Version 7.0a of TrueCrypt offers many new features, includinghardware-accelerated AES encryption via processors that support thetechnology. We discuss the new features and look at the performanceimpact of running an encrypted system partition. Payment slips saved in PDF format, e-mail correspondence with thetop brass, and your personal log-in info for a number of Web-basedservices: those are but a few example of information you wouldn'twant to give up to any stranger. However, it can be quite easy forunauthorized third parties to get their hands on that informationis if it is stored on an external hard drive, laptop, or USB stickwithout proper protection. Shoot, even a massive corporation likeSony can't keep its customers safeguarded in its own data center.If someone wants it bad enough, you can consider your machine,accessible through an always-on Internet connection, as good ascompromised. |
And if your mobile hardware is stolen or accidentallymisplaced, the economical hit of replacing it is probably going tobe the least of your worries. Obviously, losing data doesn't automatically mean that someone is going to take advantage of it or you. But ina worst-case scenario, less-savory personalities can use it to cause harm. For example, the new owner of your notebookmight very well get access to your Facebook or eBay accounts andcause some havoc.
And losing work-related hardware with sensitiveinformation on it not only puts your company at a competitivedisadvantage, but can also sink it outright. Convenience Beats Concern About Personal Data Recent studies show that while users do indeed care about theirpersonal data, they do not put much effort into protecting it. ITservice provider Unisys found the following: while 72% of thepeople asked feared the possibility of identity theft, only 37% ofthem used strong passwords and changed them regularly. In plain English, in the face of a vague threat, people prefertaking a risk over making an effort. Clearly, this is a true revelation of human nature ( Ed.
: that's just dripping with sarcasm ). Simple security measures like using a Windows password do notconstitute a serious barrier to data thieves. All they have to dois to connect the hard drive to another machine in order to gainaccess to the data. The only really safe way to protect data is using modern encryption solutions incombination with secure passwords, something that actually does notrequire as much effort as people think. Microsoft, aware of the lack of security in our modern IT-orientedsociety, offers its own encryption software for the Enterprise andUltimate versions of Windows 7 called BitLocker.
The open sourcetool TrueCrypt is a safe and effective alternative to BitLocker. It enjoys thebenefit of being available to everyone, while at the same timeoffering more data encryption options and support for moreoperating systems. TrueCrypt is easy to install on existing Windowsconfigurations and, just like BitLocker, it offers real-timeencryption. You can read our step-by-step instructions on how to install TrueCrypt 6.1 with a few mouse clicks . You might also find our BitLocker and TrueCrypt performance comparison interesting.
No Access without a Password There's no question about it. With more than 16 million downloadsjust from its official site, TrueCrypt is very popular. Before youstart using the program, you should be aware that there is no wayto access an encrypted partition if you forget your password. Bruteforce is as good as futile, given the 256-bit-strong AES encryptionalgorithm. TrueCrypt creates a recovery CD/DVD (rescue disc) during theinstallation, but this is only intended for restoring the system incase of critical errors, such as a damaged boot loader.
You stillneed your password. Authenticated users can reverse a TrueCryptencryption back into an unencrypted one at any time, if they wantto.
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