The need for protection of our files and personal computers (PC) against unwanted intruders is increasing at an alarming rate every day. Luckily there are free open source software programs such as TrueCrypt that allows for file encryption, and even for entire disks and volumes of information on your computer system. With this innovative software, huge chunks of documents, applications, and programs can easily be hidden from view. Users can even encrypt their entire operating system.
*** TrueCrypt discontinued in 2014. Here are some free alternatives.
Even though there are many various methods to protect your system from unwanted remote attacks, the risk still remains of potential threats from people who physically access yours system. TrueCrypt makes data unreadable unless the user of the PC has the proper key. Uninvited guests will find it difficult to determine whether a file contains pertinent data or is complete gibberish. This software is easy to install and manipulate, allowing PC owners to instantly perform encryption and decryption strategies.
TrueCrypt is designed to be easily used by the average PC user, but the extensive documentation of the software can be deemed highly technical for most. It is understandable for those who are already are well aware of the urgent needs for enhanced system protection.
TrueCrypt offers two different methods for its usage. The first option allows its users to easily encrypt a single document or a massive volume of information on existing drives. The amount of space required will depend on the amount of information for encryption. It is possible to scramble an individual file, or users can hide large portions and folders of information on their PCs. Once the encrypted data has been created, the information can be easily mounted just as you would any other type of Windows disk, allowing the user to read and write directly while also transparently process needed data. The encrypted files are useless to those who do not possess the unique password.
The second mode of operation is designed for a full system file encryption. This can be used to scramble the totality of information on your PC. By encrypting your entire system as a unit, this provides enhanced protection against unwanted intruders by scrambling all types of headers and other online activity that Windows would normally store without your consent or knowledge. Information such as temp files and restore points are hidden from view. This also means that your computer cannot be rebooted should you forget your unique password information. TrueCrypt will allow you to create a backup CD in cases where recovery is needed due to corrupted encrypted disks, but in order for the CD to work, the password is still required. There is no way to reset this login information.
A unique feature of the TrueCrypt software is that it provides the remarkable abilities to create alternative hidden volumes of information which can be useful for those who fear being forced to reveal these needed passwords and keys. A second key can be applied to the same volume of information that will secretly direct the user to reveal a completely different set of files and data (steganography). Most users will require the storage space of only 40 GB in order to effectively implement and install the TrueCrypt file encryption software. This seems a very small price to pay for enhanced system protection and security.