Swiss Army knife with fingerprint reader

The latest Swiss Army knife from Victorinox features a secure flash drive that is unlocked using a built-in finger print reader. The 8gb model will cost £100 (about $150).

I never go anywhere without one of my many Victorinox knives. Part of their appeal, it pains me to say, is that they are considered to be politically correct and so do not alarm onlookers when you pull one out.

I won’t be purchasing this model. For ordinary day-to-day work I would be worried about being locked out of my data if the fingerprint reader died. If I was, for example, doing journalism in a hostile country then there are much better deniable encryption1 systems such as the free and opensource TrueCrypt.

UPDATE: The knife was at SHOT Show but I missed it! Ed blogged about it here. It has also got a laser pointer.

  1. From Wikipedia: “deniable encryption is encryption that allows its users to convincingly deny the fact that the data is encrypted” 

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • Indeed, this knife is very politically correct!
    When I was in college, my manager caught me with this knife but said nothing. I thought: “He knows I am a serious guy.” In fact, it may simply be this politically correct knife that saved me from a meeting with my director…

  • Another reason to not invest in one of these is the fact that many finger print readers are easily bypassed due to poorly implemented algorithms for reading said finger prints.

    The thing is if you want real security on a USB drive you either use TrueCrypt as you mentioned or get an IronKey.

  • Veeshir

    they are considered to be politically correct

    Well that explains that.
    I live in Old Town Alexandria, it’s so lefty that Jim Moran runs every year without an opponent.
    The people here assume you’re far left but if you’re only center-left, they’ll let you slide. It makes my waits at the bus stop interesting.

    Recently an applicance place opened up and they have a huge “Victorinox” display.
    It seemed weird to me that an applicance place would sell knives, but now it at least makes some sense.

    Why is it politically correct? The red color? It can’t be the cross.

  • Spiff

    The only problem is that one would not be able to secure it on one’s person when flying – it would have to go into your checked luggage and be opened to the scrutiny of the TSA thieves…

  • Josh

    I don’t like when they start adding things like that. Especially with the fingerprint reader – it just seems like one more thing that can malfunction. And for $150? You’d have to be nuts! I always carry one of those little Victorinox knives (just like plain version of the one pictured) that cost, I don’t know, $15 or $20, tops. I also have a very tiny Verbatim drive that I use TrueCrypt on. I think that cost me $30 or so with shipping. It’s smaller than a stick of Trident gum, and completely enclosed so no water or dust can get in. (

    Victorinox should just stick to their excellent knives and forget about the gimmicks.

  • Ed
  • Spiff, you make a good point.

  • Cymond

    Swiss Army knives can be considered ‘politically correct’ because they are widely viewed as nonviolent tools, not weapons. Just look at McGuyver; he was a gun-hating suvivalist who innovated his way through any challenge using a swiss army knife and whatever what sitting around.

    I personally carry a Swiss Champ daily and have for about 6 years. I also use it daily, and love it. It hangs into my pocket from a short chain on my waist. The weight is on my weight, but the knife stays in my pocket. Sidenote: Victorinox acquired Wenger several years ago.

  • conrad

    Biometric encryption systems are generally a bad idea. As soon as someone figures out how to spoof the key you’re SOL because you can’t revoke it.

    Good old Gnu Privacy Guard on any file will always work and can’t be broken without the rubber hose method.

    Great gadget though.