I'm going to show you how to create a secure usb data safe that you can use to store data securely while on the go or even locally. Secure means it is encrypted by a password that you select. This makes the data inaccessible to anyone without proper authentication, and all attackers see when they analyze the data on disk is a random mess that does not provide them with clues about the files hosted in the safe. This method is also working with other removable media such as zip drives and hard disks.
There are some prerequisites that have to be met: You need of course the software that makes all of this possible - True Crypt. You also need a mobile device and administrators privileges on the computer you intend to run True Crypt on to decrypt the data on the device - which means that this setup won't work if you intend to use it on e.g. public computers or computers where you have no elevated privileges.
Update: The only exception to the rule is if an admin has installed True Crypt on the system. If that is the case, non-administrators can use the software to mount data containers on the system.
Once downloaded and installed you select Tools > Traveler Disk Setup from the menu. Browse to the volume that you want to use for this, make sure you select the right one. Don't change any of the other settings and click on the create button to prepare the device for traveler mode. Some True-Crypt files are copied to the mobile device and can be run from there whenever you connect the device to the computer.
We are of course not done yet. You need to create the encrypted part on the device that will hold all the files that you want to protect.
Congratulations, you have created a secure container on the selected device. If you take a look in Windows Explorer you see the new file in the location. This is your container and it should have the file size you selected during setup.
Using this is now pretty simple. Start True Crypt, click on Select File in the menu and pick the container file that you have created. Select Mount now in the main menu and enter the password when you are asked for it. If you enter the correct password, you have successfully mounted the container and can access its files on the system.
You can now use all file operations including copying, editing or loading files. When you are done, dismount the container again so that no one can access the contents anymore.
Please be advised that it may be possible to find out if someone used True Crypt on a computer by examining the Registry or the list of recently opened documents and files. Nevertheless you should be pretty safe if for example you are the only user on that computer and just want to make sure your personal data is safely stored.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.