Secure Your Computer, Part 3: Encrypt Your HDD/SSD to Prevent Data Theft

Encrypt Your HDD/SSD to Prevent Data Theft

Welcome to Part 3 in my series on protecting your computer from prying eyes (Part 1, Part 2). In today's segment, we will be going over drive encryption using the TrueCrypt program on Windows OS. Drive encryption is a technique that masks your data with a cryptographic function. The encryption header stores the password that you have entered for the archive, which allows the data to be reversed and read from. Encrypted data is safe from anyone who wants to read it, other than people with the password. As long as the password is strong enough, the data can never be read, thus, it is protected.

Encryption can exist on a whole hard drive, or just a partition. TrueCrypt even allows you to use it to create encrypted containers that can store files in them.

In today's Null Byte, we are going to be using Windows and TrueCrypt to encrypt our data. This is useful for a number of reasons; keeping data private, negating negative side-effects of having data stolen, viruses/malware can't read your files, and more. This protects all of your data, regardless of circumstances.

Let's get started.

Requirements

  • Minimal computer literacy
  • Admin privileges
  • Windows OS

Warning

  • If you edit partition sizes, you may lose data (not required).

Step 1 Download & Install TrueCrypt

First we need to install the TrueCrypt software.

  1. Download TrueCrypt here.
  2. Navigate to the Downloads directory.
  3. Double-click the installer.
  4. Click Next > Next > Install.

Step 2 Encrypt a Drive or Partition

Follow along with me in this vTutorial on my quest to encrypt my Virtual Machine's "HDD".

For more Null Byte action, follow me on Twitter and join the IRC. You can also start some chatter in the forums!

Image via Computer Security Topics

7 Comments

On Gnu/Linux the LvM2 File Manager handles Transparent Encryption @ AES-256+SHA-512+Whirlpool, true-crypt is just an added bonus.

This is great stuff. Excellent tutorial.

I have not tried it on Win7 yet. I will today. Anyone tried or had any issues?

I am almost ready to encrypt my hdd (on win7) , but am procrastinating it until bedtime because I am not sure how long it will take to wipe any residual unencrypted data or such. Has gone smoothly thus far. Thanks for this series, I am really liking them!

Is this security method cause slowdowns in reading/writing files in the HDD?

Gizelle:

Any time you encrypt data, it will slow down reading and writing data. In this case, the difference in speed is almost imperceptible.

OTE

i open up truecrypt but all get under settings for options is, default key, files and security tokens?

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