Healthcare data is some of the most sensitive information that exists, so much so that the United States has a strict federal law governing its use: the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, better known as HIPAA. While most healthcare professionals are keenly aware of the need to operate within HIPAA standards, that level of protection is lacking at the consumer level. But a new USB device from Kingston may help change that. Unveiled at CES 2023, Kingston’s IronKey USB Type-C Vault Privacy drive has HIPAA compliant hardware encryption. It’s designed as a safeguard against Brute Force password attacks, putting data encryption in the hands of the user rather than trusting it to Cloud services.

How serious is the risk of data theft? According to a recent report that was published by the nonprofit Identity Theft Resource Center, data breaches are on the rise, with a staggering 68% jump from 2020 to 2021. Sensitive information, including Social Security numbers, was compromised in many of these breaches. Everyday consumers are often the victims, and sectors including healthcare, retail, and business are some of the biggest targets for identity thieves. Storing data on the Cloud carries some of the highest risk; a State of Cloud Security report from the cybersecurity experts at Sophos found that 70% of IT professionals report that their cloud infrastructures were breached in a given year.

Kingston’s new USB device also has a handy additional feature; one can use a passphrase instead of a password. Is the former better than the latter? Security experts at the FBI think so. As part of the Protected Voices initiative in conjunction with the Department of Homeland Security, they recommend favoring passphrases over passwords. The bureau says, “If you use a simple password or pattern of characters, it’s considerably easier for an adversary to crack.” However, “a longer passphrase…combining multiple words into a long string of at least 15 characters…makes it harder to crack while also making it easier for you to remember.”

Is it about time you switched from an easily hackable password to a secure passphrase? Should you stop putting sensitive information on the Cloud and start using personal devices with secure data encryption? The IronKey USB drive could help you do both.