If you use a thumb-drive sans security your data is just a vacant USB port away from being thrown up on the internet, assets exposed to the world like some drunken heiress. Even secure devices, whether they use biometric scanners
, hardware encryption
, or even more extreme measures
, all leave a lot to be desired: no standards means limited compatibility, and secure data you can't reliably access might as well be random strings of binary digits. The answer could be IEEE 1667, the "Standard Protocol for Authentication in Host Attachments of Transient Storage Devices." Among other things it would enable you to restrict where your thumb drive will work and, conversely, what thumb drives your machine will accept. If it becomes the standard it was born to be you'll be able to apply the same policies whether you're opening Windows 7
, cuddling with Snow Leopard
, or making jazz-hands with something a little less mainstream
. Will it succeed? CNET's Jon Oltsik thinks Microsoft's support for the standard is a good omen and says "Let's all follow Redmond's lead in this case for the greater good." That's certainly
not something you hear every day, but this time we're game.