What if you lost your USB drive?
Lots of us keep highly sensitive data on our flash drives. Some of us refuse to do so, just because of the implications. There must be a better solution right? Below are some easy(ish) ways to encrypt the files on your drive so that you don’t have to worry about losing it.
*Ratings are based on a 1-5 scale. 1 Being no encryption at all and 5 being impossible to break encryption (to date).
Ease of use: 2 – Security: 5
TrueCrypt is by far the most secure solution out there (that I know of). With encryption schemes far higher than what even the most secure online banks use. The security comes at a price though; ease of use; it is not recommended for use by the average user.
Ease of use: 4 – Security: 4
This solution is new to me. I have been using it for about a week as of the time of this writing. My first impressions are good, it is VERY easy to use. It reminds me of some of the solutions that drive manufacturers sometimes put on the drives. But Rohos has done a better job. I put it right on par with BitLocker. However if you are using Windows Vista or Windows 7 I would have to recommend BitLocker over this for the simple fact that with BitLocker you can have it remember certain computers so that no password is needed on those computers.
Ease of use: 3¹- Security: 4
Since it comes with Windows 7¹, this is by far the easiest to set up and use. Infact you can even set it to remember the computer it is on, so you never have to type in the encryption key on that computer. I gave it a 4 for security because while it is fairly secure, a skilled hacker and/or law enforcement would be able to view the files on the drive with some effort on their part. While this could pose a threat if you are doing something illegal or are worried about corporate espionage, for the average user, this should not be a concern. If random Joe finds it, your embarrassing pictures won’t get into the wrong hands.
¹ – Requires Windows 7 Enterprise or Ultimate to set up the drive. It can be read by any Windows computer, although read only with Windows XP.
All of the above are good solutions. It really depends on what type of user you are and what you mean to accomplish.
If you are just worried about forgetting your drive somewhere and don’t want the finder snooping through your files, BitLocker is the best option for you (As long as you use Windows Vista+)
If you work for a top secret government agency without a name and the safety of the planet relies on your files staying confidential. TrueCrypt would be the route for you.
If you are using Windows XP primarily or just want something very easy to set up, I would suggest Rohos. They have a paid version and a free version. The free version should be sufficient for most users. The limitation being a 2GB partition limit (note: this is not the maximum drive size, just the maximum encryptable size).