Aegis Padlock DT FIPS — USB 3.0 Desktop Drive Product Review

Alice Bonasio
4 min readFeb 12, 2018

Bring out the big guns! Apricorn impresses with its huge capacity Aegis Padlock DT secure desktop hard drive.

Tech Trends is delighted to review another product from specialists in secure storage solutions, Apricorn. Based in California with their EMEA headquarters in the UK these guys make some excellent kit. We have tried out several portable USB solutions in the last year, but this Aegis Padlock DT FIPS — USB 3.0 is a desktop drive which really looks the business sitting between my desktop server, mix desk, stereo amp, DAC and printer.

It has a strong steel case, grill and rear panel that looks like it would stand up to a good hammering and generally feels like a very serious bit of kit. The drive comes in a range of capacities from 2TB up to a whopping 12TB so there is plenty of scope for different professional use cases from photography to secure office backups.

Looking at the security specs it’s clear the impenetrable exterior is backed up by an equally impenetrable interior. Like all the Apricorn products I have tried out, it is software-free and uses 100% hardware-based encryption — in this case, 256-bit AES XTS. It is onboard keypad PIN authenticated and boasts ultra-fast USB 3.1 (3.0) data transfer speeds. Of course, most hard drives can’t work as fast as a USB 3 bus but the Aegis Padlock DT managed around 185Mbps read and write in my tests. Very impressive when you consider that all data is also encrypted on the fly.

The Aegis Padlock DT’s FIPS 140–2 validation covers 11 areas of its cryptographic security system, including physical security, cryptographic key management and design integrity. Level 2 encryption validation encompasses both the Padlock DT’s physical tamper-resistant features as well as its identity-based authentication.

To put your mind at rest the device’s PINs and data remain encrypted while the drive is at rest, and just like the Aegis Secure Key 3z I tested…

Alice Bonasio

Technology writer for FastCo, Quartz, The Next Web, Ars Technica, Wired + more. Consultant specializing in VR #MixedReality and Strategic Communications