What's the best software for encryption?
March 31, 2006 1:45 PM   Subscribe

What is the best software program for encrypting certain folders on an external hard drive.

I have a new 300GB drive and want to encrypt only certain files and folders.
posted by turbanhead to Computers & Internet (12 answers total)
What sort of OS will you be using this with or does it have to be platform neutral?
posted by unixrat at 1:52 PM on March 31, 2006

The Mac's own File Vault works very well.
posted by TheRaven at 1:56 PM on March 31, 2006

posted by TheFeatheredMullet at 1:57 PM on March 31, 2006

TrueCrypt works well for this kind of thing, if you're in a PC environment.
posted by gwenzel at 2:11 PM on March 31, 2006

Clarification: By "PC" I mean "Windows or Linux".
posted by gwenzel at 2:11 PM on March 31, 2006

you may be aware of this, but i believe that laws are starting to be passed that make it illegal not to reveal keys to encrypted data. if this concerns you, you may want to use deniable encryption. in that case, i would recommend truecrypt and add that you should read the instructions very carefully.

i have used truecrypt myself and it has not given me any problems. however, i encrypt whole partitions and haven't used the deniable encryption part (of course, i would say that anyway... :o) and haven't checked the code or tested it in any way.
posted by andrew cooke at 2:49 PM on March 31, 2006

arrgh. got my terms mixed up. you want plausible deniability. sorry.
posted by andrew cooke at 2:50 PM on March 31, 2006

bleagh. i give up. the info is in teh first link, but the correct name is the second. afaik. basically - there are nested keys and no-one can prove when you have given them all.
posted by andrew cooke at 2:52 PM on March 31, 2006


From their website:

GnuPG is the GNU project's complete and free implementation of the OpenPGP standard as defined by RFC2440 . GnuPG allows to encrypt and sign your data and communcation, features a versatile key managment system as well as access modules for all kind of public key directories. GnuPG, also known as GPG, is a command line tool with features for easy integration with other applications. A wealth of frontend applications and libraries are available.

Free and open software for the win.
posted by patr1ck at 3:22 PM on March 31, 2006

Windows does have a transperant encryption engine built in, that lets you encrypt certan folders on the fly, in a way that lets every program run and access the data.

It's a little risky though, because if you lose your certificates (like if your windows install gets hosed), then you won't be able to ever recover the data. In Windows XP Just highlight a folder, and hit ALT+ENTER, then ALT+D then ALT+E to enable encryption on that folder (then hit ENTER, and ENTER again). When you're not logged into the machine as yourself no one will be able to read the files (in theory)
posted by delmoi at 4:44 PM on March 31, 2006

GPG won't let you encrypt folders and access them transparently, though. You'll have to encrypt and decrypt individual files on demand. (Unless there's some extension thingy I don't know about.)
posted by mendel at 5:09 PM on March 31, 2006

For reference, since someone mentioned FileVault in Mac OS X:

If you just need to encrypt a few folders, a regular encrypted disk image will do just fine. No need to encrypt your entire home directory. AES-128 images make great little data strongboxes. :-)
posted by Mikey-San at 2:37 AM on April 1, 2006

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