Saturday, August 09, 2014

Secure backups after TrueCrypt

I had been using TrueCrypt (v. 7.0) for a while to archive my data onto USB drives. One drive (64 GB) with the car keys and another couple in the car itself. If the house burns down ...

A couple of days ago I was checking and found I couldn't open these TrueCrypt volumes. The message came back "Incorrect password or not a TrueCrypt volume". Bad news. TrueCrypt 7.2 (the 'broken version') succeeded in opening the archives - proving it wasn't a password problem or data corruption - but this latest version has had the encryption modules removed, apparently. Time to move on.

An Internet search reveals that there is nothing which really replaces TrueCrypt's 'volume' facility as I don't want to encrypt drives or entire USB devices. I tried some freeware with AES encryption (7-zip) but it's clunky and awkward. In the end I've paid my £26 and bought WinZip v. 18.5. The user interface is well-designed and pretty intuitive, and enormous (10+ GB) AES-encrypted archives can be created.

A downside is that file-names can be read-off when an encrypted zip-archive has been opened, although without the password the files themselves can't be accessed. For my purposes that's enough. I have spent hours and hours today reorganising my 30+ GB DropBox folder and creating multiples backups onto three different USB drives.

One small issue: it's not too clear how many licences I got for my money. I installed WinZip on the two house laptops and it hasn't complained - but some of the documentation suggests you only get the one licence.