IT Support 101: Encrypting your portable storage device.
A USB stick, flash drive, thumb drive, flash stick, storage USB and many more names, we know what it is. That little thing you stick at the side of your computer for that extra eight to thirty-two GB of extra space. Something you can always keep with you at all times with your key chain to keep it safe. Others use portable hard drives the same way. To store something so vital that they do not trust the same data to be physically safe in their computer.
In many cases, we have crucial documents stored within or a list of all the passwords we have. Important pictures and work documents. Legal documents in some cases. Sure we have a backup somewhere, but you need something more secure and convenient. Something physical that you can plug and access with ease.
Bitlocker is an excellent option. The only catch: You need to have Windows 10 Professional or Enterprise to convert your storage device into a device with Bitlocker installed to it. The good thing is, you do not need to have Windows 10 to open and use it. You can still mount and open it on a Mac!
It is, after all, a straightforward software but with decent encryption. We always recommend you keep the secret access key somewhere safe in case you forget your password. And yes, once you install BitLocker, you need a username and password to access the files inside. So at least you know if someone else has your device, they cannot use it in most cases of course.
Many online resources always recommend a partition within your storage device, thumb or hard. They insist that you should partition and only encrypt one partition, which allows you to install your encryption software on the primary non-encrypted partition, allowing you to run it from your storage device and DE-crypt the information that is important in the encrypted partition, which is not much different than leaving your house key under the doormat.
We always recommend that the master copy of your relevant documents somewhere safe in the cloud somewhere or a computer with no internet access. Your portable USB drive should only house critical information and should always be expendable. Meaning that if you lose the stick, you lose it, you buy another one and encrypt it all over again. That is good practice. Please adopt this measure if the information and data are that important to you.
Free Open Source: VeraCrypt
Now, of course, we never leave you with just an option. Link is the logo itself, and this is a fantastic piece of french software. Works on Windows, Mac OS and Linux. So why even bother recommending Bitlocker? Because it is easy, much more comfortable and straightforward to use if we are honest. So if you can use Bitlocker do use it. VeraCrypt is still a much better option and much more secure. In short, it is the best out there, in our opinion. It is tough to break the encryption here, and the many options are given, such as damage protection, recovery options, multiple encryption algorithms to choose.
VeraCrypt is a godsend if you are geeks like us. This is what we use. We swear by it. In fact, in the hands of a novice, this would be much better encryption than BitLocker can ever hope to be.
Is there an easier way?
Of course, there is! Would we let you down! We understand the laziness, it is real, and it is true. It sticks to our soul like a sore thumb, and sometimes we want something physical. Have a look at this fantastic solution by Toshiba. It is a USB stick with a combination lock, which turned on and activated after keying in the correct combination on the USB physically—another point to take note of, as marvellous an idea your birthday sounds. Your mobile number is much better. I was saying. Right?
We love this new combination USB drive so much; we use it. The only downside is the price. They are not cheap, but they work, and they are secure. And the great thing is, there is a good chance no one is able to break the code on these drives. So put all the information you want on it and relax. Yes, this is a way better option than all those other options we gave you. Thank you again for reading, and we hope you enjoyed yourselves today. Until next time this is IT Block saying we love you all.