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Apricorn’s Aegis Fortress L3 USB Drive Receives FIPS 140-2 level 3 Validation

January 2020 by Marc Jacob

Apricorn, the manufacturer of software-free, 256-bit AES XTS hardware-encrypted USB data storage devices, today announced the Aegis Fortress L3’s FIPS 140-2 level 3 validation (certification #3603) was awarded by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. For industries and institutions requiring the highest levels of data security, such as healthcare, finance, defence, and legal, the L3 delivers compliance with the most stringent data security regulations such as GDPR.

Originally released in early 2019, the Fortress L3 features Apricorn’s latest encryption chipset, delivers read and write speed increases of up to 80% and 50% respectively over the first-generation Fortress SSD models.

In contrast to many other FIPS validated, encrypted USB portable drives, the Fortress L3 FIPS 140-2 Level-3 certification boundary addresses the entire device-the electronics, the actual drive, and the enclosure-which is milled from a solid block of aircraft-grade 6061 aluminium alloy. The two aluminium halves are first joined using snap-off, unidirectional security fasteners and then cemented and potted with epoxy to both discourage and capture evidence of tampering. Beyond tamper proofing, the ruggedised exterior is designed to withstand extreme temperatures, demanding field conditions, and shock resistance.

Like all Aegis Secure Drives and Secure Keys, the Fortress L3 comes standard with AegisWare™: Apricorn’s proprietary firmware, with a rich, configurable security feature set where all passwords and commands are entered by way of the device’s onboard keypad. As 100% of the authentication and encryption processes take place on-board the devices themselves, there is no requirement for host software or to share password or encryption key data with the host computer. Additionally, all have military grade 256-bit AES XTS encryption with locked down firmware that can’t be updated or modified, protecting against sophisticated attacks such as BadUSB.

The Aegis Fortress L3, with interchangeable Type-A and Type-C connector cables, features the following:

• Aegis Configurator compatible: Create custom security profiles and mass configure multiple Aegis devices at the click of a button whilst capturing all asset information in an encrypted database
• 256-Bit AES XTS Military-Grade Hardware Encryption: Encrypts all data on the fly
• Software-Free: Ready to use right out of the box; no software, no drivers, no updates
• OS Agnostic: Compatible with PC, MAC, Linux, Android, Symbian or any mass storage compliant system with a powered USB port
• Forced Enrolment: No factory pre-set default PINs
• On-board Keypad: All PIN entries are performed on the device’s keypad making it compatible with systems without keyboards and/or screens, whilst not sharing critical security parameters with the host computer.
• Lock-Override Mode: Can be programmed to remain unlocked during reboot / USB re-enumeration
• Two Read-Only Modes: Either set by the administrator (can’t be changed by the user) or toggled by the user to preserve data in its original, unaltered state while blocking malware.
• Data Recovery PINs that provide access to the device in the event of forgotten PINs.
• Programmable Brute Force Protection: After a configurable number of consecutive incorrect PIN entry attempts, the Aegis Fortress L3 will determine that it is under Brute Force attack and destroy its encryption key and PINs, rendering the data useless
• Increased Storage Capacities: 1TB - 5TB in HDD models; 500GB - 16TB in SSD models

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