Password Protect Information on your USB

Lost.USB

I have a lot of information on my USB Flash Drive/Stick. Some of this information is personal.

The thing about a USB flash drive is that it is handy and easy to use. But sadly, it is also easy to lose, forget somewhere, or misplace. So someone you don't know can quite easily find your USB stick and have access to all your personal information on it :-(

I am currently using my USB not just for storing documents but for running applications as well.

So this is the objective:

  • Protect all the information on my USB stick in case I somehow lose it.

After searching, and testing solutions. I finally opted to use Toucan ToucanBird , a portable application that I am also using to backup or mirror my files between my laptop and the USB.

I like Toucan for the following reasons:

  1. It is easy to use. And it is free, you can download it here.
  2. I don’t even have to install it on my laptop, it is a portable application which runs directly off my USB drive. So wherever I go with my USB, Toucan goes with me.

This is how I am using it to protect my files:

* I open up Toucan from my USB drive.

* Click the Secure button. Click the Encrypt function.

* Choose the files that I want to encrypt on my USB.

* Click Run and enter a password to use when I want to Decrypt the files.

The picture below shows the basic interface.

Toucan

My summation of Toucan for this process is as follows:

The Good: – it is easy to use. It uses AES 256 encryption which is a US government approved cipher for encrypting top secret information (not that I have got seriously top secret stuff, but anyway…). It’s free, and that's good.

I can also use it to encrypt files on my laptop not just on my USB.

The Bad: – Encrypting data is not a quick procedure. You have to be patient while the tool runs. The tool takes about 6mins to encrypt a 15MB file, and 6mins to decrypt. Ahh…patience is a virtue!

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Worth Mentioning:

Another solution worth mentioning for protecting a USB drive is TrueCrypt (www.truecrypt.org).

It does some serious heavy lifting when it comes to file, folder, or drive protection. It’s free.

The only reason I haven’t used it yet is because it comes with a 138 paged user manual. Phew! A bit on the geeky side for me. I must have some seriously top secret stuff to be forced to use it.

Maybe more episodes of CSI might convince me to use it eventually. Who knows?