When my system crashed in the last month, I sent it to the servicing center for repair and when I returned the next day to collect the system, servicing people were watching the movie, which was stored on my hard drive. It also contained all my bank account details, e-books I purchased, lot of important documents, and approximately 50 usernames and passwords stored in Firefox using “Remember Password” option. I was lucky that it was a small service center with less-educated technicians who are just interested in copying music and movies, rather than looking at what others files the system has. But, just imagine, if it has gone into the hands of a smart tech guy who can just copy all the information and use for illegal things.
These are the steps I have taken to protect the data:
- I have been saving all the software, e-books, and important documents on an external hard drive, so that if something happens to my system, I can just disconnect the external hard drive and send the system for repair.
- Using “Use Master Password” in Firefox options. Without entering the master password while starting the Firefox, it will not show the usernames and passwords automatically. Also, taking regular backups of Firefox using FEBE.
But what about the important files that I use regularly. I cannot keep the external hard drive connected all the day. So, just wanted to create a folder that is password protected so that when I need, I just enter password and use. There are number of commercial softwares available to lock folders using passwords.
As an open-source lover, I just searched the net and found this interesting application, which does exactly the commercial folder locking or encrypting softwares do.
TrueCrypt, free open-source application for encrypting the folders or drives available for Windows, Linux, and Mac flavors. Using TrueCrypt, you can have a virtual folder or drive created using complex encryption algorithms, which is almost hack-free. Without knowing the password, no one can decrypt it and open the files.
The virtually created folders are of cross platform and can be accessed on any operating system. You can use this software to encrypt the entire USB too.
Install the software and open it. Click the “Create Volume” button. Select the drive name to assign, choose volume type, hidden or normal, volume location, algorithm, volume size, and password. That’s all, a secured folder is ready. Whenever you need to open that folder, just open the file using “Select File” option from TrueCrypt and click “Mount.” You will see a new drive appears with the drive letter you selected while creating the volume. Do your work and when you work is complete, just close the application by right clicking and choosing “Exit” on the TrueCrypt button in system tray. You can also set the option of dismounting the folder automatically at a given time in “Preferences.”
Get the TrueCrypt here: http://www.truecrypt.org/
TrueCrypt FAQ: http://www.truecrypt.org/faq.php
TrueCrypt Documentation: http://www.truecrypt.org/docs/