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STORAGE DEVICES

TrueCrypt: Free, On-the-Fly Disk Encryption
By: Barzan "Tony" Antal
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    2009-09-15

    Table of Contents:
  • TrueCrypt: Free, On-the-Fly Disk Encryption
  • Features, How it Works
  • Performance, Security
  • Final Thoughts

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    TrueCrypt: Free, On-the-Fly Disk Encryption


    (Page 1 of 4 )

    We often overestimate the security of hardware. This may not apply to those that use their computers just for entertainment purposes. But in the case of companies, there are dozens -- if not hundreds -- of notebooks that are given to employees. It goes without saying that the data is and should stay confidential. And the harsh truth is that too many laptops are stolen or lost. Disk encryption modalities are a must!

    As always, we prefer open source software whenever possible, since cutting down unnecessary licensing costs each time it's applicable and practical to do so is appreciated everywhere-from small firms up to multinational giants. This is especially true if you're an independent consultant/contractor. In this article we will discuss and look into probably the best open source, free, on-the-fly disk encryption suite: TrueCrypt.

    Should you be proposing an open-source solution to your management decision-makers, chances are that one (or more) of the following questions will be raised: how updated is the project and how certain is the future of the project, how many people are already using it, what are their feedback, how thoroughly is the application documented and perhaps whether there are support forums.

    Over the years, the TrueCrypt Foundation has earned a dominant position for being able to provide one of the best suites of cross-platform encryption software. The first version was launched back in early 2004. Since then, there have been smaller releases with bug fixes and new features introduced every few months, and at least once a year the foundation offers one major release (accompanied with an increased version number).

    At the time of writing this article the latest version was released June 15, 2009 and it's TrueCrypt v6.2a. The developers are doing amazing work and are dedicated to keeping this project going. They are responsive to feedback. In addition, the project has fairly active support forums. And there is plenty of documentation everywhere. No one wants to get into a solution that's poorly  documented and the project is dead.

    Having said this, it's time to see what the application offers. We cannot go into a completely in-depth review, but just try to touch on those characteristics that really make it well worth the time investment required for implementation. It is better safe than sorry, and based on our benchmarks and others', as well as what the community says, encrypted disks should not keep someone from being productive.

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