Making simple cheap read only USB media

I need to be able to send out read only data, is there a way of making a USB drive read only for anyone. I don't care who reads it particularly it is just so the content cannot be changed. We used to do this with CD's but the size and reliability is making us want to move towards USB.

I have used hardware encrypted keys but they don't seem to have a read only setting. Encryption is not a requirement.
DurgesAsked:
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Tiborg GuaranaIT beginsCommented:
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Andy MIT Systems ManagerCommented:
From what I've read it is very difficult to make a USB device universally read-only unless you use specific USB devices you can amend the write switch on (noted in Tiborg's link).

You could make the files read-only but anyone with a bit of IT knowledge can take ownership and change this. You could also write-protect the files with passwords. It won't stop users deleting or copying the files from the USB device but if they need to type a password to be able to edit them it may help.

IMO you'd be better off setting up a read-only webpage or file store that users can log into and view the data required.
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DurgesAuthor Commented:
Thanks! I will look at this and test the solution. It is basically for a document we have to give people as part of an agreement so we are only really concerned about the document being edited as it would be a signed agreement. Unfortunately a web page doesn't work in this scenario as it is just being archived.

Will assign point after testing!
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nociSoftware EngineerCommented:
USB DVDreader + DVD?

USB drives cannot be made Readonly without OS support.... if the system it is used in must obey the request to handle the media ReadOnly.
If it doesn;t or refuse..., then media is R/W.  Side switch on USB cards is the same, setting a flag in the partition tables the same..., it requests an OS to regard the media as read only.   In some cases errors in a filesystem may make the target system mount it as R/O because it finds conflicting information and doesn't want to make the mess bigger, allas no guarantees here. (Android is an example for this).

SD cards DO have a bit that can make hardware readonly. Normal drivers have no support for switching this.
On this site there is more info:
https://www.sdcard.org/downloads/pls/index.html

There was a question on this before:
https://www.experts-exchange.com/questions/29087590/Turn-on-the-TMP-PERM-WRITE-PROTECT-bit-in-a-Micro-SD-Card.html#a42491523

Readin about protecting a legal binding document... what would be wrong with Signing a PDF document....
Any change to a signed document would invalidate the signature automatically...
PDF Signing uses X509 personal certificates.  (certificates bound to a user with an email address).
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Shaun VermaakTechnical Specialist IVCommented:
How big? DL DVDs are 8.5GB
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serialbandCommented:
If you need them bigger than 8.5GB DL DVDs, you can also go Bluray or DL Bluray.  They're not much more expensive than DVD burners and media.
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Shaun VermaakTechnical Specialist IVCommented:
The reason why I didn't recommend that was that Bluray drives are not as common as DVD drives and virtually all can read DL discs
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serialbandCommented:
Bluray is common enough.  They're selling them on Amazon.  The prices reflect the supply and demand.  I got one for a company to use for offsite archiving.  If more people watched Bluray before streaming came along, it would have been cheaper, but there's plenty of Bluray Discs to be found on Amazon and in office supply stores.
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Shaun VermaakTechnical Specialist IVCommented:
OP is distributing media as far as I can tell. I don't believe bluray is common enough for that, just my opinion
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nociSoftware EngineerCommented:
guys.... in #a42530715 the asker mentioned he needs to distribute a (verifyable) immutable document.

Signed PDF is exactly that......
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Shaun VermaakTechnical Specialist IVCommented:
Don't know why EE recommends links like this https:#a42530715 when links like this #a42530715 work so much better, anyways...

I was addressing this part of the question:
We used to do this with CD's but the size...
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nociSoftware EngineerCommented:
That was what i started to respond to only to find #a42530715 being posted while i was entering my answer.  So it is new information that was actualy needed to correctly answer the question...
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Gerwin Jansen, EE MVETopic Advisor Commented:
Found a company that delivers devices that may work for you: https://www.nexcopy.com/usb-secure-flash-drives/

They claim:


Cannot Delete

Data and files cannot be deleted off the drive or formatted off the drive. All content is locked at the controller level.
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skullnobrainsCommented:
... or you can provide the checksum of the document and ask them to copy the checksum ( or part of it ) when they sign the document which actually provides end-to-end proof.
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DurgesAuthor Commented:
Thanks, everyone

Looks like the USB direction is going to be expensive or a pain, these are very non technical people. I will look further into signed documents I guess but this is all to comply with very old school legal legislation so a physical copy of the document is required which means whatever happens I have to give them a disk. DVD's are going to be the best unfortunately. Thanks for all the ideas!
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Gerwin Jansen, EE MVETopic Advisor Commented:
You're welcome!
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