USB/External Drive encryption

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by malofx, May 7, 2014.

  1. malofx macrumors member

    malofx

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2012
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #1
    Hello everyone,

    Has anyone out there tested any encryption software that I can use on my current USB/External drives?

    I need something that will add encryption, something that when I plug in the drive it will ask for a password.

    I know Kingston has a drive, but I want to be able to use the ones I have now.

    I plan to use this on Windows machines.


    Thank you in advanced!
     
  2. 556fmjoe, May 7, 2014
    Last edited: May 7, 2014

    556fmjoe macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2014
    #2
    You can create a Truecrypt volume and use Truecrypt in portable mode.

    Directions are here: http://www.truecrypt.org/docs/truecrypt-portable

    This has some advantages and disadvantages. Truecrypt needs administrator privileges to run, thus you can only do this on machines where you have admin rights. This may be a problem if you are using it on a work, library, or school computer. The key is also exposed to the OS when you do this because it is stored in RAM. This could be undesirable on someone else's machine. You also expose your password to the machine while doing this.

    None of those are problems if you are using it on your own computers, and they may not be a problem even if you aren't, but it's good to keep in mind. Also, any software encryption solution will have these same disadvantages.

    The advantages are that you can copy and backup the volume wherever and whenever you like; it's just a regular file. It's fully interoperable with regular Truecrypt installations, so it doesn't have to be opened by the portable version.

    If admin rights are an issue and/or you don't want to expose your password and key to an untrusted machine, then take a look at Ironkeys. The encryption/decryption process is handled by an on-board chip. No admin rights are required, and your password and cryptographic key does not leave the device. However, it's expensive, and it is impossible to verify the crypto implementation for security and honesty due to it being hardware based, so you'll have to trust that the company did it right and didn't backdoor it.

    Ironkey's site: http://www.ironkey.com/en-US/
     
  3. malofx thread starter macrumors member

    malofx

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2012
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #3
    Thank you for that information, I had been looking into TruCrypt, but I can't seen to get it right, I did the Traveler Disk option, but I can still see the files in the drive... I will give it some more testing.

    I am not even going to bother with IronDisk, too expensive.


    Thanks again
     
  4. 556fmjoe macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2014
    #4
    You need to create a file for Truecrypt to work with. Put a blank text file on the USB called something like "Volume" or "Truecrypt Vlume" or anything else you'll remember. Open Truecrypt and tell it to create a new encrypted container. When it gives you the option to select a file, select "Volume" or whatever you named the text file you made. You will then select the size of the container you want. I'd pick something that gives you some extra space, so if you have an 8 GB USB, make it a 7 GB volume. The rest of the steps should be self explanatory.

    This will make the text file "Volume" a 7 GB encrypted volume. You mount it as a virtual hard disk. When you open Truecrypt, select a virtual disk letter (any of them) and in the file box select "Volume". You'll enter your password and the volume will be mounted at the drive letter you specify. From there, you can copy files to that drive as if it was the C: or F: drive. When you dismount it, it will be encrypted, along with its contents.

    The actual Truecrypt executable needs to remain outside this volume on the USB, if you are using it in portable mode. This is so you can open Truecrypt from the USB on a machine that doesn't have it.


    Doing it this way rather than encryting the entire device allows you to copy "Volume" to the cloud or to any other drive for backup. All of the files in this container are encrypted until you mount it.
     
  5. malofx thread starter macrumors member

    malofx

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2012
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #5
    Thank you, I got it to work and did noticed what you mean about not encrypting the entire drive.

    This really works.

    Thanks again
     

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