Questions

TrueCrypt - Good/Bad?

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TrueCrypt - Good/Bad?

maxpowers410
Ok so ive been playing with truecrypt today and am impressed. I was thinking of encrypting my entire system partition and my data partition... Would anyone advise me against this?
Any good or bad experiences you want to save me from?
Thanks a mill
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    OldER Mycroft

    Be under no illusion - if the TrueCrypt treatment causes you a problem (unable to access) then whatever is within the TrueCrypt environment is gone. If retrieval proves to be possible it will probably also prove to be heavily expensive, requiring professional forensic retrieval.

    WHY do you want to encrypt? If as you say, you have been "playing with truecrypt", what is it about it that impressed you? Is it how secure it is? Or is it how secure it makes it look? Or maybe how impressive it is having to enter passwords when prompted, in order to access it again?

    Consider what will happen if, having entered your required password when requested, IT DOESN'T WORK. Do you have a valid recent back-up of your entire encrypted portion? Can you resolve this problem easily without having to take out a small/medium mortgage-sized-loan to fund its retrieval?

    Do you presently employ the use of a BIOS password? A BOOT password? An ID that is password protected?

    If your answer is affirmative to all of the above - how many levels of security do you want? How many levels of security to you need? How many levels of security do you REALISTICALLY NEED?

    Have a look on Google for 'truecrypt problems':

    http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=truecrypt+problems&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-GB:official&client=firefox-a

    Check what other users have found with this open source product.

    Don't forget - if you encrypt a folder and it proves difficult to access in the future, you have only lost a folder.

    Here's a recent (still active) TR post about the problems with encryption:

    http://techrepublic.com.com/5208-6230-0.html?forumID=101&threadID=305686&messageID=3046294

    If you encrypt your entire operating system partition ...

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    husserl

    I have encrypted my C: drive on my notebook computer. Whilst I am at great pains to ensure that it is not ever left unattended, I am not perfect. I keep images of my notebook computer that I can restore in the event that there is a problem. The True Image restorable images are also password protected.. Thus far I have not experienced problems, and my research has not turned any up. They seem to be 'user problems', although unsurprisingly RAID seems to be a problem.

    In addition I carry my data on a USB drive in an encrypted Truecrypt file/volume. The passwords are extremely long and hard to break, since the data in the volumes are enough to destroy my bank and other accounts, take my life's resources apart.

    If the MOD and other government agencies had been paying enough attention they would not have had the scares that have recently been publicised.

    Portable data MUST be encrypted. There are no excuses, none.

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    OH Smeg

    Is when the people using it Do Not read and follow the Directions in the Manual and then loose their Encryption Key so their Data or HDD Contents are now useless to them and anyone else.

    Like all Encryption Software if there is a need for it and the Directions are followed and a Backup Made either Unencrypted or the Encryption Key is Backed up it works well.

    The problems come about because people Do Not RTFM Read The Friendly Manual or follow the directions in the Manual.

    This slows down the systems that it is installed on slightly so that may be an issue with some Hardware but if this type of application is required it works well. Though you need to realize that when Asked by the Authorities for your Encryption Key you have to hand it over so that they can look at the contents of your computer so from that prospective it does nothing at all to protect the Data on the HDD.

    And if the Key if Lost/Forgotten the Data is unreadable so if you need your Data don't use any form of Encryption.

    But if you just use things like this to look Cool you had better believe that your data Is Not Secure and that at some point you will loose everything when the key is Forgotten and there is No Possibility of recovering it.

    Col

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    husserl

    That seems to cover everything very nicely, except - and I forgot to mention it also - that there is such a thing as a BIOS backdoor password, and bootable CDs/USB drives with logon password crackers. I use them occasionally when I am pulling people's backsides out of the fire. It must be a fire since they tend to perspire a lot.

    There is only one way to secure things properly, and that is encryption. I understand that losing the Truecrypt password leaves you on your own. That's what the manual told me. ;->

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    md

    Simply short out the BIOS battery and the BIOS password is gone.

