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Home > Products > Encryption / CipherChain > External CipherChain *

AES 256-bit full disk hardware encryption      Drive Sanitization          FIPS 140-2 certified Crypto Module             high performance

The External CipherChain is a unique security tool that you can use for a variety of storage applications. Built on a FIPS certified AES 256-bit crypto engine, the External CipherChain is a perfect solution to secure sensitive data stored in external RAID storage, hard drive, SSDs. You can even secure many popular flash media when connect the External CipherChain to any of the Addonics eSATA DigiDrives. The External CipherChain can also be used as a drive sanitization tool for removing any sensitive data stored on an used hard drive or flash media.

Similar to the Addonics field proven CipherChain, the External CipherChain is very easy to use and implement. As a simple pass through device between the storage device and the system, once connected up, the simple insertion of the Cipher key will activate the encryption and decryption of the data on the fly with no noticeable performance degradation. There is no software or driver to install and no special training required. It is as easy as using a key to open a door. The External CipherChain is Operating System independent and will work on any system.

Any external storage device with eSATA or SATA connection can be attached to the External CipherChain, which in turn connects to any host via an eSATA port. Using an optional Addonics USB 3.0 - eSATA adapter, the External CipherChain can also connect to USB 3.0 / 2.0 port on any computer. The compact size and rugged metal housing of the External Cipherchain makes it extremely portable and easy to deploy in various environment where applications require bullet proof data security. The External CipherChain operates at very low power and can be powered directly by the system using various Addonics optional cables.

On the diagram below. Click on the computer to see various host connection options. Click on any eSATA device to see different device connection options.

The External CipherChain is a full disk encryption solution. This means that the boot sector, partition table and all the information in the drive are encrypted. If the encrypted external drive is stolen, the drive will appear as a brand new drive with no trace of any data. The AES 256-bit encryption provided by the External CipherChain is considered the highest level of encryption standard, secure enough to protect classified information designated as “Top Secret”.

The External CipherChain encrypts and decrypts data on the fly using a NIST & CSE certified cryptographic AES engine. Unlike software encryption product which depends on the system CPU to encrypt and decrypt the data, the External CipherChain has no impact to CPU utilization. This leaves the system CPU to perform all its computing task at normal speed. There is also no measurable impact to the performance on the hard drive.

Cipher key
The AES 256-bit Cipher key used for the encryption/decryption in the External CipherChain is the same Cipher key as used in the Addonics Diamond Cipher drive kit, Ruby Cipher drive kit, CipherChain and CipherChain-E. As a result, you can share the same encryption key to operate on the storage device that has been encrypted by either the CipherChain, Diamond Cipher or Ruby Cipher drive kit. You may also order Cipher keys with the same key codes when you order multiple CipherChain ES kits or Cipher keys. You may also re-programmed the Cipher keys to other codes using the optional key management system or sending the keys to Addonics for the re-programming service at no charge.

Drive Sanitization
The External CipherChain can also be used as a drive sanitization equipment for wiping clean of all previous data on an used hard or flash media by using the following operation procedures:

  1. Connect the storage device to be sanitized into device side of the External CipherChain.
  2. Connect the External CipherChain to the computer.
  3. Initialize and perform a standard formatting (not quick format) of the hard drive or the flash media..
  4. Transfer unimportant data to completely fill the hard drive or the flash media . This essentially write over every sector in the hard drive or the flash media with unimportant encrypted data that are not viewable to any OS. The drive or the flash media, when connects directly to a system, will appear like brand new with no trace of any data
  5. Now connect the drive or flash media directly to the computer. Initialize and format the hard drive or the flash media with any OS to use it as a brand new hard drive or media

Key Features

  • Great for the following applications:
    • Prevent sensitive data from unauthorized access when the storage device is lost or stolen
    • Shipping or transporting storage devices containing sensitive data.
    • Encrypt an entire RAID volume
    • Drive sanitization - wipe clean of old data on used drive or flash media
  • Support the following storage devices:
  • AES 256-bit encryption - the highest level of encryption standard
  • FIPS 140-2 certified Crypto Module.
  • Full disk encryption. No traceable data when the encrypted drive is connected to any system.
  • Simple to use - no software to run or any password to remember
  • No training required. Encryption / Decryption via a hardware key  , just like using a regular key to open a door.
  • System connection options -
  • Power options:
    • power adapter (included)
    • USB port using optional USB power cable (AAUSBPCP24)
    • eSATAp port - support both power and data using optional Addonics universal eSATAp cable
  • High performance - up to 150 MB/sec
  • OS independent - can be used on any system

