By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Accessories start-up Black Box Innovations is launching a line of what it calls portable digital protection products to the market. The first, the Personal Pocket Safe, is a PIN-protected USB smart drive designed to organize and secure a user's personal data with military-grade encryption.
Part of the company's fledgling Take security line, the drive is powered by proprietary software that interactively guides a user through the process of archiving personal information like Social Security, credit card and bank account numbers; passwords and PINs; insurance policies; warranties; and birth, driving, financial and medical records into preformatted digital folders. The folders also hold all file types as attachments to accommodate scanned documents, photos, and audio and video clips.
Customizable calendar reminders can be set for regular events such as warranty and policy renewals, or to schedule regular backing up of personal data.
The 3-inch drive has a six-button keypad for PIN entry. A computer will not recognize that the drive is plugged into it without the correct PIN. It is programmed to shut down for two minutes after three failed attempts. All data and files are encrypted with military grade 256-bit AES encryption and the drive is constructed with an epoxy coating over the flash drive that prevents removal of internal memory chips, the company said.
"As a digital safe, it organizes and protects the user, any time, any place in simple ways that can save consumers a lot of time, money and heartache," said John Tate, president of Black Box, who demonstrated the product in the TWICE office. "It can save up to 70 years of financial data."
Tate said Black Box is marketing the Personal Pocket Safe on a number of levels. "First, we have to dispute the person who looks at it and thinks, 'It's just a USB drive.' The robust software is what defines the true use of the product."
Citing the nearly 10 million Americans victimized by some form of identity theft in 2007, Tate pointed out other details that add to the security of the data. An "instant-off" application immediately shuts the drive down when it is removed from the port and the software leaves nothing on the host PC.
It can also be used as a primary backup destination. Tate pointed out, "Close to 90 percent of adults today know they should back up the information they store on a laptop or personal computer, but more than 75 percent admit they do not take action. The reality is, 100 percent of computer drives will fail at some point if in use long enough, and proper backup is critical."
Tate added that the Pocket Safe also has a natural niche among "green" consumers, as it "encourages people to go paperless. It can digitally archive e-statements that can take the place of monthly paper statements," Tate said.
Other features include a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, packaging made from recycled materials and a polished bamboo storage case.
The company also offers online backup services including free backup for the first 60 days from purchase and intends to charge a "nominal fee, $15 to $20 a year," for continued backup, Tate said.
Black Box is currently showing the device to retailers and hopes to ship in the spring. A print-ad campaign is in the works.
The suggested retail for the Personal Pocket Safe is $39.99. For more information, visit www.takeanyware.com.
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