ICloak Stik Review
- Ease of Use
- Build Quality
The ICloak Stik is a small USB 3.0 solution that enables a secure operating system and anonymous browsing experience.
Privacy devices are ten a penny these days and this month I've been looking at the ICloak Stik – a privacy device with a difference.
I was interested to see if it is as user-friendly as it claims and see if the everyday man (me in this case) can make use of it. Keep reading in this ICloak Stik Review to find out what the device is about and if it's actually any good.
2010+ brought many security issues
The last few years have unearthed many issues with internet use. In 2013 we had the Snowden revelations that revealed governments are regularly carrying out mass surveillance and at the same time the last few years have seen massive security breaches such as the more recent Ashley Madison and Talk Talk affair.
While we can't stop governments from using mass surveillance nor stop companies that store our details being hacked into we can take some simple steps to protect our privacy and increase our anonymity.
I'm a big advocate of VPN use that increases your privacy, but they are less geared towards anonymity. Step forward the ICloak Stick. A small USB device that aims to allow you to surf anonymously, protect you from malware and viruses and generally increase your overall security especially when using systems other than your own.
What is the ICloak Stik
The ICloak Stik is a small USB 3.0 device measuring about the tip of your index finger in size. Essentially it is a whole computer operating system on a USB stick that can be used on most systems to boot a completely fresh operating system that is free of viruses, trojans and other tracking software that could be lurking on your own computer or computers you access.
Take for example that you borrow a friend's laptop, you use incognito mode on their browser, you're careful to not let them see you entering your passwords yet unbeknownst to you they recently browsed a dodgy website or downloaded some iffy software which in turn installed a key-logger or other trojan on their computer.
In this scenario you've now potentially exposed your password to a third party criminal located half the world away just waiting to pilfer your email, social media or bank account.
The ICloak Stick removes this issue by allowing you to simply insert the device, reboot the computer and load into a completely fresh and clean operating system that regardless of what the main system has stored on its hard drive is completely trojan and malware free.
Using the ICloak Stik
Using the ICloak Stik is simple and usually requires nothing more than rebooting your computer system and changing the start-up to boot from a USB device. For those who are unsure how to do this, the stick comes with a handy program that can be executed prior to use and will supply instructions on how to complete the process on that specific system.
I used the stick with both my main Windows based system and a portable Windows Surface Pro device and found it extremely easy to use.
Once your system has rebooted the ICloak system loads into ram meaning anything you do while using the system is completely erased leaving no trace on the computer for someone else to find.
Upon loading you are presented with an interface system that will be familiar to those who use modern operating systems like Windows or Mac OS.
The main feature of the system is the Tor web browser which is a Tor based version of Firefox. This allows you to surf the web anonymously using the Tor network and as long as you're not entering personal details or logging into private accounts then your anonymity is retained as much as is possible when using the Tor network.
While using Tor it's possible to alter your IP address frequently and the ICloak Stik also randomises the MAC address of the device on each use too.
Other features include access to the Thunderbird email client and everyday tools such as a word processor, spreadsheet and calculator to take care of common tasks.
Although the device boots into ram leaving no trace of its usage there is a 12GB storage space on updated ICloak Stiks allowing you to save documents and other files to a separate partition of the device kept away from the main OS files of which are non-writeable.
As the OS and web browser are loaded into RAM it is impossible for any of your browsing history to be stored.
But I already use Incognito mode I hear you proclaim!
Using Incognito or Private browsing modes are fine for the odd bit of web surfing as long as someone doesn't want to delve any further into your computer system or the system you used. Regardless of private browsing modes traces of your web usage can be left on a system so if you've accessed sensitive sites via a computer or device that others have access to then you risk having your personal information viewed or stolen.
The ICloak Stick leaves no such trace and so for your personal safety especially when using public systems such as those of friends or at work the ICloak Stik is an ideal solution to increase your security.
The ICloak Stik is quite easy to use and will be suitable for anyone with a slightly higher than beginner experience. Small enough to be added to your set of keys it allows a secure and private operating system to be carried around with you wherever you go.
That's the great thing about the ICloak device, you can attach it to your keys and forget about it, anytime you need to use a system that you don't personally own simply plug the ICloak in and you've instantly got a secure device you can trust.
The same can be said when using any shared system, who knows what others access on that system that could potentially put your private information at risk and through the built-in Tor Browser you have the ability to surf anonymously and access the web without anyone tracking your usage.
Of course, the ICloak comes at a price and while not overly expensive at US$100 there are cheaper and more freely available systems such as Tails that do a similar job. However, the difference between those and ICloak is they require slightly more set-up and so here you're paying for the ease of use and a novice friendly system.
The ICloak is a great device to throw on your keyring and forget about, if you've got $100 to spare and want to safeguard your security when using other systems or just want a handy way to access Tor in a simple USB device then it is definitely work checking out.