Ottawa PC Users' Group, Inc.
|For a number of
years I used TrueCrypt, an open-source encryption
utility, to store a number of individual files in
an encrypted container (folder). However, in
2014, the programs developers abruptly
indicated that they would no longer support the
software and suggested that users should switch
to Microsofts BitLocker product.
Now, I had several issues with this solution. Firstly, BitLocker is only available in certain editions of Windows typically the ultimate type versions and, of course, not for any version of Windows that I was using. Secondly, BitLocker is a whole-disk encryption tool and I only needed to encrypt a small number of files in a single folder. Finally, BitLocker is a Windows product and so wont run on any other platform notably Linux.
There are varying opinions on the Internet as to whether or not users can, or should, continue to use TrueCrypt. Some assert that the last available version of the software remains a viable option, while others suggest that there are flaws in TrueCrypt. Given that the program has essentially been abandoned, perhaps the prudent course of action is to seek out an encryption utility that is under active development
One likely successor is actually a fork of the original TrueCrypt program. VeraCrypt has been produced, and is currently being maintained, by IDRIX, a French software encryption organization.
Because VeraCrypt is a forked product, its features and operations are very similar to its parent. In particular, versions are available for both Windows and Linux which satisfies one of my specific requirements. In addition, web-based reports indicate that the software bugs identified in TrueCrypt have been patched in the current release of VeraCrypt so the new program has no known deficiencies.
Downloading and installing the Windows version of VeraCrypt was no problem. However, accessing my secure folder that had been previously encrypted with TrueCrypt required some special treatment.
VeraCrypt running, I needed to click on the
Select File button and browse for my
original TrueCrypt folder. Next up was clicking
on the Volume Tools button, selecting
"Change Volume Password", and checking
the box labelled "TrueCrypt Mode" (see
screenshot). Finally, I had to enter the old
password for the encrypted folder, and the new
password (in duplicate). For my purposes, I made
the new password the same as the old
password since all I was really doing was
accessing the container in TrueCrypt format and
converting it to VeraCrypt format.
While, as noted, most of Veracrypts
features are very similar to those of TrueCrypt,
one thing that is different in both the Windows
and Linux versions is the time required for the
program to load. This is illustrated by the
start-up message: "This process may take a
long time and VeraCrypt may seem
unresponsive". It appears that some changes
have been made to the hashing algorithms in order
to enhance security and this has resulted in an
initial delay (of perhaps 15 seconds).
Note to Linux users:
Copyright and Usage
Ottawa Personal Computer Users' Group (OPCUG), Inc.
3 Thatcher Street, Ottawa, ON K2G 1S6
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