Monday, October 25, 2010

Truecrypt - Protect your data

Most people have data they don't necessarily want others to see.  Some examples of this kind of data are:

  • Financial data (Tax returns, bank account info, credit card numbers, etc)
  • Usernames and passwords
  • Diary or Journal
  • E-mail
  • Pornography
If your computer is lost or stolen this data is easily available to anyone who picks it up.  A windows password will not keep anyone from your data if they possess the machine.

What can you do to protect yourself in a situation like this?  One option would be to not keep sensitive data on a computer, especially a portable one.  This is definitely a good idea, but not always practical.  This is where encryption comes in.  There are many different options for encryption, but the best one I have come across is TrueCrypt.

TrueCrypt can encrypt your files in 2 main ways.

  • Encrypted containers
  • Encrypted partitions/drives
An encrypted container is a large encrypted virtual hard drive that you can mount as a drive in windows (or linux) and store files on.  When this file is not mounted the files are encrypted by a password and can't be retrieved.

Instead of using an encrypted container you can encrypt the entire hard drive.  This option will keep everything secure and require a password when you start your computer.

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