.. Securing your USB flash drives | Ian Loe - Blog

Securing your USB flash drives

Many of us make use of the extremely convenient USB drive to share files, but there are lots of opportunity for files to be leaked (intentionally or accidentally) - someone could copy the wrong file from your drive. Some people get around this by having multiple USB flash drives, but there is a better, more secure way to do this.

I would recommend using TrueCrypt

truecrypt

TrueCrypt is a source-available freeware application used for on-the-fly encryption (OTFE). This application offers you a way to secure part (or whole) of your USB flash drive that you can confidently share with others.

TrueCrypt is available on Windows, Linux and Mac and is pretty straightforward to use. I would suggest encrypting most of your USB flash drive and leave a smaller partition for convenient file sharing while keeping the rest of your files protected.

Here is how you would do it:

When you start up TrueCrypt, you will see this window

truecrypt-main

Click on “Create Volume”, you will then get this window”

TC-create

I recommend starting with just a encrypted file container and you can explore partitions as you get more comfortable using the technology.

You will now decide if you want the file hidden… in most cases, a standard volume is sufficient, but if you are paranoid, you could create a hidden volume, but note that this is not foolproof as there are tools that would allow people to detect hidden TrueCrypt volume (but not decrypt it).

TC-type

THe next step would be to tell it where to create the file container, at this window, click on “Select Device…” and create a file on the USB drive.

TC-location

The next screen will ask you what encryption algorithm you want to use, I recommend just staying with the default settings:

TC-encrypt

then you would select what size you would like the container to be. The size would depend on how you would use your drive, just make sure you allocate enough storage for the files you want to protect.

TC-size

Next, create a password to access your encrypted files.

TC-password

next, decided on the format, I suggest keeping it at FAT for better compatibility across operating systems

TC-format

the next step involves some user action - keep moving your mouse (or trackpad) to crete a random Pool for encryption, when you are done, hit the “Format” button:

TC-formatting

this step could take a while depending on how large is your encrypted area. when this is done, you will see a popup like this:

TC-done

You can create additional encrypted areas by repeating the steps or just click exit to finish.

TC-complete

Now you can safely share files in the non=encrypted area of your USB Drive and not worry about private files on it.

to access your encrypted area, you have to mount the file in Truecrypt by electing the file and click on “Mount


I would also recommend creating a directory on the un-encrypted area of your drive and putting the Truecrypt installer for all the platforms.




blog comments powered by Disqus

Ian's Blog