There was once the encryption protocol TrueCrypt. It was said to be completely unapproachable as the FBI could not hack. Then the TrueCrypt project was abruptly shut down, and rumors circulated that the FBI had finally cracked its encryption.
TrueCrypt has been replaced by VeraCrypt, which looks more or less identical in appearance. But if your adversary is not a state or evil emperor on a fully functioning Death Star, VeraCrypt is more than enough to keep a nosy parent, spouse, and roommate from reading your private business (porn). P>
In this first part of a three-part article, I’ll show you how to set up an encrypted volume using VeraCrypt In part two, I’ll show you how to hide the hidden section inside an encrypted volume for extra super special security. In the third part I will explain how to encrypt the entire operating system using the program.
Setting VeraCrypt for the first time
First go to the Veracrypt website and select your operating system. I especially like the portable version of Windows that stays on my USB drive.
Now install the program as usual with any other program.
When you open the program, you will see this.
The first step is to click “Create Volume”. Now it pops up.
Today we go to door number one. Therefore, click “Create Encrypted File Container” and then “Next”.
The hidden volume option will be discussed in more detail in the second part. So, for now, select “VeraCrypt Standard Volume” and then “Next”.
The next step is to specify the location of the encrypted volume and its name. Click “Select File” and navigate to the folder where you want to place it. Then enter its name. Both the location and the name can be changed later if required.
The next screen will ask you to select an encryption algorithm. It will use AES by default, which is fine. If that’s enough for the top secret files of the US government, then that’s enough for your Katy Perry albums. You don’t need to think about it for a long time.
Likewise, don’t touch the hashing algorithm if you don’t know what you are doing.
Now you need to decide how large the volume should be.
There are two things to consider.
- What will the encrypted volume be used for? For example, videos and music will require more space than just files.
- How much free space do you have on your computer? VeraCrypt volumes can be moved to removable media such as USB sticks and portable hard drives. Or cloud storage. But you need to know in advance if you have the required storage space, as it is not possible to resize the volume later.
For the purposes of this article, I have chosen 1 GB. But my main VeraCrypt volume is 150GB.
Now the most important thing is the password.
Before choosing a password, remember the following. For security reasons VeraCrypt does not perform password resets or password reminders. So if you forget your password, you will literally find yourself on the shore without the proverbial paddle.
So while the password shouldn’t be silly, like “12345”, it should also be something you’ll always remember.
I would avoid keyfiles and PIMs for now. They can make your volume much more secure, but you need to have a good understanding of how they work. I’m still trying to figure it out, so I’m not going to expect you to suddenly become an expert on this subject. Let’s keep it simple for now.
Finally, it’s time to generate encryption keys.
Move the mouse pointer over the VeraCrypt window in a random order until the red bar at the bottom reaches the other end and turns green. As the window says, the longer you move it and the more random moves, the higher the encryption strength.
When the bar at the bottom turns green, click “Format” and your volume will be created and placed in the location you specified.
Open your V DriverCrypt volume
Now that you have a nice shiny new volume, it’s time to open it up and hide some files there.
Return to the main VeraCrypt window, select a drive letter with your mouse, click Select File and double-click the volume. Remember not to use drive letters that are currently used by other drives, portable media, or software. When the volume is displayed, click “Mount”.
I would advise you to leave a tick next to “Never save history.” Otherwise, VeraCrypt will keep a record of all recently accessed volume locations on your computer.
Now enter your password. “TrueCrypt Mode” is only for people who had old TrueCrypt volumes that suddenly became useless after abandoning the software. But you can ignore this if you’ve never used TrueCrypt.
After successfully entering the password, go to Windows Explorer (or Finder if you are using macOS) and you will see that the volume is â€œmountedâ€ as a disk.
Or you can double-click the volume in VeraCrypt to go straight there.
Now you can simply drag and drop files onto the volume and they will appear.
To close the volume and protect the files, click Unmount in the VeraCrypt window.
And here’s how to make an encrypted folder / volume. You can create as many of them as you like – VeraCrypt imposes no restrictions. Of course, the more volumes you have on the go, the more passwords you need to remember. So maybe don’t go too crazy.
Next time, we’ll look at hidden volumes within regular volumes. Keep for updates.