Note on Cipher key code
Each pair of Cipher keys is set with a unique key code.  When ordering multiple Cipher kits and extra Cipher keys and wish that all the keys be set to the same key code, please provide instructions at the final checkout when placing the order at our online store.  Customers may also e-mail the instructions with reference to the sales order number after final checkout.  When ordering from an Addonics reseller or distributor, be sure to leave the instructions when placing the order.  Keys can be sent back to Addonics at any time if re-coding is desired; there is no charge for re-coding keys, the only charge is the return shipping of the newly re-coded keys.

Model and Pricing

Description and Package Content
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External CipherChain

Package content:

  • External CipherChain main unit
  • a pair of Cipher keys
  • 110/240V power adapter
  • User Manual

The host and device connecting cables are not included. You may use your own data cable or select the connecting cables from the accessories section below.

$95 Cart


Description and Package Content
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Universal eSATAp Cable with 5 power tips - one cable for power and data to the External CipherChain from the system with eSATAp port. Can use in conjunction with the Addonics USB 3.0 - eSATA adapter

Package content:

  • Universal eSATAp Cable
  • Set of 5 power tips
  • User Manual

$21.99 Cart


eSATA - eSATA connector cable, 100cm - suitable for both host and device connection

$9 Cart


eSATA - eSATA connector cable, 200cm - suitable for both host and device connection

$13.99 Cart


SATA - eSATA connector cable, 200cm - for connecting any SATA storage device to the External CipherChain

$13.99 Cart

USB 3.0 to eSATAp Adapter
The USB 3.0 to eSATAp Adapter is the easiest solution for connecting any eSATA device to the latest USB 3.0 (Superspeed) or the ubiquitous USB 2.0 port.on any system
$29.95 Cart
USB power cable with power tip 1.35x 3.5 mm, 24" $5.99 Cart
Cipher key socket extension cable $17.95 Cart
Blank AES 256-bit Cipher key $9 Cart



  • Onboard AES 256-bit crypto engine
  • SATA I / II / III compliant
  • Connectors:
    • Host - eSATA
    • Device - eSATA
    • Cipher key hole - mini USB socket
  • LEDs:
    • Green - for power and the presence of key code
    • Yellow - drive access activity
  • RESET: To clear key code and reset the CipherChain. This also remove the drive icon when the storage device is removed from the CipherChain connected to a hot swap SATA port.
  • Disable RESET jumper - use for disabling the RESET button.
  • Maximum throughput - 150 MB/sec
  • Input power: 5V @ 150 mA
  • Dimension: 106 x 92 x 24 mm (W x D x H) (4.17 x 3.62 x 0.94 in)
  • Weight: 260 g (9.17 oz)
  • Operating temperature and humidity: 0 °C to + 60 °C, 5% - 95% (non condensing)
  • Storage temperature and humidity: -40 °C to + 85 °C, 5% - 90% humidity

There is no back door for the CipherChain encrypted hard drive if the Cipher key is lost or stolen. To ensure there is a spare key, every CipherChain kit comes with one pair of Cipher keys. One of these keys should be kept in a safe and secure location and can be sent back to Addonics for duplicating additional keys. If you are down to the last key, be sure to make a back up of all the data stored inside your encrypted hard drive prior to sending the last key to Addonics. Addonics is not responsible for the key lost in the mail or the retrieval of the data inside the encrypted hard drive.

Cipher Key management system

For organization with large deployment, you may consider managing your own keys by investing into a Addonics Cipher key duplicating system.

*A Certification Mark of NIST, which does not imply product endorsement by NIST, the U.S. or Canadian Governments.

All specifications are subject to change without notice. All other products are trademarks of their respective owners.

Printable Version
Printable Version
External CipherChain

"Unlike simple password protection and low level encryption, the Addonics External CipherChain is built on a FIPS certified AES 256-bit crypto engine, providing the same level protection used to secure government documents classified as "Top Secret.""

"Keeping one's personal data safe at all times is an extremely important task, especially when said pieces of information have quite a sensitive nature, and this is exactly where the new External CipherChain from Addonics comes into play."