Monday, November 20, 2006

Cross-platform encryption

I want to save digital copies of important documents on a USB stick, but want to secure them against unauthorized access if the drive gets into the wrong hands, because it would be an identity thief's wet dream. The stick will be part of my household emergency kit.

Today I discovered jFileCrypt, a cross-platform encryption/decryption tool written in Java, and which can run on any platform with Java 5. Aside from the fact that it's free (GPL) software, being platform-independent is what I really find attactive. JFileCrypt supports Blowfish so the resulting encrypted file should be secure.

Alternatives include Mac OS X's built-in ability to create encrypted disk images and GPG. Unfortunately, an ecrypted Mac disk image isn't cross platform, and GPG can be confusing, although I've been playing around with it and I'm getting a better understanding of it. For Windows and Linux users, TrueCrypt looks like a good alternative.

Ideally, I'd like to have an ~500 MB encrypted file or folder on a 1 GB USB drive. On the unencrypted portion I'll keep a copy of the encryption utility so that if necessary, I can decrypt the information even if I don't have access to one of my computers. The password I'll be using is long, non-obvious, and has zero significance to anyone other than me.

If any of my readers have suggestions for cross-platform encryption software that would be suitable for this application, please post them as a comment.

(This will be crossposted to my Survial & Emergency Preparedness blog, but this blog gets more traffic so I'm posting it here first.)


Anonymous said...

I have been on the same hunt for the last few days and it has been much more difficult than I had previously imagined to find some full featured open source cross platform software that suits my particular security needs. I swear that wasn't sarcastic, just a mouthful. Anyway, the best thing I've found so far is Kremlin 3.0 which incorporates all the best algorithms and easy cross platform integration. It includes a secure delete option to overwrite your memory multiple times and implements a convenient addition to the context menu. You even get a free trial. The only problem I have is that the 30 day trial is limited to the weakest encryption algorithm called NewDES. All other options are unavailable until you buy, which I would consider for $35 but for the fact that the buy now link whisks you off to a page that mumbles something about another software reseller company. A dead end. I searched the site for half an hour, nothing. No mention of Kremlin 3.0 at all. I have attempted to contact the author of the software and await a reply. If you care to try it out, the link is but my best guess is that the project has sadly been abandoned. Good luck!

BitTube said...

I have been a long time user of TrueCrypt for Windows, recently version 5 was released and it now includes Mac osx versions for Intel and Power PC. I have written a step by step tutorial on how you can use a TrueCrypt volume across windows and Mac. How to create a free cross platform Encrypted drive.