Encrypt with Truecrypt

September 6, 2006 at 3:23 am 1 comment

Today we’ll go over a simple way to encrypt sensitive files on your hard disk, external hard disk, usb thumbdrive and CD. TrueCrypt is a free, open source encryption application that works on Windows and Linux. It creates a virtual hard drive in the form of a single file that will read and write encrypted files on the fly.

1. Download TrueCrypt, install and launch.


2. Select “Create Volume” which will launch a walkthrough wizard. Choose “Create a Standard TrueCrypt Volume” and select Next. Hit the “Select File” (it really should be called “Create File” actually) button and navigate to a location to create your virtual encrypted drive file – which is really a file that acts like an encrypted folder. Type a name for it. I’ve created it in “C:\Documents and Settings\xxx\My Documents\stuff.ben”. try to pick a non-important filename (naming it private or encrypted will only make people more curious). your file can have any or no extension (i made mine *.ben). Hit Next.


3. Choose an encryption algorithm from the dropdown box. Next. Choose the size of the virtual encrypted drive file. You have to comit to a size (realize that it’s non-growable and regardless of how many files you throw inside, it will always show that size.Next.


4. Choose a password. If you don’t choose a badass 20-in-length alphanumeric password, TrueCrypt will complain, but you can choose to accept your wussy password as well :P.


5. Format the virtual encrypted drive file. (Don’t worry, you’re not formatting your hard drive but preparing the virtual encrypted drive file.) This is where the coolness factor comes in, TrueCrypt gathers random information from your system like the location of your mouse pointer to incorporate into the encryption algorithm. Done. Exit or create another…


6. Now you’ve got a virtual encrypted drive file, you need to mount it to use it. Choose “Select File” and navigate to the location in which you created it. Select an available drive letter from the list and then hit the “Mount” button, and enter the password.


7. The virtual encrypted drive will be mounted. Go to My Computer and listed alongside all the other drives on your computer, there will be a new one listed corresponding to the drive letter you selected. Drag and drop all your sensitive data to this drive and work from it as if you would any other disk.
8. Once you’re finished working with the data, in TrueCrypt, select the mounted drive and hit “Dismount”. The drive will no longer be available and it’s now totally encrypted.

How to use it on your external hard disk & USB thumbdrive.
TrueCrypt does need not be installed to work. Just dump truecrypt.exe, truecrypt.sys, and your virtual encrypted drive onto a tumbdrive or external hard disk. On the move, just stick it in any computer, launch truecrypt.exe, and browse to your virtual encrypted volume.

How to use it on a CD.
The cool part about using a CD is you can use the autorun function to launch truecrypt.exe whenever you pop it into a CD-ROM drive (unless autorun has been disabled on the machine). To create an autorun file, open a notepad and insert these lines:

[autorun]
OPEN=truecrypt.exe

and save it as Autorun.inf.


Burn truecrypt.exe, truecrypt.sys, your virtual encrypted drive and the Autorun.inf file to your CD root. The uncool part? it’s read only (naturally being a CD-ROM).

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