TrueCrypt 6.1 is a mature security solution that not only allows users to create encrypted containers and map them into their system environments as if they were physical drives, but also permits encrypting an entire system partition or hard drive. This means that all of the data on the hard drive, including temporary files, will always be encrypted using the algorithm of your choice. TrueCrypt can be considered one of the most comprehensive and secure solutions, which is the reason why several hardware manufacturers bundle TrueCrypt with their storage products. But you don’t need to buy anything to get it: you can download the latest version for free.
Deploying and removing TrueCrypt took a few hours after downloading and installing the small package. This is a process that users can easily trigger to run overnight, and you can still use your system during the encryption or decryption process. Unlike other security solutions, TrueCrypt is system independent—so it is also available for Mac OS X and Linux—and can be deployed on top of many existing (corporate) security solutions, as long as you have administrator access to the system you intend to protect. Once encrypted, TrueCrypt uses its boot loader, which executes first when booting the PC, prompting you for the master password. A recovery disc allows system access should the boot loader be damaged.
High Protection At Acceptable Performance Impact
We found that TrueCrypt had a performance impact on several benchmarks, but the impact is not noticeable if you work with popular desktop applications, in a reasonable manner, using a single encryption algorithm. Depending on the application or benchmark, the real-time encryption/decryption may have a noticeable impact. Using a fast multi core processor and a fast system drive, preferably a Flash SSD, widens this bottleneck to an extent that makes TrueCrypt almost transparent—power users will complain, but most average users will not.
We recommend to only go for multi-level encryption if you really have scenarios making this hardcore measure necessary. In this case there is a performance impact that is more noticeable, such as when you work with multiple applications with an anti-virus tool scanning the hard drive in the background.
Battery Runtime Test Passed
Our MobileMark 07 testing was conducted with a Dell Latitude D610 and a 9-cell battery. It resulted in a 1% runtime decrease for AES and 3% for AES-Twofish-Serpent. The same percentage decreases should also apply to smaller batteries.
We recommend downloading and trying TrueCrypt even if you are not looking for a security solution. The fact that it is OpenSource and that it can be removed easily in the event that you don’t like it makes it a perfect tool to check out on the next rainy weekend. Even single encryption will literally seal your data against all common types of unauthorized access, as long as you use a strong password. Note, however, that TrueCrypt does not replace other security measures, such as using anti-virus tools or keeping your software up to date.
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