    You could also throw the drive in another PC avoiding the BIOS and OS issues.

  • +
    0 Votes
    OldER Mycroft

    Be under no illusion - if the TrueCrypt treatment causes you a problem (unable to access) then whatever is within the TrueCrypt environment is gone. If retrieval proves to be possible it will probably also prove to be heavily expensive, requiring professional forensic retrieval.

    WHY do you want to encrypt? If as you say, you have been "playing with truecrypt", what is it about it that impressed you? Is it how secure it is? Or is it how secure it makes it look? Or maybe how impressive it is having to enter passwords when prompted, in order to access it again?

    Consider what will happen if, having entered your required password when requested, IT DOESN'T WORK. Do you have a valid recent back-up of your entire encrypted portion? Can you resolve this problem easily without having to take out a small/medium mortgage-sized-loan to fund its retrieval?

    Do you presently employ the use of a BIOS password? A BOOT password? An ID that is password protected?

    If your answer is affirmative to all of the above - how many levels of security do you want? How many levels of security to you need? How many levels of security do you REALISTICALLY NEED?

    Have a look on Google for 'truecrypt problems':

    http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=truecrypt+problems&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-GB:official&client=firefox-a

    Check what other users have found with this open source product.

    Don't forget - if you encrypt a folder and it proves difficult to access in the future, you have only lost a folder.

    Here's a recent (still active) TR post about the problems with encryption:

    http://techrepublic.com.com/5208-6230-0.html?forumID=101&threadID=305686&messageID=3046294

    If you encrypt your entire operating system partition ...

    +
    0 Votes
    husserl

    I have encrypted my C: drive on my notebook computer. Whilst I am at great pains to ensure that it is not ever left unattended, I am not perfect. I keep images of my notebook computer that I can restore in the event that there is a problem. The True Image restorable images are also password protected.. Thus far I have not experienced problems, and my research has not turned any up. They seem to be 'user problems', although unsurprisingly RAID seems to be a problem.

    In addition I carry my data on a USB drive in an encrypted Truecrypt file/volume. The passwords are extremely long and hard to break, since the data in the volumes are enough to destroy my bank and other accounts, take my life's resources apart.

    If the MOD and other government agencies had been paying enough attention they would not have had the scares that have recently been publicised.

    Portable data MUST be encrypted. There are no excuses, none.

    +
    0 Votes
    OH Smeg

    Is when the people using it Do Not read and follow the Directions in the Manual and then loose their Encryption Key so their Data or HDD Contents are now useless to them and anyone else.

    Like all Encryption Software if there is a need for it and the Directions are followed and a Backup Made either Unencrypted or the Encryption Key is Backed up it works well.

    The problems come about because people Do Not RTFM Read The Friendly Manual or follow the directions in the Manual.

    This slows down the systems that it is installed on slightly so that may be an issue with some Hardware but if this type of application is required it works well. Though you need to realize that when Asked by the Authorities for your Encryption Key you have to hand it over so that they can look at the contents of your computer so from that prospective it does nothing at all to protect the Data on the HDD.

    And if the Key if Lost/Forgotten the Data is unreadable so if you need your Data don't use any form of Encryption.

    But if you just use things like this to look Cool you had better believe that your data Is Not Secure and that at some point you will loose everything when the key is Forgotten and there is No Possibility of recovering it.

    Col

    +
    0 Votes
    husserl

    That seems to cover everything very nicely, except - and I forgot to mention it also - that there is such a thing as a BIOS backdoor password, and bootable CDs/USB drives with logon password crackers. I use them occasionally when I am pulling people's backsides out of the fire. It must be a fire since they tend to perspire a lot.

    There is only one way to secure things properly, and that is encryption. I understand that losing the Truecrypt password leaves you on your own. That's what the manual told me. ;->

    +
    0 Votes
    md

    Simply short out the BIOS battery and the BIOS password is gone.

    You could also throw the drive in another PC avoiding the BIOS and OS issues.