Cigent Secure SSD K2 960GB Portable SSD Review

Cigent devised the world's most secure SSD by combining on hardware and software security into an impregnable NVMe storage vault.

Published
Manufacturer: Cigent (CGN-110100E)
3 minutes & 17 seconds read time
TweakTown's Rating: 95%
TweakTown award

The Bottom Line

Government-grade security for the consumer.

Introduction & Drive Details

Cigent has partnered with Phison Electronics to bring forth the world's most secure storage device. Phison's collaboration with Cigent expands on Phison's own E12DC controller Crypto-SSD security architecture to add additional compute capabilities, attack detectors, and sensors directly on the drive. This collaborative effort has resulted in the world's most secure storage device. Government-level security for consumers.

Cigent's Secure SSD is the world's first and only self-defending storage device. Cigent's K2 SSD has the world's most advanced cybersecurity defenses built into the operating firmware of its K2 Cigent Secure SSD to repel ransomware attacks and prevent data theft even when all other cybersecurity protections fail or are bypassed. Hardware level protection.

The K2 Portable Secure SSD comes with complimentary Cigent D³E security software for Windows. The D³E companion software enables all Cigent Secure SSD security features including an additional layer of Zero-Trust file access controls using Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), fingerprint, facial recognition, and custom PIN that protect important files and external media at all times.

Cigent's D³E software makes it easy to enable hardware-encrypted "Safe Rooms" on the K2 Secure SSD. Once placed in a "Safe Room" files are completely invisible until mounted by an authenticated user Once mounted, if a threat is detected, the drive is automatically locked until the threat is cleared and authenticated by an authorized user. Should Cigent D³E software somehow be bypassed or disabled, lost or stolen, on disk data remains hidden, invisible, and fully inaccessible to any attacker.

Finally, we need to mention Cigent's exclusive TrueErase feature. The Cigent Secure SSD is the only SSD to include firmware verification that reports each block's erased or unerased state after a wipe attempt, allowing the trusted user to safely repurpose their device, retire it, or ship it for destruction. No data left behind.

Enclosure Details

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The K2 Portable Secure SSD is enclosed within a custom Sabrent NVMe to USB 3.2 Gen2 enclosure. The enclosure itself is machined from a ½ pound of solid aluminum. The enclosure doubles as a heat sink keeping temperatures in check. Quality through and through.

Jon's Test System Specifications - Intel NUC 11 Pro

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Note: For USB 3.2 Gen2 x2 SSDs, we test on our Z590 system set to match our Intel NUC 11 specs (4.8GHz, 8-threads, DDR4 3200, balanced power plan).

To secure the device, the first thing that must be done is to create a custom PIN and password. Then a special backup file or key that must be accessed through Cigent's D³E software to deconfigure the K2 secure SSD once configured. Below are screenshots of what we did to configure, setup and deconfigure our review sample:

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Easily the most secure storage device we've ever seen, and if claims are to be believed, the world's most secure. Now let's get into what kind of performance Cigent's Portable K2 Secure SSD has to offer. Security is nice, but so is performance, let's take a look:

Synthetic Benchmarks: CDM, ATTO & Blackmagic

CrystalDiskMark

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Nice. Cigent's K2 SSD delivers the best sequential speeds for any USB 3.2 Gen2 device we've tested to date. Q1T1 random performance is quite good as well, especially for a USB 10 device. TLC flash plus a Phison E12 controller can be quite potent.

ATTO

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Essentially full speed at QD4 128K transfers and a nice consistent pattern that doesn't show any signs of throttling as transfer sizes climb. Exactly what we want to see.

Blackmagic

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Secure video. No problem, the K2 Secure SSD portable has you covered up to 4K 30 FPS.

Real-World Testing: PCMark 10 & Transfer Rates

PCMark 10 Data Drive Benchmark

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We didn't think a USB 3.2 Gen2 device could perform this well due to interface limitations, but there it is, even beating USB 3.2 Gen2 x2 devices with twice the available bandwidth. Wow.

Transfer Rates

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We brutalize our test subjects with our extremely hard-to-swallow 100GB data block. This data block is the same one we use for our internal SSD testing and is composed of more than 62K files. Interface limitation is playing more of a role here. Nevertheless, quite respectable numbers.

Final Thoughts

Government-grade security for consumers is something we've not seen before. This thing is more secure than Fort Knox and built with the highest quality components available. It is a bit pricy, but that's to be expected for a device of this sort. Security is its main focus, but it doesn't skimp out on performance. In fact, it managed to set the bar for a USB 3.2 Gen2 device in many of our performance tests.

There is nothing else like this device, nothing as secure, and as such, we feel it has earned our highest award.

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Pros

  • Secure AF
  • Data Drive Performance
  • Professional Grade

Cons

  • 1-Year Warranty
Photo of product for sale

Performance

90%

Quality

100%

Features

100%

Value

90%

Overall

95%

The Bottom Line

Government-grade security for the consumer.

TweakTown award

Jon joined the TweakTown team in 2013 and has since reviewed 100s of new storage products. Jon became a computer enthusiast when Windows XP launched. He was into water cooling and benching ATI video cards with modded drivers. Jon has been building computers for others for more than 10 years. Jon became a storage enthusiast the day he first booted an Intel X25-M G1 80GB SSD. Look for Jon to bring consumer SSD reviews into the spotlight.

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