We all know there is no such thing as 100% hacker proof system. In the past, I have written several articles about how to protect your data from many threats, one of them is “Thanks For The Memory ~ Digital Amnesia” that I posted back in 2011, that tells you not to put all your eggs (information/data) in one basket, meaning trusting just your hard drive to keep all of your information. A study by Carnegie Mellon University shows that hard drive failure rates are much higher than manufacturers let you know. Relying on just one with all of your information is total folly.
USB Flash drives are even more volatile. Just last week, in the column “Why Flash Media Will Burn You“, I warned about the dangers and perils of counting on Flash media to store all your important information on.
Data loss due to physical hardware failure or fire/flood/natural disaster is just one of the threats awaiting to attack your data. What about all the hackers and viruses and other virtual threats? It seems like every day in the news there are more and more incidents of data loss and theft.
This week, I am going to show you how, step by step, to use two amazing tools to make a free FREE 500MB (or larger) encrypted cloud storage drive accessible from any PC, and we are going to do it together. We are going to combine DROPBOX with TRUECRYPT.
This will make a virtual encrypted vault that you can access from your work PC, home PC, tablet, laptop, etc., keeping all your critical information fluid and cloud mobile between all your devices, keep it safe at the same time. As I stated at the beginning, there is no such thing as 100% hacker proof, but this method is as safe as you can get.
First of all, open up Notepad on your Windows PC, or Textedit on your MAC, (or whatever your favorite text editor happens to be), and enter in just a few random words, and save it as a .txt file. Name it something like “passwords”, or something similar. You aren’t going to actually use this file for anything but some smoke and mirrors diversion to foil potential hackers later in this how to.
Next, we are going to make an encrypted volume. This is going to let you run TrueCrypt and mount your new DropBox encrypted volume on any machine.
Go ahead and run the extracted TrueCrypt.exe file you just saved to DropBox.
When TrueCrypt starts, click CREATE VOLUME. Select the options CREATE AN ENCRYPTED FILE CONTAINER, and HIDDEN TRUECRYPT VOLUME, and NORMAL MODE.
TrueCrypt will now create an “outer Volume”.
Use the FAT file system with DEFAULT CLUSTER, lets pick a
FILENAME for the VOLUME, the SIZE, and a good strong PASSWORD.
TrueCrypt will have you wiggle your mouse around in a window (the randomness sets up the encryption) and then click FORMAT, and your DropBox will be formatted.
After the outer volume is complete, we rinse and repeat to create the hidden volume within the outer container.
Select a size for the inner volume that is just a tad smaller (like just a few kb) that provides enough room to leave some “dummy” data in the outer volume, and create a completely different passphrase than the outer volume.
This is where our fake PASSWORD.TXT file that we made earlier will come in handy! This is used as a blind facade. Deception, basically, to fool a hacker.
If a hacker somehow did manager to breach the outer container, he would just see your PASSWORD.TXT file and fool him into thinking you are using DropBox to store your password list on… totally missing the hidden inner volume with a different password we are making now. See? There is a method to the madness.
VOILA! That’s the hidden volume, accessible at any time, on any PC, just click SELECT FILE, browse to the volume, and click MOUNT from the TrueCrypt screen. You can enter either the outer or inner passphrase.
I hope this information gives you the freedom and flexibility to use your critical data and share it between multiple machines and devices, using cloud storage, and keep it locked down from prying eyes.
J. D. Redmond ~ “Dr. Tech” ~ http://www.DrTech.co