Advantages of truecrypt?

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I am new to encryption but I think it is a very good idea. I have several back up external drives and while I am not a CIA agent they do contain lots of private financial info, medical and tax records, etc so it would be nice to encrypt them so if one is lost or stolen my data is safe.

I am wondering if there is any advantage to using truecrypt which seems to be the standard or is the encryption built into lion just as good?
 

RavingMac

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I am new to encryption but I think it is a very good idea. I have several back up external drives and while I am not a CIA agent they do contain lots of private financial info, medical and tax records, etc so it would be nice to encrypt them so if one is lost or stolen my data is safe.

I am wondering if there is any advantage to using truecrypt which seems to be the standard or is the encryption built into lion just as good?

I have no idea of the comparative level of encryption, but I do know that Filevault2 (Lion's buit-in encryption) is seamless and transparent once you mount the drive and enter your password.
Is the same true with truecrypt? Is it free? and just how high a level of encryption do you need?
Regardless of the technology you use the NSA will almost certainly be able to recover your data if they wish. And, your standard thief is almost certainly not going to be able to, or willing to take the time to, attempt recovery.

IMO, unless there is some other overriding reason not to use Filevault2 instead of a 3rd party software package, I would go with Filevault2. (BTW: I would not have made this recommendation for the original Filevault FWIW).
 
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Our organization uses encryption quite a bit, and while I've not used TrueCrypt, I have used WinMagic and it does ok. Currently, though, I'm using FileVault2 instead, as WinMagic didn't have a Lion client until this week. Encryption is only as good as your physical security. If your drive is encrypted, but you leave it, still running, with someone while you step away for a minute, you've lost security. Also, if you're going to use ANY encryption, have a backup. It's too easy to corrupt a couple bits of data and have the whole drive unreadable. Backups are mandatory with any encryption program, in my opinion.
 

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Avoid TrueCrypt like the plague. There are enough concerns out there (here and here to name a few) about both the software and the developers so you might want to look elsewhere.

Why not simply create an encrypted disk image and use that?
 
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IMO, unless there is some other overriding reason not to use Filevault2 instead of a 3rd party software package, I would go with Filevault2. (BTW: I would not have made this recommendation for the original Filevault FWIW).

Can you explain? How is Filevault2 improved?
I ask because I believe Filevault may have caused problems for me (see my recent thread on my lost iPhoto library which you had replied to).
I plan to buy a new Macbook Pro soon and would like to use Filevault2 if it isn't going to cause any issues.
 

RavingMac

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Can you explain? How is Filevault2 improved?
I ask because I believe Filevault may have caused problems for me (see my recent thread on my lost iPhoto library which you had replied to).
I plan to buy a new Macbook Pro soon and would like to use Filevault2 if it isn't going to cause any issues.

The big advantage/difference with Filevault 2 is the ability to encrypt external drives (which IMO is the way to go). I would NOT encrypt my Home folders (which Filevault does); if I need to encrypt something that will reside on an internal drive then I would use and Encrypted Disk Image.

If you do it this way you may occasionally lose a drive or disk image (things happen, but that is why you have backups) but you don't lose your entire User Account.

Disk Utility is your friend here both on setting up encrypted disk images and using Filevault2 on external drives.
If you need more info/help, just ask.
 
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Another vote for Filevault 2.
 
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Thanks for the replies. I have never used it but I was reading on truecrypt's webpage that the FBI seized a hard drive encrypted with their software and after over a year of trying they could not crack it. Being that it is a third party open source program it seems that it would be pretty thoroughly tested and that their are no backdoors. The built in Mac filevault does not really list any specifics about how secure it is. It may be great but I am always a bit paranoid about big companies as they usually have some sort of back way in to things and often hackers target them and create programs to defeat their products. I don't know if this is the case for filevault 2 or not. I do like how filevault 2 is already built into the OS and easy to use.

Specifically I travel a lot for work and while at work I use my computer constantly and it would literally cost thousands of dollars if lost even a days worth of data. Often I am on the road for weeks at a time staying in motels. I have a mobile office of sorts that I work out of. I would like to keep 3 external hard drives with backups on them. The idea being that all three are in separate places. One drive at home that is used when I am home but also is left there when I am gone and subject to burglary I guess when I am gone. A second drive I would keep in mobile office that backs up while I am at work during the day but stays in my mobile office at night and would be subject to theft then. The third drive I would leave in motel room at all times and backup at night to it. It would be subject to theft from my motel room during the day while I am at work. I have had my motel room burglarized in the past as well as my my mobile office attempted to be broken into. I just want to feel comfortable leaving these drives with all my data on them lying around unattended without worry of someone getting access to the data. I am not really worried about the drive getting stolen and losing a hundred bucks, I am more worried about the data, identity theft, etc.

I guess a simpler way of putting it is would you feel comfortable putting all your data on a few external hard drives encrypted with filevault2 and leaving them in a public place for anyone to pick up and try to read.
 

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I guess a simpler way of putting it is would you feel comfortable putting all your data on a few external hard drives encrypted with filevault2 and leaving them in a public place for anyone to pick up and try to read.

You certainly sound like a candidate for a reliable on line backup service. The only problem I have with them is that moving data, especially large amounts, takes a long time. But once everything is uploaded, the incremental backups should be relatively fast. You might want to consider that instead of lugging around external drives with you.
 
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You certainly sound like a candidate for a reliable on line backup service. The only problem I have with them is that moving data, especially large amounts, takes a long time. But once everything is uploaded, the incremental backups should be relatively fast. You might want to consider that instead of lugging around external drives with you.

I actually do use online backup. I used carbonite on my PC and since I got this new Mac I am considering back blaze. It helps but my main problem with it is I often generate a gig of data per data at work and I have minimal Internet connections while on the road which can't keep up.
 
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I would recommend TrueCrypt. You can encapsulate a truecrypt volume in another. So if someone hypothetically puts a gun to your head and demands to know your truecrypt volumes password, you can give them the surrounding encryption password with fake private documents and they won't think that there is anything else inside. They refer to it as Plausible Deniability on their page. This may or may not be within the scope of your needs but is always a good extra step to securing your information.

The encryption method XTS-AES is used in FileVault2 and an option in Trucrypt. TrueCrypt does have multiple options for hashing and encryption algorithms. The only benefit to filevault2 is its integration into osx.
 
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I remember the Genius at Apple telling us if we lose the password to Filevault 2 they
could not help us.
 
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what's the advantage of using it vs Windows NTFS Encryption (available on XP Pro)?

I don't know. I have never used it. When I used my Windows machine I just relied on Carbonite (which didn't always keep up) and a thumb drive I carried everywhere in my pocket.

Since I switched over to the Mac I am trying to rethink or perfect all my computing strategies and not just carry over old habits.
 

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