Of the many uses for USB flash drives, one that is only starting to get explored, is security. Predator, written by one Richard Goutorbe of France is contributing one of the most mature looking implementations of USB keys for security. His software writes a unique key file to your flash drive and the program constantly checks for it. If you remove the drive, the software dims your monitors and hides all your programs. The effect is a very successful work factor increase for anyone hoping to monkey with your workstation. The method doesn’t feel uber secure, but it should work for all but the most paranoid needs. Upon installation you are required to create a password that can be used to unlock your system if you have lost your key.
The software is free for non-commercial use and doesn’t do anything to your flash drive except writing and rewriting its keyfiles. Currently, only being developed for Windows OS flavors. Others have cobbled together this functionality with a variety of programs but this is the most mature single solution to date. While this is a great step for USB, there are a few more convenient but less secure Bluetooth variety emerging.