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Steganos Security Suite 2006
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by Rob Williams on December 14, 2005 in Security, Windows

Steganos cares about your computer security, and offers a complete suite to make sure you are kept safe. It combines 10 security tools together into one massive package, and we are going to take a look at what’s available and see if it’s worth your money.

Steganos Security Suite

Every time you boot into Windows after installing the SS, it will keep an icon in your systray. You can either right click this for a menu of tools, or double click it for the same options in a GUI. I have high hopes for this kit, so I will be taking a thorough look at each and every tool here.

Safe 8

Safe is one of the features I am most looking forward to using in the Security Suite. Safe is a large enough product and includes numerous features, that Steganos also sells it as a separate product just like the AntiSpyware. What Safe allows you do to is create a new drive to store data in, which will keep it completely safe.

Steganos chose to use 256-Bit AES Encryption to protect your data, and that is a smart choice. AES (FIPS-197 Cert) uses such a strong encryption scheme, that your data can be considered completely safe at even 128-Bit. Steganos has made the default and only choice to be 256-Bit though. Despite it doubling the amount of encrypted bits, it’s still incredibly fast. If the US Government trusts this encryption to handle sensitive data, than I feel safe enough using it for my own.

You must choose the size of the private drive as well as a password. Like other Steganos products, as you type in your password, it will ‘grade’ it depending on how hard it is to crack. It took me a total of 23 various characters in order to qualify for DoD standard security. You can also save the password in an encrypted state on your thumb drive. Once you do that, you are then prompted to choose where you want to save the .sle file, which will act as the private drive. If you save the file to your C:, it will be stored there as a file and not an actual partition.

From this point forward, you can either access the drive by typing in your password, or by simply plugging in your thumb drive. In order for your thumb drive to work, you will still need to have the Security Suite software open and sitting in the systray. Once you plug it in though, it will automatically open up all of your created private drives. The very second you remove the drive, it will close all of your protected safes and make them unattainable. If you choose to use the thumb drive method, Steganos will save a 1KB file to it that will contain the password and drive information, both encrypted. For both ‘safes’, I used the same password and that’s reflected in the code here.

<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″?>
<Steganos version=”8″>
<Passwords>
<Password PasswordID=”SSS2006_Safe_9952035a-eefa-42a1-9b10-4788ae83bf08″ Password=”0d6a21678053f3c3bce70c515502c6c4f615287902760b0ace7dd75bf9524c1a”/>
<Password PasswordID=”SSS2006_Safe_2a88bb5b-5445-4162-807f-5b642a6e7815″ Password=”0d6a21678053f3c3bce70c515502c6c4f615287902760b0ace7dd75bf9524c1a”/>
</Passwords>
</Steganos>

For a quick test, I created a small 250MB safe and stored almost 210MB worth of plain text .txt documents. I then opened the respective .sle file with a Hex editor to see if any words could be identified at all. As you can see from the below picture, the encryption did a fantastic job because not a single word from any of the documents can be seen here. Even the empty 40MB of the safe is encrypted, so someone who was actually hex editing the file wouldn’t know either way if there’s data there to begin with.

One thing that I really do like about Safe is that you can delete one without needing a password or the thumb drive. This is important because anything can happen, really. If you don’t want your data on a specific computer anymore, there’s no worry about a password. Of course, this means that you will still want to keep regular backups of the Safes so that you don’t lose them entirely. Overall, I am very impressed with Safe and wouldn’t hesitate to use it if you want to protect your data. It’s a security tool that can really give you a true piece of mind, because it does exactly what it says it does, and quite well.