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Kanguru jumps in with security device

The palm-size device promises to secure sections of any hard drive, making confidential data invisible and inaccessible when it is unplugged.

A new USB-based product called the Kanguru Wizard promises to perform magic when it comes to data security.

The palm-size device, released Tuesday by Kanguru Solutions, can secure sections of any hard drive, making confidential data invisible and inaccessible when it is unplugged, according to the company. With the $49.95 Wizard, an individual can portion off up to eight sections of a hard drive, Kanguru Solutions said. Each of those "hidden drives" can support up to 2GB of data, and that information can be accessed only when the Wizard is plugged into the computer, the company said.

"Government agencies can use it to cordon off classified documents for limited access," Nate Cote, vice president of product management for Kanguru Solutions, said in a statement. "Doctors can protect their patient information. Businesses can use this for protecting credit card information. Parents can use it to keep confidential information like financials out of sight on the family computer. The list goes on."

Kanguru Solutions is trying to tap into increased concern about data privacy. According to research firm Gartner, 20 percent of companies are expected to experience an Internet security incident more serious than a virus by 2005. Using biometric technologies to identify computer users also has been proposed as a means to increase security.

Each Kanguru Wizard device comes equipped with its own hardware password and offers an emergency password in the event the Wizard is lost. Software programs can be installed onto the device and then their associated icons will disappear when the Wizard is removed, Kanguru Solutions said.

The Wizard works with Windows 98, ME, 2000, XP and SE, according to the company.

Kanguru Solutions, a division of Interactive Media Corporation, manufactures portable computer storage products such as USB flash memory devices.