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Risk

2/6/2008
07:21 PM
George V. Hulme
George V. Hulme
Commentary
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Free Encryption For All

Sure, you can keep your files secure with BitLocker, available for certain versions of Vista. And Mac users have FileVault, which is free with Mac OS X. Personally, I like TrueCrypt. Here's why.

Sure, you can keep your files secure with BitLocker, available for certain versions of Vista. And Mac users have FileVault, which is free with Mac OS X. Personally, I like TrueCrypt. Here's why.Just yesterday, the TrueCrypt Foundation released the latest edition of its free, open source, disk encryption software, TrueCrypt 5.0. While it's a good idea to encrypt all of your sensitive data on your desktop PC, it's a great idea for notebook-toting road warriors. Fact is, any disk encryption is better than no disk encryption. And it's hard to argue with crypto built into the operating system, such as is the case with Mac OS X's FileVault. For Windows users, you have to have the more expensive Visa Ultimate or Vista Enterprise to get BitLocker as part of the OS. First, FileVault falls short on some performance areas. It seems to slow down my machine, and it takes forever to shut down whenever you select to recover some of the dynamic disk space it uses. That said, it does a great job at protecting files you place in the home directory.

When it comes to BitLocker, like the fact that it locks down everything on the entire disk, not just the files in your user directories. But it can be a chore setting up. You not only have to partition your drive. You have to have USB storage to store your keys for use at every boot. If you lose your keys, you lose access. Yikes.

Since I want full drive encryption, and don't want to have to carry around a USB fob (that I'd inevitably lose), I'm switching to TrueCrypt. Not only for my Windows systems, but for my MacBook Pro as well. There's also a Linux version. All you need to do to use TrueCrypt is remember the password to decrypt the drive.

 

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