TrueCrypt was a popular source available software for on-the-fly encryption. Many users relied on TrueCrypt as a secure file or full disk encryption solution but in May 2014, the project was suddenly discontinued without major explanation. While development of TrueCrypt was stopped and many people suspected about the circumstances behind its demise, it was independently audited and there were no significant issues found. Finding a secure alternative to TrueCrypt can be challenging but there are some open source encryption options that deserve to be considered.
When TrueCrypt was withdrawn, many users were left wondering what was the reason behind it and they had to look for alternatives to replace it. One of the options available is VeraCrypt, which is a fork of TrueCrypt that addresses many of its security issues and vulnerabilities. Since it is still under development, we can expect further improvements and fixes over time. One thing to consider is that while VeraCrypt is a fork of TrueCrypt, it doesn’t mean that it is endorsed by the team behind TrueCrypt. In fact, TrueCrypt was only source available and not fully open source, which means that the code was available for inspection but developers were against further development of forking.
However, it is unlikely that VeraCrypt is taken down by the original team behind TrueCrypt. Since VeraCrypt offers enhanced performance and fixes on the flaws found during TrueCrypt’s audit, it offers one of the best options available. It allows users encrypt an entire partition of storage device like a hard drive and USB stick. It also enables users to create a virtual encrypted disk (volume) which can be used like a real disk. With VeraCrypt it is also possible to create a partition of storage drive that contains an entire operating system. Like TrueCrypt, VeraCrypt offers on-the-fly encryption that is performed in real time for transparency. It is available for Windows, OSX and Linux.
This Java based file encryption program is compatible with Windows, Linux and OS X. It integrates with the operating system and offers simple file encryption. In Windows and Linux, you can use the right-click menu button, while it works with drag and drop in OS X. To decrypt a file, you will need to double-click the encrypted .aes file and enter the password supplied when it was created. There is also a command line interface. The main downside is that only individual files can be encrypyed. However, you can create zip files from folders and then encrypt the zip using the program.
Although it is only compatible with Windows, Axcrypt offers more features than AES Crypt and it is another option that allows you to encrypt data. It offers per file encryption but all files within a folder can be easily encrypted and decrypted. With AxCrypt it is possible to create a keyfile, which enhances security and you can also shred files to avoid future recovery. The software supports right-click OS integration and it is very easy to use. It is also important to note that files encrypted with AxCrypt can only be decrypted using the same program.
LUKS, which stands for Linux Unified Key Setup is the standard for hard disk encryption in Linux. LUKS is built-in the majority of Linux distros and it can be used with the dm-crypt subsystem to provide full disk encryption. All the relevant setup information is stored in the partition header. This allows users to transport or migrate the data without hassle. However, LUKS is an option that would only suit experienced users since the documentation requires advanced knowledge.
EncFS creates an encrypted volume that is generally stored in a cloud storage folder to facilitate cloud syncing. Then this folder can be mounted locally as a virtual drive and there files can be accessed unencrypted. Once the files are added to the virtual drive or changed in it, they are encrypted and added to the encrypted folder or changed there. EncFS works with Windows, Linux and it is also possible to use it on Android with Cryptonite app. EncFS is easy to use and offers a good option for secure cloud storage.
Although this app is relatively new, it offers an option for Android users who want to protect confidential files. Secrecy allows you to encrypt every file with AES256 and it can hide all file types. There is no trace of temporary files left in the system and supports stealth mode vaults. Secrecy is still under development and its performance can be slow. However, it is a solution that Android users can consider to keep their important files hidden.