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Steganos Secure Traveler review: Steganos Secure Traveler

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PicPass is a visual password system, so that keystroke loggers can't determine your password.

New Steganos Safe capabilities include the ability to use pictures as passwords and to create any number of secure virtual drives of up to 256GB in size, plenty of room for media files.

Portable Safe is similar to Safe but is designed for mobile environments such as CDs, DVDs, storage cards, USB keys and DVD DL media. New is the ability to create a Steganos Portable Safe on an iPod (which is, after all, a very large hard drive). You can also use the PicPass system to lock the safe.

Shredder is a feature that securely deletes files and folders on your hard drive by overwriting them with ones and zeros multiple times. This ensures that digital forensic tools will not be able to reconstruct the data you supposedly "deleted." And with Steganos, data can on USB keys now be shredded.

Password Manager allows you to keep an encrypted file of all your frequently used passwords. Like Steganos Safe, you can use PicPass to create a picture-oriented password to protect your password file.

Steganos Antitheft gives protection should your laptop ever be stolen. If you activate the feature, Steganos will assign your laptop a key. Whenever you are online, the laptop will send a signal to Steganos informing it of the laptop's current IP address. Should the laptop be stolen, you can go the Steganos Web site and see what IP address your laptop is using. This information can be useful for law enforcement to go to the physical address and possibly recover your laptop.

We didn't experience too many problems using the VPN part of the product from our public wireless test location. We also didn't notice much latency in page views when passing through the Steganos VPN proxy sites. We did experience a dropped VPN connection after five minutes of nonuse, but this was while the product was still in beta.

The Help files within Steganos Secure Traveler tend toward the light side, offering configuration settings but few details. Likewise, the online FAQ requires you to type in a question, which may or may not return any results. The lack of FAQ results prompts an online e-mail help ticket. Steganos, headquartered in Germany, does not provide telephone technical support in the United States, nor does it offer an online forum for users to answer their own questions.

We have generally liked Steganos for its innovative take on encryption and security. Providing a VPN service to those without and combining it with their existing vault technologies and a means of tracking your lost laptop via the Internet make for a compelling package. But we find the price a bit high for the average user.

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