29 Apr 2009

Easily protect your USB pen drive data

If you’re like me, you always carry a pen drive in your key chain. My pen drive contains some utilities, pictures and sometimes sensible business information. For example, sometimes I grab a database backup from a customer database to do some work. This database contains private medical data so if I loose my pen drive and someone exposes that data I could be in great trouble.

Fortunately, some time ago I discovered a great Open Source project called TrueCrypt. It creates a container, which is just a encrypted file, that can be mounted as a virtual drive. This way, once you’ve mounted the file, you access your files as usual from the new drive. It even allows other apps to work seamlessly. So for example if you open a video with Windows Media, the file is decrypted on the fly as WM requests more data.

Besides this, the best feature to me is that it doesn’t requires to be installed, so when you plug in your USB drive in an insecure computer, you can launch TrueCrypt from your pen drive, mount the file and start using it without installing anything in the computer. Truecrypt doesn’t writes temporal data to the hard drive, everything is done in RAM.

It has many more features like encrypting a whole drive, including the system drive, but I have not used them yet.

Main TrueCrypt Window