How to protect/encrypt an external HD?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by AlbinoPigeon, Jul 17, 2006.

  1. AlbinoPigeon macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2004
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #1
    Hello, I just got a nice 300GB external HD and I was wondering if there was any softare out there to put a password on it or something. I dont want anyone to be able to just plug it in and start snooping around my files. Does anyone know anything for OSX that I can install on the HD? Right now it's partitioned into 2 sections. One is 80GB, just enough to do a complete backup of my computer's HD, and the other is the rest of it for a general scratch disk.
     
  2. OutThere macrumors 603

    OutThere

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2002
    Location:
    NYC
    #2
    You could make an encrypted sparseimage (with diskutility) and just store everything in that.

    Open disk utility and go to File->New->Blank Disk Image
     
  3. AlbinoPigeon thread starter macrumors member

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    Jan 1, 2004
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #3
    Yeah, I already looked at that as a possible solution, but I wanted something that would just wholesale protect the drive. Like a password protection thing or something.

    I need a huge image too. Would there be performance issues with using a huge encrypted disk image?

    Thanks for the info!
     
  4. OutThere macrumors 603

    OutThere

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2002
    Location:
    NYC
    #4
    With any encryption there will be performance issues as it encrypts/decrypts everything going in and out..

    Disk images, however, usually perform quite well.

    As to size, a sparseimage will only get as big as the stuff you put in it, it has no preset size. So if you put 5 megs of stuff in it, it'll be 5 megs. etc.

    Not the best option, but pretty much the only one for an external drive.
     
  5. EGT macrumors 68000

    EGT

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2003
    #5
    I haven't employed the sparse disk image option for my external but that's what I use for private documents on my main drive, about 200 MB in size. That way, when everything is backed up to the external, any private data is already secure.

    Good drive encryption software would be nice though.
     
  6. Eniregnat macrumors 68000

    Eniregnat

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2003
    Location:
    In your head.
    #6
    OutThere has a good idea, though I differ on the opinion that it will generate a 1 to 1 file size.

    I generally think that people over think what needs to be secure, or the risk of somebody actually mounting an external drive. This said, I use a program to securely encrypt all of my software keys, address book, and personal information.

    I really don't think you should worry about encrypting a scratch disk. You will take a performance hit if you do that, and there are drives that will do it in real-time. Simply zeroing out the free space should be sufficient. While it is possible to use AES grade encryption in real-time is OS X, FileVault, it has a lot of drawbacks.

    Other options are using any number of third party encryption programs that use any number of algorithms like TwoFish, Blowfish, PGP, etc to encrypt your backup after the fact.

    I am not posting a preferred one, as in general as soon as I do, somebody points out it has been cracked or is unsafe with out supporting it. Look around and you will find free and pay implementations of any of those algorithms.

    Generally, I think that there is no reason to protect most data. Again, I do encryption and I always use strong passwords. If you use any encryption, don't use weak passwords. I do use a free Random Password Generation program, called RPG. There are others out there, but this one is small.
     
  7. funkychunkz macrumors 6502a

    funkychunkz

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2005
    Location:
    Ottawa, Canada
    #7
    Doesn't Tiger have one BI? Under create a new account?
     
  8. AlbinoPigeon thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2004
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #8


    Thanks for the great points. If I did the entire drive, I wouldn't want it to be encrypted per se, just password protected from mounting anywhere. Since that doesn't seem to be possible, I suppose creating a small image for my personals will have to do.
     

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