Secure Your USB Flash Drives with Military-Grade Encryption
An absolute must for the security concerned USB flash drive user and a basic requirement in corporate surroundings is the safe-keeping and encryption of important data:
You need to rest assure that even in case of theft or loss of your device - and its containing data! – the damage is limited.
The recommended application to enable even civilians to reach standard of military-grade encryption is of course TrueCrypt. This heavy-loaded open source - though unfortunately not GPL-licensed but subject to a TrueCrypt Collective License Version 1.2 that does not currently comply with e.g the Debian Free Software Guidelines - performs disk encryption by using mainly a concept of containers to store encrypted data.
The nice thing about Truecrypt is that the containers (or volumes) can be read transparently under Linux and Windows, and soon to come also on OS X.
One nifty little feature of TrueCrypt is that it provides two levels of plausible deniability, which might be useful in case a user is required to reveal the password of an encrypted volume…
In case “they” manage to squeeze the secret password out of you after some hours on the chair, only the first chamber (or container as they call it) will be revealed, showing no trace or clue of further containers with encrypted content within this chamber.
The encryption itself is based on military-grade algorithm AES-256, as well as variations of Serpent and Twofish. Some of the strongest stuff available in the free world, and not for download or use in countries on the US OFAC sanction list (such e.g., in Cuba, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Sudan, or Syria).
More inexperienced users will probably have a more step learning curve when it comes in handling TrueCrypt. It helps to read into some of the rich documentation available and learn also a little about the basics of data security and encryption. When important security concepts are understood this leads to a to drastic improvement of data security.
Remember that no out-of the box solution where all you need to do is click “OK” and provide password are know for their high security level! A reasonable level of security and data protection needs more efforts than just “OK” or “Cancel”.
Now the good news about TrueCrypt is that it comes with the option for the so-called “Traveller Mode” where the application is running from a USB flash drive or device on Windows, and application executable and linked libraries are copied to a removable drive. This is perfect for taking encrypted volumes with you on a portable USB flash drive or memory stick.
Don’t leave your doors unlocked, and don’t leave your data un-encrypted!