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TrueCrypt Product Review

TrueCrypt is an open source encryption security software that offers easy configuration and efficiency - an absolute dream for the novice end-user. While it does not provide full disk encryption to protect boot sectors, it is extensible and allows you to integrate a virtual encrypted volume on the hard drive.

TrueCrypt is the perfect alternative to more complicated encryption schemes such as PKI (Public Key Infrastructure).

Features

Not only does TrueCrypt allow you to mount virtual encrypted drives, but it can also be used to encrypt entire partitions or storage devices like a flash drive, giving you a secure medium to store important files. When the partitions are not mounted, they are not visible to the operating system. They can't be identified by the TrueCrypt software or distinguished from random data.

With TrueCrypt, you have the option of creating a virtual encrypted partition or a completely encrypted hard disk. From the interface, simply select the file or device you want to implement and click the "Mount" button. You will then be prompted to enter a password from which the application will begin the process as if it's looking for a standard drive letter. All the files stored in the mounted drive can be easily encrypted or decrypted on the fly, significantly cutting back on overhead.

TrueCrypt is unique in the way it allows you to protect confidential data. You can set up two accounts with different passwords. One password can grant access to a hidden drive with no files located on it and the other can grant access to secret files. This product utilizes a number of reliable encryption algorithms including AES-256, Triple DES, Blowfish, CAST5, Serpent and Twofish. These algorithms can even be used in conjunction to achieve a higher level of security.

To make things a bit easier, TrueCrypt includes an "auto" remember password function for mounting encrypted volumes. You can also configure the program to automatically start upon booting the operating system. While these features are helpful, I wouldn't recommend using them. If someone happens to steal your computer, bypassing a username and password would be a breeze, enabling the intruder easy access to all of your data. If your system automatically boots with the password locked in, you are essentially overriding the security you are attempting to employ.

Conclusion

TrueCrypt provides excellent protection as it can also be an effective tool for data storage and restoration. The fact of it being free software makes this package even more appealing. TrueCrypt rivals several commercial solutions using proven encryption algorithms that have already been put to the test. The interface is clean and easy to understand for the beginner yet provides enough functionality for the more technically inclined as well. The advanced technology in this program will return a piece of mind to your computing environment and should integrate smoothly into your current infrastructure. The only thing that would make TrueCrypt better is the implementation of full disk encryption. As competition in the free security software industry heats up, I wouldn't be surprised to see this feature in the very near future.

 

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