Encrypt/Hide/Protect your important files and data

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by tray, Feb 23, 2007.

  1. tray macrumors member

    Nov 25, 2006
    Hey all,

    I have a problem that I would like to enlist your help. Currently, I have several external drives connected to my Mac via FireWire. These drives house anything from my
    • Media files (music, videos, podcasts),
    • Work (documents, presentations, etc.)
    • Personal files (finance, important documents, family pictures and private stuff)

    In addition, they also serve as a backup as I have wisely learnt to backup my files from fellow forumers. I have used various backup programs such as
    • SuperDuper: to make a clone of my Macintosh HD, which allows me to boot up from an external drive in the case of the failure of the internal drive
    • Chronosync: where i make copies of specific folders in my Home directory such as ‘Documents’, ‘Pictures’ and various folders with archiving
    • iBackup: where I make copies of specific application data and preferences such as iCal, Mail, Safari, iTunes etc.

    My concern is this: Although the data in my Mac is protected, (i.e. one would have to know my password to enter my user account); The data in my external drives is not. Anyone can come along and take my external drives away

    For instance, I have realised that someone could take the clone of my Macintosh HD, plug it into their Mac and reset the password and literally have a copy of my Mac user account, complete with files, applications and application data.

    Also, since I have made clones of my important files, applications, someone could access them easily if they have gotten hold of my external drives. This applies to both my work and (home - in the case of a break-in) settings.

    The security measures I have found do not seem suitable. There is the possibility of encrypting specific files. However, this is not feasible in my instance because I backup my files/clone my Macintosh HD daily. I would have to encrypt and decrypt several hard drives daily then.

    Also since I schedule my backups in the wee hours of the morning, I do not wish to wake-up just to decrypt several drives and encrypt it when it is done. While this can be done, it seems very primitive and requires human action which may be unreliable.

    I was thinking, is there a simpler way? For example, is there a way to simply password-protect your entire external drive? That is, once you have plugged it in to your Mac you are required to enter password to access its contents. Thereafter, as long as it remains plugged into your Mac, there is no need to re-enter the password unless you unmount/unplug the external drive and mount/plug it in again.

    I apologize for this lengthy post; I have tried to remain as concise as possible while trying to explain my situation. I have tried Googling on this but have found little leads. I appreciate any help rendered.

    Thanks guys!
  2. live4ever macrumors 6502a

    Aug 13, 2003
  3. tray thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 25, 2006
  4. Super Macho Man macrumors 6502a

    Super Macho Man

    Jul 24, 2006
    Hollywood, CA
    With Disk Utility you can create encrypted disk images which behave exactly like this. The only drawback is that you will have two icons on your desktop for each drive - the drive itself and the encrypted disk image on the drive. The drive icon would show up in the finder as a normal hard drive, but with one giant .dmg file inside it. Double-click the dmg, enter your password, and it mounts. You can make them any size.

    One thing that occurred to me though is that Disk Utility doesn't like to make images of Macintosh HD while the system is running. The contents of Macintosh HD are changing too quickly for DU to be able to make an exact copy. I am not sure if there is any way around this.


    1) Have you considered that you really don't need to be making encrypted backups of your entire drive? You really only need to encrypt what you don't want others to have access to. I put all my private/important documents & stuff on a 2GB encrypted disk image. That's enough space for them. If you organize your stuff appropriately, it is possible to make backup a drag & drop process.

    2) Have you thought about FileVault?

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