Sunday, May 4, 2014

Encrypt personal data with TrueCrypt

WARNING - TrueCrypt has stopped development and issued security warning. Please don't use TrueCrpt. Maintaining this blog for historical purposes. Updated 29th May 2014. 
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You got personal data or photos that you don't want anyone to see ? Got confidential files in your external-HDD/Pendrive and want to share it with your friends?  Or want to create a secure vault to store sensitive data ?  Answer is TrueCrypt

TrueCrypt is Open-Source, free disk encryption software available for Windows/Mac & Linux. http://www.truecrypt.org/



Main features -

  • Create virtual disk within the real hard drive - You can create a vault and lock it using a password. You can then see all files within it with password
  • Encrypts entire hard-disk or pen-drive. If your laptop is stolen or you lose pendrive with data then no one can read the content and see your files
     
  • Encryption is automatic and thus you can open / edit files using regular applications such as MS-Word, Excel, etc. 




How to create a secure vault and store files ? 

Download TrueCrypt from http://www.truecrypt.org/downloads and then follow Bigginer Tutorial from here -  http://www.truecrypt.org/docs/tutorial#Y0

High level steps detailed in above link -

Step1 - Create a 'Volume' or container in which you will store your files

Step2 - Setting the password to your 'Volume'

Step3 - Mounting the volume as a another drive - E:\ or F:\

Step4 - Copy files and close the volume. Any time after that if you wish to open/edit files then follow Step3 and that’s it.

Secure your files online : 
You can now backup these volumes which contain all you files on Google Drive or Dropbox and an open it on any other machine with same password. No one will be able to open or see content of this volume as it has a password set.

Multiple Volumes:
TrueCrypt allows you to create multiple volumes with different sizes. Thus you can categorize your files e.g family-photos, bank/tax/expense documents, passport-documents etc. Of course you should give different passwords to each of them and keep a note.

Can I trust TrueCrypt to be secure enough ?
TrueCrypt has been around for a while and proved to be a standard in encryption. It uses right set of methods and keys to ensure data is not accessible without the required password.

TrueCrypt is open source and thus people around the world can see and find any issues in the source. This give high level of confidence that by now if any flaw would have been there would have been already found and fixed.

Further reference - TrueCrypt documentation - http://www.truecrypt.org/docs/

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