TrueCrypt is a great little freeware tool I’ve used on my USB flash drive for quite a while. A new version was just released that includes the following features:
- Ability to encrypt a system partition/drive (i.e. a partition/drive where Windows is installed) with pre-boot authentication (anyone who wants to gain access and use the system, read and write files, etc., needs to enter the correct password each time before the system starts). For more information, see the chapter System Encryption in the documentation. (Windows Vista/XP/2003)
- Pipelined operations increasing read/write speed by up to 100% (Windows)
- Mac OS X version
- Graphical user interface for the Linux version of TrueCrypt
- XTS mode of operation, which was designed by Phillip Rogaway in 2003 and which was recently approved as the IEEE 1619 standard for cryptographic protection of data on block-oriented storage devices. XTS is faster and more secure than LRW mode (for more information on XTS mode, see the section Modes of Operation in the documentation).Note: New volumes created by this version of TrueCrypt can be encrypted only in XTS mode. However, volumes created by previous versions of TrueCrypt can still be mounted using this version of TrueCrypt.
- SHA-512 hash algorithm (replacing SHA-1, which is no longer available when creating new volumes).Note: To re-encrypt the header of an existing volume with a header key derived using HMAC-SHA-512 (PRF), select ‘Volumes‘ > ‘Set Header Key Derivation Algorithm‘.
If you are new to TrueCrypt, start by reading the FAQ, tutorial and technical deails. Now that TrueCrypt supports pre-boot authentication, there is no reason not to use it on my laptop and other portable devices.