Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Stop Being Stupid; It's Free: Hard Disk Encryption

I have to call your attention to this great article by Marcus Ranum. If you don't know who Marcus is, he's the Chief of Security for Tenable Network Security, the company that makes Nessus and NeWT. He is the author of a number of thought-provoking articles on computer security. He also has some entertaining items on his site, including a Computer Security Calendar.

Now that I have filled you in on the author, let me tell you about the article. It's about how easy (and free) it is to set up disk encryption on your computer using a product called TrueCrypt.

Stop Being Stupid; It's Free

I'm not sure why I've been so cavalier about my data since then, but to tell you the truth I've never bothered with hard disk encryption, personally. I think part of it was that I didn't particularly care if anyone got my data, because I like to live an open life, but it's been slowly sinking in that there's no sense making life easy for the bad guys. If I can rob some phisher, hacker, or spammer of a moment's pleasure at little cost to myself, that seems like a worthy goal.

After a few days of researching I stumbled across a thing called TrueCrypt. It meets a lot of my requirements, namely:

  • Free
  • Uses recognizable and known encryption algorithms
  • Works sensibly with a container file that can be treated as external data (i.e.: backed up to tape entire)
  • Source code available
  • No adware or "wouldn't you like to buy me now?" bullshit
  • Small footprint

Now, it's not as if I'm going to go through and review the entire source code of the engine but I like the fact that it's being developed openly and (as far as I can tell) is part of a project that is not socially or financially beholden to anyone.

A Nice Surprise

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