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How Do I Protect Data on a Flash Disk

December 06, 2011  |  Difficulty: Easy

how to use TrueCrypt®, an open source data security application

The loss of data carries with it the risk of abuse, which may be followed by financial or privacy troubles. As with all modern technology, USB flash drives are made smaller and thinner every day, and more recently they have been made to look like other accessories, such as a pen. An item like this can easily be lost or stolen. Users carrying sensitive data on their portable devices can protect their data by using encryption software. This article describes how to use TrueCrypt®, an open source data security application than can be used to easily encrypt and protect the data on your USB flash disk.

Installation instructions:

  1. Open your Internet browser and go to the TrueCrypt® website.
  2. Click on the “Downloads” section on the top navigation bar.
  3. Click on the “Download” button under your operating system version.
  4. Save the file to any location on your computer.
  5. Locate the downloaded file and run the installer by double-clicking on the file. If your operating system asks you for confirmation, click on the “Run” button.
  6. In the first dialog box, read the license terms. Tick the “I accept and agree…” radio button and click on the “Accept” button.
  7. In the next window, click the “Next” button. Choose the installation path or leave it set to the default option and click on the “Install” button. When the installation finishes, click the “OK” button.
  8. Now you can go through the beginner’s wizard. Make your choices and click on the “YES” or “NO” button.
  9. Click on the “Finish” button.

Encryption instructions:

  1. Plug your USB flash disk in to the USB port. In the TrueCrypt® application, click on the “Create Volume” button.
  2. In the wizard, choose the option: “Encrypt a non-system partition/drive.” Then, click on the “Next” button.
  3. On the next page, choose the “Standard TrueCrypt® volume” option and click on the “Next” button.
  4. Now, click on the “Select Device” option and choose the USB flash disk device. Confirm the Warning by clicking on the “OK” button. Then, click on the “Next” button.
  5. In the “Volume Creation Mode” dialog box, choose whether or not you want to format the volume. It is recommended that you choose the format option. Click the “Next” button (If a warning dialog box appears, confirm it by clicking on the “OK” button).
  6. In the encryption options, choose the “Encryption Algorithm” and the “Hash Algorithm” options (AES and SHA-512 should be sufficient). Click on the “Next” button twice.
  7. Now you must set a password. Type your password in twice and click on the “Next” button. To learn how to create a strong password, follow the steps in the article “How do I create a strong password?”
  8. In the “Volume Format” options, change the file system to “NTFS” and click on the “Format” button. If formatting the confirmation dialog boxes appear, accept them.
  9. When the process finishes and the “Volume Created” window is displayed, click on the “Next” button.
  10. Because the newly encrypted volume cannot be mounted under the original drive letter, you must choose a new one and type in the password. Then, click on the “Mount” button and close the application. Your flash drive data is now protected!

Warnings:

Each time you work with the flash drive, you must to execute the procedure described in step 10:

  1. Launch the application.
  2. Choose a drive letter.
  3. Click on the “Select device” option. Then, choose a current flash drive and click on the “OK” button.
  4. Click on the “Mount” button.
  5. Now you can work with the encrypted flash drive the same way as you do with an unprotected drive.

Software:

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