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-   -   The Best Way to "hide" your files/folders (http://www.go4expert.com/articles/hide-files-folders-t17738/)

SaswatPadhi 29May2009 14:17

The Best Way to "hide" your files/folders
 

Introduction



Before writing this article, I searched the forum for existence of similar articles and found none, so I thought to share this with you all. I have seen many software that offer various ways to hide your files, but none of them was as satisfactory for me as the one I'm about to mention. That's TrueCrypt.

Background



TrueCrypt is a wonderful software which offers "ON-THE-FLY" encryption. Best of all, it's FREE and open-source !

As TrueCrypt.org mentions, the main features of TrueCrypt are :
  • Creates a virtual encrypted disk within a file and mounts it as a real disk.
  • Encrypts an entire partition or storage device such as USB flash drive or hard drive.
  • Encrypts a partition or drive where Windows is installed.
  • Encryption is automatic, real-time (on-the-fly) and transparent.
  • Provides plausible deniability, in case an adversary forces you to reveal the password:
    Hidden volume (steganography) and hidden operating system.
  • Encryption algorithms: AES-256, Serpent, and Twofish. Mode of operation: XTS.
You can download it for free from : http://www.truecrypt.org/downloads

Using TrueCrypt to hide your files



Now, let me show you how you can hide your files with TrueCrypt.
[ I will tell how to create simple encrypted volumes here. I won't cover Hidden volume/Hidden OS creation. I may cover them in subsequent parts, or you may refer TrueCrypt manual ]

Download and install TrueCrypt 6.2. Open TrueCrypt.exe and then follow the steps below :

STEP 1 : Create a TrueCrypt Volume



http://www.go4expert.com/images/arti...pt/tcstep1.jpg
Step 1 : Create a new TrueCrypt Volume.
  • Open TrueCrypt.exe
  • Click "Create Volume".
http://www.go4expert.com/images/arti...t/tcstep11.jpg
Step 1.1 : Create encrypted file container.
  • Select the highlighted option
  • Click "Next".
http://www.go4expert.com/images/arti...t/tcstep12.jpg
Step 1.2 : Select volume type.
  • Select Standard Volume.
  • Click "Next".
http://www.go4expert.com/images/arti...t/tcstep13.jpg
Step 1.3 : Enter the location of volume.
  • Enter Path to any file which will act as a volume. ( Example shows "C:\Backup", file Extension is not necessary )
  • Click "Next".
http://www.go4expert.com/images/arti...t/tcstep14.jpg
Step 1.4 : Select Encryption Options.
  • I recomment leaving the encryption algorithm as AES because
    • AES is fastest among available options.
    • Although AES 256 is weakest among the available options, it is still very hard to crack.
  • Select any hash Algo.
  • Click "Next".
http://www.go4expert.com/images/arti...t/tcstep15.jpg
Step 1.5 : Select Volume size.
  • I have entered size as 6 GB, enter any size you want.
  • Click "Next".
http://www.go4expert.com/images/arti...t/tcstep16.jpg
Step 1.6 : Enter the password that will protect the volume.
Warning :
  • I recommend not to use keyfiles because if you loose them or if the content is changed slightly your whole volume will become useless.
  • If you loose your key then you are doomed ! No one can recover your volume.

http://www.go4expert.com/images/arti...t/tcstep17.jpg
Step 1.7 : Format !
  • Choose FAT or NTFS File system.
  • Move your mouse inside the window for about a minute.
  • Click Format.
http://www.go4expert.com/images/arti...t/tcstep18.jpg
Step 1.8 : Done !
  • After formating is done click OK
  • Then Click Exit

Now you have successfully created a TrueCrypt volume.

STEP 2 : Mounting the volume



You can use a truecrypt volume like any other disk. You can store files, delete them, defragment it, clean it etc.. But before gaining access to the disk, you must mount it like this :

http://www.go4expert.com/images/arti...pt/tcstep2.jpg
Step 2 : Mounting the volume.
  • Open TrueCrypt.exe
  • Click "Select File"
  • Select the file and click "Open"
http://www.go4expert.com/images/arti...t/tcstep21.jpg
Step 2.1 : Select the Drive Letter.

http://www.go4expert.com/images/arti...t/tcstep22.jpg
Step 2.2 : Password
  • Enter the correct password for your volume and it will be mounted successfully and will be shown in the Windows Explorer list

STEP 3 : Using the volume



Now that the volume is mounted, you can check it in My Computer :

http://www.go4expert.com/images/arti...ypt/mycomp.jpg

You can start using it right away. Put all your secret stuff into it. Copying into a TrueCrypt encrypted volume will be slower because files are encrypted in real-time.

STEP 4 : Dismounting the volume



When you are done using the volume, you should dismount it so that no-one else can gain access to the volume :

http://www.go4expert.com/images/arti...pt/tcstep4.jpg
Step 4 : Dismounting the volume
  • Simply select the drive letter ( here Z: ), and click Dismount.
  • To Dismount all mounted volumes, Click "Dismount All".

Advantages of TrueCrypt

  • Your data is safely hidden inside your volume.
  • Your volume is password protected !
  • Data is not just written, but is encrypted. So, if anyone opens your volume in a hex-editor or anything like that, he won't be able to make anything out of it.
  • There is no way to differentiate a TrueCrypt volume from an ordinary file. Any file say "Report.doc" can also be used as a TrueCrypt volume. People might doubt the exceptionally high file size though.
  • You can also create hidden volumes inside TrueCrypt volumes so that even if you are forced to reveal the password by someone, your files can still be protected inside hidden volume.
NEVER LOSE THE VOLUME PASSWORD / KEY-FILE, ELSE YOUR VOLUME WILL BE COMPLETELY USELESS.

Thanx all for reading this.

Bye and take care.

nimesh 30May2009 02:11

Re: The Best Way to "hide" your files/folders
 
Nice article.
I guess everyone might be in search of this software :) to protect their personal files

SaswatPadhi 30May2009 06:14

Re: The Best Way to "hide" your files/folders
 
Thanx, glad to know that you liked it :biggrin:

pradeep 1Jun2009 14:07

Re: The Best Way to "hide" your files/folders
 
Nice article!

SaswatPadhi 1Jun2009 14:15

Re: The Best Way to "hide" your files/folders
 
Thanx. :happy:

I just forgot to mention something :

You may use TrueCrypt in portable mode, so as to avoid any one suspecting you of using it.

shabbir 3Jun2009 09:26

Re: The Best Way to "hide" your files/folders
 
Nomination this Article for Article of the month - May 2009

Alex1239 5Jun2009 13:54

Re: The Best Way to "hide" your files/folders
 
Nice article.... thnks a lot...

harshit 10Jun2009 13:31

Re: The Best Way to "hide" your files/folders
 
great way....

thanx

SaswatPadhi 10Jun2009 13:36

Re: The Best Way to "hide" your files/folders
 
If you like it, please vote for it here : Article of the month - May 2009

saturn 10Jun2009 14:18

Re: The Best Way to "hide" your files/folders
 
Great article:)


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