Pocket-lint vs. The BlockMaster SafeStick

When the chaps over at BlockMaster Security sent us over one of its SafeStick USB drives, there was really only one thing we wanted to do - try and bust it.

Did we succeed? Read on and find out....

The SafeStick is a secure 4GB USB flash drive with AES256 CBC encryption built in. When you first plug it in to your machine, the setup screen loads and from there you can choose your password and user settings.

It's all fairly straight-forward and quick and from thereon-in you simply need to enter your password to access its data each time you plug it in.

BlockMaster claims that it has a strong, tough, built to last exterior. So we tested that by throwing it out of first floor window onto the concrete below. Apart from a couple of scratches, the USB key was still as good as new.

The SafeStick is waterproof to MIL-STD-810F specification. BlockMaster says: “The circuitry is sealed with epoxy, giving SafeStick superior weather resistance and making the hardware completely tamperproof”.

We tested this by leaving the device in a glass of water overnight. Not only did the flash drive still work the next morning - it also looked sparkly and clean after its window jumping exploits.

The next night, heavy downpours were predicted. So we left the SafeStick out on the roof. The next morning, it was all still working fine. We were going to have to step up our efforts.

The specs state an operating temperature of 70 degrees Celsius to -5 degrees Celsius and a storage temperature of 85 degrees Celsius to -25 degrees Celsius.

A few nights in the freezer draw didn't seem to bother it, and neither did a week submerged in an ice block in the freezer either.

So, the cold was no bother, but could it handle the heat of the kitchen (i.e. the oven)?

First up we gave it 15 minutes at the 85 degrees Celsius temperature that the guidelines said that it could handle. Apart from a funny burnt plastic smell and a bit of warping at one end, it still worked fine.

So, the SafeStick had survived throughout all of our tests that were within the limits of its specification. But we still had an urge to try and brake it.

So, we went above and beyond what it is advertised to take. We baked it for 20 minutes at 120 degrees Celsius.

And we finally killed it. Well, sort of.

The plastic parts of it melted and it was impossible to get the lid off. So we gave it a few fairly hefty bashes with a mallet and it came apart, literally. We were left with three pieces - the lid, the main metal cover and the connection and memory module.

But the device still worked when plugged in. Sure, it was effectively useless after that - but it had more than passed our test.

Any data stored was kept safe even when we exceeded the guidelines. We had managed to destroy the device but we had failed in our quest because the data remained intact.

Blockmaster SafeStick 1, Pocket-lint 0.

The BlockMaster SafeStick is available now. The 4GB version will cost you about £75, but there are 1GB, 2GB, 8GB, 16GB, 32GB and 64GB ones available as well.