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UScitizen's avatar

What is the best way to encrypt a USB flash drive?

Asked by UScitizen (4273points) April 11th, 2010

I need to travel with data on a USB drive. I would like to encypt it with a self contained app. I need to be able to decrypt and work with the data quickly on any windows machine, then encrypt. I need to do this on machines that do not have the encryption app installed. Any ideas?

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10 Answers

DarkScribe's avatar

Buy yourself a hardware encrypted flash drive. Much safer that way.

mrentropy's avatar

Hardware encrypted is definitely the way to go. If you can’t do that then you could use the portable version of TrueCrypt but you’ll still need to have administrator rights on the machine (I think).

dpworkin's avatar

True Crypt is a great app, and PGP ain’t chopped liver.

mrentropy's avatar

Yeah, I forgot about PGP. TC popped into my head first because it creates an encrypted virtual drive so you don’t have to decrypt the files and then re-encrypt them when you’re done. Plus, if enemy spies spot you then you can yank the USB drive out (to jump out a window or climb down a wall or whatever) and it’ll stay encrypted if you get caught. I don’t remember if PGP does that.

UScitizen's avatar

Would PGP work as a stand alone app on the USB drive?

Buttonstc's avatar

@mrentropy

Have you been watching a lot of “Burn Notice” lately ?

:D

You seem to be picking up on Michael Weston’s tricks of the trade. But did that episode indicate which encryption he was using on the thumb drive?

mrentropy's avatar

@Buttonstc I watch it when it hits my Hulu queue, but I don’t really watch it because I watch it at work. I don’t remember any episode where he was using a thumb drive. I wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t mention the encryption, though, because TV and movies rarely get anything right when dealing with computers.

UScitizen's avatar

I’ve been working with TrueCrypt for two days now. It was an excellent suggestion. TY

Buttonstc's avatar

@mrentropy

That’s such a funny coincidence then because there was an episode where he downloaded stuff onto a thumb drive with seconds to spare and then promptly jumped out the window, sliding down a pole and landing on an awning and finally safely on the ground.

From your description about what hypothetical spies could do, I thought surely you must have seen this particular episode :)

mrentropy's avatar

@Buttonstc As far as I know, I’ve seen them all. I don’t remember seeing it but it’s possible it got imprinted onto the subconscious.

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