TrueCrypt 5.1 - Released March 10th, 2008
After listening to a podcast by Steve Gibson and Leo Laporte, I decided to put my two cents in. They both do "Security Now" on TWIT's website and while most podcasts are worth listening to, the most recent one was a home run for anyone concerned about securing their data. I am specifically referring to laptop users, although anyone who has sensitive data on a computer would definitely benefit from this FREE program. It isn't often that a great software program comes along worth mentioning, especially a free open source program such as TrueCrypt 5.0a (released February 12th, 2008).
As a side note, I have been using TrueCrypt for a number of years now and I have always found it an amazing program. So, when the designers of the software released their latest offering that included whole drive encryption, I was estatic to say the least! In the past, if you had sensitive data you wanted to protect from prying eyes, you would create a volume (container) to store that information. Once you "mounted" it using your password, Windows would recognize it as a drive. Creating and setting this up was not for the average person in my opinion and as a consequence this was hard to pass on to someone else that was less then tech savy. Although I have not encrypted a whole drive yet (will do so and let you know about it), the process is supposed to be as easy as installing any new software program.
As I mentioned at the start, this is for anyone who uses a laptop and uses it for more then email and browsing the Internet! I am sure you have heard of laptops being stolen (especially government laptops) and sensitive data uncovered. Enter TrueCrypt! Heres how it works. Once you have downloaded it and installed it you can begin with the encryption of your data. If you choose to encrypt your whole drive, you will be walked through the process and you will create a good password. Once done, upon booting up your computer you will be asked this password, otherwise you will not be able to boot into windows. All the data on your hard drive will be random data uses AES 256 bit encryption (if that is what you chose). Once you have booted back into your Windows Environment, all data will decrypt on the fly. Anyway, should your laptop ever get stolen, there is no way without the password that someone can get to your data.
Of course, I have simplfied everything and I would suggest for more information on TrueCrypt to visit their site and/or listen to the Security Podcast episode 133.
Want to know more, contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org