IRONKEY D300 Review: Why I chose this hardware encrypted thumb drive.

IRONKEY D300 Review: Why you want this hardware encrypted thumb drive, especially if you own cryptocurrency.

I was searching for a solution to store sensitive files without using the cloud.  

My criteria were:

  • Resistant to brute force attacks
    • By default multiple failed passwords will wipe the device
  • Resistant to bitwise imaging attacks
    • If the device is out of your control for a short period of time, it is harder to create a bit-by-bit image of it in order to perform a brute force attack later.
  • Physically robust
    • Have no moving parts.  
      • I have seen models with integrated keypads, but moving parts can fail.  You can mitigate keyloggers by using a virtual keyboard
    • Water resistant and physically tough
      • Stand up to day-to-day abuse
      • Tamper resistant.  It’s filled with resin.  You cannot physically get to the components without destroying the device.
    • Trusted manufacturer
      • Kingston is a well-established player in the memory market
      • Manufactured in the USA
      • Standards-based
        • Be compliant with NIST FIPS 140-2 Level 3
          • This is the standard used for US Government to cryptographically secure data
          • For more info:
    • Compatible with different operating systems
      • Able to be accessed from within Windows, MacOS, and Linux
    • Support USB 2.0 or 3.0

What can be stored on these devices:

Cryptocurrency related files:

  • Seed keys
  • 2FA Private Keys and QR Codes
  • Wallet.dat file backups
  • Mining configuration and script file backups
  • Transaction records

Personal files:

  • Tax Returns
  • Credit Card and ID card images
  • Password database backups
  • Other sensitive data

The IronKey D300

I chose the IronKey D300 ( because it meets all of these criteria:


How to use your IronKey

Insert it into your USB slot:

Open the folder and choose the launcher for the appropriate operating system:

Type in your password and login:

Open the newly appeared folder on your desktop:

Open the folder and copy your files:

When you are done, simply eject the drive:



Virtual Keyboards

MacOS, Windows, and Linux all have virtual keyboards.  You should always use one to defeat keyloggers. This will not defeat screen capture malware however.  Use an air-gapped computer is possible for retrieving files. Otherwise, always keep your anti-malware software updated and use a firewall.  You can also use a combination of physical and virtual keyboards to make the character correlation more difficult.

Here’s an example of the virtual keyboard within Mac OS High Sierra (System Preferences-Keyboard |Show keyboard and emoji viewers in menu bar)

Buy 2 of them!

Why you want two of these devices.

    • Any hardware can fail.  You’ll want to backup your data to something equally as secure.
    • Keep one on your person, another in a safe
    • Have the confidence to ditch or hide your device if under physical duress
    • Your device could be unwittingly wiped by a household member
    • Your device could intentionally be wiped by a would-be hacker
    • This will require you to regularly synchronize the two drives.  You can do this manually or using a file sync utility.

Lock and remove!

  • Lock and remove your device after every use.   An unlocked device can potentially be remotely accessed.  Minimize the time window for which this can be accomplished.


  • They are expensive on a per GB basis.  A normal 32GB USB drive costs about $10 USD.  If you are looking to buy 2, you are looking at over $300.  If you are protecting tens or hundreds of thousands worth of identity or financial data, this investment is small.
  • There are export restrictions for hardware encryption devices in the US.  You might not be able to purchase one if you are outside the US.
  • They are larger and heavier than your average USB thumb drive

For more information:

To purchase:

At $156 dollars, the 32GB version is the best bang for your buck.  Please consider using the following link to purchase:

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