Saturday, December 19, 2009

Securing a USB stick

USB sticks, we all put our vital information on it as they're extremely handy to take with you. Downside is that because they're so small, there's a tendency to lose them. Making sure others can't read your private information in case you lose it is a must for most people (like me). Therefor I had a look into encryption techniques:

Truecrypt is a well known free encryption program, that features a portable mode for USB sticks. This will autorun the truecrypt program and after supplying the password will mount your USB stick on a driveletter of your choosing. Regrettably you have to be an administrator on the machine for this too work.

Another program which almost does the same is Omziff. This is also a free portable program that can encrypt files, and can also split files or secure erase them. Download link to the latest version: Omziff 3.3 download. For Omziff you don't need to be an administrator, so you can take your stick anywhere and it will work (as long as it's a windows machine, and your company security isn't done by a paranoid IT guy).

Since Windows Vista, Microsoft has introduced the Bitlocker technology by which you can encrypt drives. New in Windows 7 is BitlockerToGo which, like Truecrypt, can encrypt your drive and include a mounting tool in the unencrypted part of the drive. This will then automatically ask for a password upon insertion of the stick in any PC with Windows 7. As the guys from made an excellent video on how to set this up, i don't have to reinvent the wheel: Videolink.

Of course there will be many other tools to do the same as the aforementioned programs. But the ones I discussed in the article should give you a good head start on how to make sure nobody sees what's on your usb stick.

EDIT: various typo's fixed
EDIT: added picture

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