Want to Secure Your Data Across Platforms?  Check out TrueCrypt!

| Monday's Mac Gadget

Product Link : TrueCrypt (Freeware)

Data security is one of those things most people don't think of until they lose their data. No matter if your data is on a portable Mac, an external hard drive or a USB drive, once someone gets a hold of your drive, it's a simple matter for the culprit to retrieve your personal data. Apple does offer FileVault, and you can also created an encrypted disk image, but these are not total solutions and are Mac-specific. Fortunately, there's TrueCrypt.

TrueCrypt is a cross-platform data encryption solution that is available for Mac OS X, as well as various flavors of Windows and Linux. To get started, run the TrueCrypt software and choose Create Volume. This launches the TrueCrypt Volume Creation Wizard. The first choice you'll need to make is if you want to create an encrypted file container, or a volume within a partition/drive. If you intend on using TrueCrypt on a single platform, and want all contents encrypted, then a volume within a partition/drive is a good choice. An encrypted file container, which is a file but will appear as a volume once mounted, offers the benefit of working across platforms, so is your best choice if you want some portability.

Your next choice is to either create a Standard TrueCrypt volume, or a Hidden TrueCrypt volume. A hidden volume is a tricky way of actually creating two volumes, with different passwords for the normal and hidden volumes. The reason you may want to do this is if you are in a situation where you are forced to reveal the volume password, for example, due to extortion. One password will reveal the normal volume, another password (hopefully longer and more difficult to guess) will reveal the hidden volume with the really good stuff on it.

You'll then be asked to choose encryption and hash algorithms. The defaults should suffice, but if you are a crypto geek, you can customize the algorithms to use. You can then choose the size of the volume. Next, choose a password. It is critical that you choose a good password, since this is the only thing that will prevent someone else from mounting your volume and getting at your data. If you choose a bad password, the wizard will let you know and offer suggestions on how to select a better one. Finally, select the filesystem, which can be FAT or Mac OS Extended.

Access Your Encrypted File or Device with the TrueCrypt Utility

Once you've created your encrypted file or device, you must then use the TrueCrypt utility to mount the volume. Once the file or device is mounted, it will appear as any other volume on your machine. You can then read and write data, knowing that it will be well protected.

So get with the program and protect your sensitive data, and try TrueCrypt today! Have any other gadgets that help protect your data? Send an email to John and he'll give it a try.

 

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Comments

Intruder

Does Truecrypt have to be installed on the receiving machine in order to open an encrypted flash drive, for instance?

John F. Braun

Does Truecrypt have to be installed on the receiving machine in order to open an encrypted flash drive, for instance?

I did some quick testing under both Mac and Windows, and as far as I can tell, you must use the TrueCrypt utility to mount both an encrypted disk image file or partition.

Jimbode

Only Mac Fuse needs to be installed on a Mac. I have the Mac app and Windows app + dll on a USB stick, and my encrypted file container opens fine on any machine (not played with it in Linux).

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