Jul 092008

TrueCrypt is a free opensource software system for establishing and maintaining an on-the-fly-encrypted volume (data storage device). On-the-fly encryption means that data are automatically encrypted or decrypted right before they are loaded or saved, without any user intervention. No data stored on an encrypted volume can be read (decrypted) without using the correct password/keyfile(s) or correct encryption keys. Entire file system is encrypted (e.g., file names, folder names, contents of every file, free space, meta data, etc).

In todays world of data security and confidentiality of documents and files ranging from critical information like business secrets on a mobile laptop to a password file of personal use with informations like credit card details etc, it is important to have a data security and encryption software like Truecrypt in place.

Features of Truecrypt include,

Creates a virtual encrypted disk within a file and mounts it as a real disk.

Encrypts an entire partition or storage device such as USB flash drive or hard drive.

Encrypts a partition or drive where Windows is installed (pre-boot authentication).

Encryption is automatic, real-time (on-the-fly) and transparent.

Provides two levels of plausible deniability, in case an adversary forces you to reveal the password:

1) Hidden volume (steganography) and hidden operating system.

2) No TrueCrypt volume can be identified (volumes cannot be distinguished from random data).

Encryption algorithms: AES-256, Serpent, and Twofish. Mode of operation: XTS.

Hidden volume stays within an existing encrypted volume thus being invisible to those anyone. Interesting thing about the hidden volume is that to mount a hidden volum, you need to mount the outer or unhidden volume but with the password or key file of the secret volume and it loads up for you. This to me is a very nice feature for a security system to protect confidentiality of your data.

Truecrypt provides pre-build RPM packages for openSUSE (32 bit & 64 bit versions). Let’s proceed to download and install TrueCrypt on our openSUSE Linux system.

I did this installation on openSUSE 10.3 & 11.0

Add File System  Repository (openSUSE 10.x only)

TrueCrypt requires FUSE to be installed on your system to successfully install and use it on your openSUSE. openSUSE 11.0 has FUSE preinstalled and hence this procedure is not necessary. For openSUSE 10.3 & 10.2, to install FUSE, add the Filesystem repository from here

openSUSE 10.3

zypper ar http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/filesystems/openSUSE_10.3/ Filesystems

openSUSE 10.2

zypper sa http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/filesystems/openSUSE_10.2/ Filesystems

Install FUSE

opensuse:~ # yast2 -i fuse

Initiate Fuse module

opensuse:~ # modprobe fuse

Download TrueCrypt

Download lates version of openSUSE rpm package (in tar.gz) from here

opensuse:~ # wget http://www.truecrypt.org/downloads/truecrypt-6.0a-opensuse-x86.tar.gz

Unzip & Untar

opensuse:~ # truecrypt-6.0a-opensuse-x86.tar.gz

Change Directory and install TrueCrypt RPM

opensuse:~ # cd truecrypt-6.0a

opensuse:~/truecrypt-6.0a # yast2 -i truecrypt-6.0a-opensuse-x86.rpm

This installs TrueCrypt on your system.

Start TrueCrypt

To start Truecrypt, type truecrypt from terminal

opensuse:~ # truecrypt &

This starts the GUI for truecrypt. For detailed documentation and how to use, click here. It is recommended to go through the documents before adding documents onto your secure disk parition or volume.