with anyone.

You can purchase a diskAshur DT² by heading here. The price ranges from £179 all the way through to £699, depending on the size.