Ubuntu, Windows and Data Encryption

17/10/2009 at 10:25 am Plaats een reactie

One of the new features of Windows 7 is a feature called Bitlocker. Essentially, it is intended to allow encryption for sensitive data on hard drives, thumb drives, etcetera. By the way, this feature was also available in Windows Vista. The difference here is that Bitlocker in Windows 7 does not necessarily need a specific hardware feature called TPM (Trusted Platform Module): a  chip on the motherboard that would store the unlock key to the data. Now what about Ubuntu and other Linux distributions, or even: what about Windows XP? Would there be a free Open Source software that allows encryption and decryption of sensitive data, e.g. for a thumb drive? I just googled for it, and stumbled upon a very fine, Open Source piece of software that does the job for Linux, Vista and Mac! Have a look at TrueCrypt. You will find the software here. Documentation for the software on the site is absolutely excellent, including some quick start information. For Ubuntu, a very good installation tutorial can be found here.

And does it work? Well, as far as I can see, it really does it’s job very well. I did the following test: I wanted to secure part of a thumb drive, to store sensitive information on it, and to protect that part of the drive with a password – and to be able to open that part of the drive when necessary. Well, the only thing I can say is: the software just does a very fine job. For Ubuntu users, just one small thing to remember: depending on your Ubuntu settings, when mounting the drive with the Truecrypt software, remember that not only Truecrypt will ask your Truecrypt password, but that, since you are mounting a drive, you will have to enter a second password  as well, which is your superuser (root) password. The first time after mounting your encrypted location, and when dismounting it, it will take a couple of minutes. The next time when mounting and dismounting, it takes just one or two seconds. Have fun!

truecrypt

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