TrueCrypt: Easy Hard Drive Encryption

March 14th, 2011   Submitted by Paul Rosenberg

One of the programs I recommend for the protection of your personal computer is TrueCrypt. It is well-designed, easy to use, and free. (But I’ll have more to say about “free” below.) TrueCrypt encrypts your hard drive, but does so in a way that provides both maximum usage and maximum functionality.

Encrypting your hard drive keeps snoops of all types from getting access to your personal information, and the information your computer contains about family, friends and clients.

What’s also important about TrueCrypt is that it is open source software, which means that you can trust it. “Open Source” means that the entire program is available for viewing. Any capable programmer can read every line of the code, and can verify that no games are being played. That matters for security.

Microsoft, etc. do not let you see their code. You can trust them that it is not full of tricks, or not.

HOW IT WORKS

TrueCrypt protects you by dividing your hard drive into many “containers,” which are very well encrypted, and remain encrypted unless they are needed; then they are used, and re-crypted when no longer needed.

Each container is opened when it is required, and left locked otherwise.

Here are some specific things the program can do:

  • Create a virtual disk, inside a file, and mount it as a physical disk.
  • Encrypt a flash or USB drive.
  • Provide plausible deniability if an opponent forces you to reveal the password.

This program is the real deal. I won’t go through the details, since TrueCrypt provides an excellent tutorial as well as an FAQ.

I definitely recommend use of this program.

FREE STUFF

TrueCrypt is free, but you should pay them for it anyway.

I won’t go into an explanation of property here, but the guys who wrote this program need to eat food and sleep in safe places. Like the rest of us, they spend considerable effort to secure those things for themselves and for their families. If writing excellent software like this gets them fed, they’ll do more of it. If they get nothing from writing software, they’ll do less of it. Those are simply the facts of life.

Perhaps you have no money now. No problem, but remember, and send them money when you do have it!

There is no virtue in living at the expense of others, and things of value, like TrueCrypt, have to be paid for, in one way or another (time, energy, etc.), by someone.

You should pay for what you use; for both the provider’s sake, and for your own.

If you want to pay via some alternative means, or with a delay, that’s fine, but DO pay.

Paul Rosenberg is the CEO of Cryptohippie USA, a leading provider of Internet anonymity services.

5 Responses to “TrueCrypt: Easy Hard Drive Encryption”

  1. Seth KingNo Gravatar says:

    I installed Truecrypt a few months ago and learned how to encrypt certain files, but I’ve yet to encrypt my entire hard disk. I really don’t know how to do that. I want to use it all of the time. Do I encrypt it only when I am going to shut down, and decrypt it when I turn on my computer again?

    Assuming one already has Truecrypt installed and a basic knowledge of how to use, could you explain how to encrypt the entire hard disk?

  2. Savage1911No Gravatar says:

    It did not slow down my Mac at all. What I like is it boots before the OS which means someone can not bypass it to crack my OS password.

  3. teheheNo Gravatar says:

    Truecrypt is wonderful piece of software. Really easy and unnoticeable. Really only inconvenience is to type long password every system startup, but such is the price of security 🙂 I really recommend it especially on laptops and on your backups ( when your hardware gets stolen your data is safe).
    They have pretty good documentation so you should read it before doing anything. Basic overview of encrypting whole drive (backup it first!):
    System>Encrypt System Partition/Drive>Normal>Encrypt the whole drive>Single boot (I recommend doing multiboot using windows bootloader) and rest should be straight forward (I recommend doing full wipe of hard disk prior to encryption – that may be not so desirable if you have no backup though, but then you should not be doing it in the first place ;)).

  4. AnsaNo Gravatar says:

    Remember that disk encryption is worthless if the machine is running. It is only enabled when the machine is shut down. Don’t forget to as well encrypt you page file. Search web for “Cold boot attack.” It is all worth the effort.

  5. AnsaNo Gravatar says:

    Remember that disk encryption is worthless if the machine is running. It is only enabled when the machine is shut down. Don’t forget to as well encrypt your page file. Search web for “Cold boot attack.” It is all worth the effort.