© Pexels/Karolina Grabowska
Have you stored your access keys to your Crypto Wallet on one or more USB keys? You will probably want to take an immediate inventory to ensure that everything is still there! Indeed, according to an article published on the CBL blog, a German specialist in lost data recovery, the manufacturing quality of these devices has been at half mast for some time.
Which means the Flash memory chips in these devices are characterized by such a defect that the lifespan of USB sticks today is far from what it was (in in any case compared to the relatively high-end models of 10 years ago). The problem is linked to the design of the chips themselves.
Why we should avoid storage on USB sticks in 2024
The first generations were called SLC (single layer cell) – a more expensive and lower capacity technology, each memory cell containing a unique bit. In the most recent models, we have so-called QLC chips, with a 4-bit stack in each cell. Enough to quadruple the storage density, but also, unfortunately, to significantly reduce the data retention period, while increasing the propensity for wear.
This, however, does not perfectly explain the fact that where the SLC Flash chips remained perfectly functional after hundreds of thousands of read/write operations, the QLC chips of the keys Newer USBs usually give up the ghost after just a few thousand. There are, however, some informed theories on the subject.
In 2024, the USB key market is no longer really aiming for the high end, but rather for the lowest possible prices. As a result, manufacturers are doing everything to reduce costs, with total opacity for the consumer. Many keys sold for less than €10 may contain Flash chips rejected during the quality control stage. In some cases, manufacturers simply solder low-end microSD cards to a PCB.
CBL provides several tips for reducing the risk of data loss with this type of storage . For our part, we would rather advise our readers to replace USB keys with storage methods known to be more reliable – especially for important data. In 2024, hard disk storage remains by far the cheapest backup method (along with magnetic tape storage) per terabyte and the most reliable over time.
According to Ourworldindata, we are talking about a cost of around fifty dollars per Terabyte (1000 GB) for NAND memory compared to only $14.30 for hard drives with exceptional longevity.
- A firm specializing in data recovery strongly advises against using USB keys.
- In recent years, these keys are in fact manufactured with less reliable chips, what's more by reducing costs as much as possible.
- The Hard drive storage remains a much better option for your important files.
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