Swedish outfit BlockMaster has launched what it claims to be the world's fastest secure USB stick, curing, it says, the problematic trade-off between security and performance.

The tests that put the company's 4GB SafeStick SuperSonic above its rivals were conducted by BlockMaster itself against three rival products. The SafeStick scored up to 34.5MB/s for data reads using the ATTO storage benchmark, well ahead of its rivals, the nearest of which scored 29.8MB/s. For writes using the same test, the BlockMaster scored 24MB/s, against 20.9 for its nearest rival.

The BlockMaster also starred for USB startup speed, managing a first plug-in time of 14 seconds and consecutive plug-in time of only 3 seconds. All three rivals trailed some distance behind on both measures, in two cases taking 40 seconds it initialise a first startup.

"The benchmark tests of SafeStick SuperSonic against other devices in the market shows it is the speed leader for data transfers. This combined with the optimised initialisation speeds makes it the super sports car of the USB world, combined with the protection of an army tank," said BlockMaster's CSO, Anders Pettersson.

The rivals were not named ‘for trademark reasons' and the capacities examined were also not specified. Although rival companies such as SanDisk and IronKey are likely to dismiss the tests as lacking independent scrutiny, it is also possible that BlockMaster has just beaten them to a newer generation of internal hardware or optimised its drivers. BlockMaster notes the superior performance of its product but doesn't actually explain what lies behind the results.

Although performance might seem like a slightly arcane worry when specifying encrypted USB sticks, the industry is sensitive to the justified claim that encryption drags down performance.

The full performance benchmarks can be viewed on BlockMaster's website.