Bull Gets Cryptic With Its USB-Based Bootable Hard-Disk

The drive is password-protected and sports a cryptographic processor

Bull has just introduced a new security application aimed at business and enterprise users who work with sensitive information. The company's new addition is a pocketable, bootable hard-disk drive, that features multiple layers of protection, including password protection and a built-in cryptographic processor.

The new drive is called Globull and comes in a miniature form-factor with a bright-red casing. The hard-disk enclosure sports a color display, and is able to host a 60GB hard disk drive, that connects to the computer via an USB 2.0 cable.

The secure drive can also host an operating system. Right after the drive has been plugged into an USB 2.0 port, users can enter their password, then boot the computer directly from the protected drive, thus minimizing the security threats in using a public computer (keyloggers, spyware and viruses).

According to Bull, when the Globull is connected and authenticated, users get full access to their working environment. As soon as the computer has been switched off and the device is removed, the user won't leave any trace on the host computer.

The hard-disk drive sports advanced environment virtualization and CIK (Crypto Ignition Key) technology, alleged to protect the encryption keys in, should the drive get lost or stolen. "The keys are stored in the cryptographic processor only and they never get out of there," claimed Alain Filé, director of the TrustWay organization.

Encryption keys are widely used in security applications, yet they are usually easily retrievable. For instance, Microsoft's BitLocker encryption keys can be found in half an hour, as they are stored in the computer's memory.

The cryptographic processor packed inside the 120-gram Globull encrypts data at speeds of up to 100Mbps, using the Advanced Encryption Standard with a 256-bit key (AES-256). Bull recommends that clients install complete operating systems and additional application software directly onto the mobile hard disk drive.

The Globull is currently available on the French market only. The drive sells for about $685 and will hit the other markets in a short period of time.

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