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Encrypt/Hide/Protect your important files and data


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phi

 
Member Since: Nov 27, 2006
Posts: 5
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phi is offline
Hey all,

I have a problem that I would like to enlist your help. Currently, I have several external drives connected to my Mac via FireWire. These drives house anything from my
  • Media files (music, videos, podcasts),
  • Work (documents, presentations, etc.)
  • Personal files (finance, important documents, family pictures and private stuff)

In addition, they also serve as a backup as I have wisely learnt to backup my files from fellow forumers. I have used various backup programs such as
  • SuperDuper: to make a clone of my Macintosh HD, which allows me to boot up from an external drive in the case of the failure of the internal drive
  • Chronosync: where i make copies of specific folders in my Home directory such as ‘Documents’, ‘Pictures’ and various folders
  • iBackup: where I make copies of specific application data and preferences such as iCal, Mail, Safari, iTunes etc.

My concern is this: Although the data in my Mac is protected, (i.e. one would have to know my password to enter my user account); The data in my external drives is not. Anyone can come along and take my external drives away

For instance, I have realised that someone could take the clone of my Macintosh HD, plug it into their Mac and reset the password and literally have a copy of my Mac user account, complete with files, applications and application data.

Also, since I have made clones of my important files, applications, someone could access them easily if they have gotten hold of my external drives. This applies to both my work and (home - in the case of a break-in) settings.

The security measures I have found do not seem suitable. There is the possibility of encrypting specific files. However, this is not feasible in my instance because I backup my files/clone my Macintosh HD daily. I would have to encrypt and decrypt several hard drives daily then.

Also since I schedule my backups in the wee hours of the morning, I do not wish to wake-up just to decrypt several drives and encrypt it when it is done. While this can be done, it seems very primitive and requires human action which may be unreliable.

I was thinking, is there a simpler way? For example, is there a way to simply password-protect your entire external drive? That is, once you have plugged it in to your Mac you are required to enter password to access its contents. Thereafter, as long as it remains plugged into your Mac, there is no need to re-enter the password unless you unmount/unplug the external drive and mount/plug it in again.

I apologize for this lengthy post; I have tried to remain as concise as possible while trying to explain my situation. I have tried Googling on this but have found little leads. I appreciate any help rendered.

Thanks guys!
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karudzo

 
Member Since: May 27, 2006
Location: Concord, NC
Posts: 445
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Create an encrypted disk image with Disk Utility and copy it over.
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mac57

 
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Mac OS X lets you create virtual volumes called disk image files, per karudzo. These can be encrypted when they are created, such that in order to access them, you must enter a password. When you "eject" them, they close up again and require the password once more to use.

See the following for the very easy details on how to create such a virtual drive:

http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=107333

As an example, I created a 2 GB virtual volume which I use for all "sensitive" information - recording passwords, all the family finances and so on.

Even though someone could get a hold of the volume file, they can't access the contents unless they know the password, so it is absolutely secure.

I am not sure how large a single file can be in Mac OS X, but that would be the limit of the size of a virtual volume you could create this way.

I suspect that this may meet your need?

My Macs: iMac 27" 3.4 GHz, Mac Pro 3.2 GHz, PowerMac G5 Quad 2.5 GHz, G4 Cube with 1.2 GHz Upgrade
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My OS': Mac OS X Lion, Mac OS X Snow Leopard, Mac OS X Tiger, Mac OS 9.2.2, openSUSE 10.3
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phi

 
Member Since: Nov 27, 2006
Posts: 5
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phi is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by mac57 View Post
Mac OS X lets you create virtual volumes called disk image files, per karudzo. These can be encrypted when they are created, such that in order to access them, you must enter a password. When you "eject" them, they close up again and require the password once more to use.

See the following for the very easy details on how to create such a virtual drive:

http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=107333

As an example, I created a 2 GB virtual volume which I use for all "sensitive" information - recording passwords, all the family finances and so on.

Even though someone could get a hold of the volume file, they can't access the contents unless they know the password, so it is absolutely secure.

I am not sure how large a single file can be in Mac OS X, but that would be the limit of the size of a virtual volume you could create this way.

I suspect that this may meet your need?
Is there a performance hit mounting encrypted disk images? What is the process like?
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