If you have a top secret and confidential data, where you will save it? Will you put it on your Windows desktop? Or put it in your My Documents? Of course you will answer NO to these two questions, right? If we do not secure our confidential data or file, there is no point we classified it as confidential. So we need a special mechanism that can protect the data. And another question is, what mechanism that we can use?
I choose TrueCrypt. TrueCrypt is a free open source software that able to create file container which you can use as virtual drive on your computer. The file container is encrypted depending on the encryption algorithm that you choose upon the creation of the file. You are also required to enter password to protect the file container.
The file container is like a normal file that you can copy, delete, cut and paste on any digital media storage such thumbdrive. Although you create the file container in Windows, but you also can open it in Linux platform as long as you have TrueCrypt installed in the operating system.
Lets go back to my example above. If I have a confidential file that I want to encrypt, I will create a file container using TrueCrypt and then mount the file to the computer. TrueCrypt will prompt you to enter the password. If the password is correct, TrueCrypt will mount the file container.
The mounted file will become virtual drive on my computer with drive letter Z:, Y:, etc, just like normal hard disk. Open the drive and save the file into it. Make sure that, you un-mount the virtual drive because the file is viewable if you leave the virtual drive open just like that. It is not encrypted as long as the drive is mounted.
If you afraid that someone will delete the file container, you can use TrueCrypt to make a encrypted partition. This is more secure but it is not mobile. You can’t transfer the partition to other storage media like file container. Unless if you encrypt thumbdrive.
Main features of TrueCrypt are as follows,
- Creates a virtual encrypted disk within a file and mounts it as a real disk.
- Encrypts an entire partition or storage device such as USB flash drive or hard drive.
- Encrypts a partition or drive where Windows is installed (pre-boot authentication).
- Encryption is automatic, real-time (on-the-fly) and transparent.
- Provides two levels of plausible deniability, in case an adversary forces you to reveal the password:
- Hidden volume (steganography) and hidden operating system.
- No TrueCrypt volume can be identified (volumes cannot be distinguished from random data).
- Encryption algorithms: AES-256, Serpent, and Twofish. Mode of operation: XTS.
I have using TrueCrypt for months and so far TrueCrypt is really good encryption software. So far, I never heard that someone had cracked the encryption. In my opinion, this software is a must have to everyone to store their private or personal files that they have. For more info, you can read TrueCrypt FAQ.