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Keeping Files Private With TrueCrypt

February 23rd, 2009 16:20 pm | by Ed |

Just about everybody has some kind of private files they don’t want others to see. It could be a document with of all your passwords in it, bank account data such as online banking passwords & account numbers and statements, You could even have a (gasp!) porn collection that you don't want your spouse (or children!) to find. Really, it could be literally anything that you want to keep secure from prying eyes.

Perhaps one of the best solutions for most needs is TrueCrypt. It's a free open-source encryption tool. It's available in Windows Vista/XP, Linux. and Mac OS X. It can either be used to create a virtual encrypted disk in a file that it mounts like a real disk or you can use it to encrypt your entire hard drive.

Here's a brief walk through of how to create a TrueCrypt container file.

Once you've installed it Find the TrueCrypt entry on your programs menu. Click on "Create a new file container".

Click the option "Create a standard TrueCrypt volume".

On the next dialog box, select the location where you want to create the file volume and then click Next.

Now it's time to pick the encryption algorithm to use. For most cases it's fine to just use the default AES. It's a strong, proven algorithm that's in wide use.

Now enter the size for the encrypted volume file and click Next.

Next you enter your password. Take care to choose a strong password made up of upper and lower case letters along with numbers and special characters. The password can be up to 64 characters long. (the longer it is, the harder it will be for anyone to break it)

IMPORTANT: Make certain that you will be able to remember this password! TrueCrypt does NOT have any way to recover it if you forget. (this may not sound good, but it is. If the password could be recovered, that would weaken the value and usefulness of TrueCrypt considerably.)

Then choose the type of file system to use. If you will need to access this volume on an older system or Linux then you're better off with a FAT file system.

Then it will take you through the process of formatting your new volume. Once that's done click on exit.

Now in the main TrueCrypt window click on the "select file" button. Browse to the container file you just made. Select a drive letter by clicking on it once, then click the "Mount" button. At this point you can open Windows explorer and your encrypted volume will be there with the drive letter you selected.

It'll as you for your password and then you'll be able to use that volume just like it was a physical drive.

When you're done with it, click on the "Dismount" button. This will un-mount the volume so that it will no longer show up in Windows Explorer.

Technorati Tags: truecrypt how to, on the fly, security, encrypted disk, otfe encryption, freeware, personal data, open source, truecrypt, privacy, encrypted volume

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