Two great encryption tools

November 17th, 2008 by John Leave a reply »

If you’re serious about protecting your data, whether your passwords or whole folders (or even drives), you can’t go wrong with two Windows-based utilities: TrueCrypt and KeePass.

TrueCrypt enables you to encrypt selected folders or even whole drives (including local hard drives, USB sticks, etc) with military-grade encryption (AES, Blowfish, Twofish, and many more). Encrypting the file/folder/drive initially sets up the environment for password-based secure storage.

Not long ago, I encrypted a USB stick I had. Not long after encrypting the whole stick, I lost it. (<sigh>) Although I was out the few dollars the USB drive cost, I don’t have to worry about the data — the contents are safe and locked. (In the meantime, I’ve moved to using data-sharing programs like dropbox and Syncplicity for data storage/transfer, so I won’t have to worry about losing another USB stick!)

If you just want to keep track of your passwords, PINs, or other sensitive information, I’ve found KeePass (www.keepass.info) to be all I need. As a user of Bruce Schneier‘s Password Safe, I was happy with the security, but found the user interface too limiting. I tried out other tools like Password Depot (by AceBit software), but found KeePass easier to use and more flexible. The user interface is very straightforward but robust.

One of the best features (available only in the beta 2.x version) is the remote file store/load functionality. You can store your password file on another location (including FTP) and download the file, edit it locally, and upload the updated version. When combined with a key file and strong password, you can’t beat it. (I know… you could use dropbox/Syncplicity, but I just can’t bring myself to trust those services with my password file.)

Give these tools a try!

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