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Author Topic: Privacy solution for external USB drive?  (Read 13121 times)

JeffK

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Privacy solution for external USB drive?
« on: April 19, 2006, 05:29:01 PM »
I've been looking at a way of protecting about 1.5GB of files on my 40GB USB external drive from being edited by others but to be used at home, work, (where I don't have admin privileges), church (you'd be amazed at what the audiovisual volunteer can do with a Powerpoint presentation for a children's story; like make it unusable) and potentially other computers.  Also for use on my 256k USB memory stick.

I've looked at TrueCrypt and Dekart Private Disk Light as well as some others and haven't been able to quite settle on a solution.

My criteria are

simple to use (although I tend to be turned off by totally no frills interfaces interfaces)
small
portable
not requiring administrator privileges on possible machines I might need to use
when a file is decrypted I don't have to encrypt it again to maintain the protection (actually it doesn't have to encrypt at all just be able to lock/hide a folder but not require installation on target machines ie runs off the drive or memory stick).

Any ideas?

Thanks,  Jeff

Gothi[c]

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Re: Privacy solution for external USB drive?
« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2006, 05:44:08 PM »
You could use an encrypted filesystem.

If you use linux this can be done quite easily without too much overhead.
http://www.faqs.org/docs/Linux-HOWTO/Loopback-Encrypted-Filesystem-HOWTO.html

in windows you could use PGPDisk
http://www.pgpi.org/products/pgpdisk/

or truecrypt
http://www.truecrypt.org/

It is said that windows vista will have encrypted filesystem support built-in natively. (not that i'd ever use vista :p)


kimmchii

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Re: Privacy solution for external USB drive?
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2006, 05:49:07 PM »
check this out see if you can find something here:

http://www.portablef....com/?c=10&sc=68
If you find a good solution and become attached to it, the solution may become your next problem.
~Robert Anthony

JeffK

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Re: Privacy solution for external USB drive?
« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2006, 05:17:41 AM »
Well Ive had a good look and I'd have to say I haven't found quite what I want among encryption or folder lock type programs.

I need something that resides on my external drive and is independent of the computer I attach it too.  Most of the solutions require admin access to the target computer or want to load or leave a driver on the computer and won't work if they can't or leave the decrypted file visible unless I remember to delete it.  I found "folderhideking" which is a so called green installation but it is a very fragile looking piece of software at this stage.

I'm not on Linux BTW.

Jeff

JeffK

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Re: Privacy solution for external USB drive?
« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2006, 02:57:06 PM »
Aha!!!  I've finally stumped the donationcoders?  ;)

PS I tried lockngo.  Appears to work OK but will only do a complete disk not a partition leaving some of the disk available for non-encryption.

Jeff

JeffK

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Re: Privacy solution for external USB drive?
« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2006, 05:07:34 PM »
I take it back lockngo requires Admin access as well.

Aha!!!  I've finally stumped the donationcoders?  ;)

PS I tried lockngo.  Appears to work OK but will only do a complete disk not a partition leaving some of the disk available for non-encryption.

Jeff

JeffK

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Re: Privacy solution for external USB drive?
« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2006, 09:23:43 PM »
Well Ive had a good look and I'd have to say I haven't found quite what I want among encryption or folder lock type programs.

I need something that resides on my external drive and is independent of the computer I attach it too.  Most of the solutions require admin access to the target computer or want to load or leave a driver on the computer and won't work if they can't or leave the decrypted file visible unless I remember to delete it.  I found "folderhideking" which is a so called green installation but it is a very fragile looking piece of software at this stage.

I'm not on Linux BTW.

Jeff

Folderhideking seems functional enough but I am hesitant to pay $US20 for it as it seems very clunky.  This is probably because of a language issue since it is of Chinese origin.  Eg in the help menu there is a link to older (sic) the program.  Clicking on it leads one to a Chinese language site.  However if one goes through Simtel one has the choice of Share-it and Qwerks to place the order.

However I think I've found the answer ... StompSoft's Portable Vault.  I installed, ie copied to the root directory of every flash drive/USB external disk I could lay my hands on and it worked like a charm.  No "you need admin privileges", "I can't load the driver" or "Service can't be started messages".  Members should be aware though that the trial version is very limited with respect to the size of files which can be encrypted and the full product supports only one encryption algorithm.  But it works beautifully smoothly and is only $US15.

I haven't bought it yet as I'm considering it's older brother Digital Vault.  I have sent a support request to StompSoft about wether it will work OK on portable drives. 

I hope this is of some help to members at some time.

Jeff

mouser

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Re: Privacy solution for external USB drive?
« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2006, 05:08:32 AM »
sounds nice jeffk; maybe if you like it you can write us a little minireview and ask author if they might want to offer a discount to our members/donate a few copies.  don't hesitate to pass them our email.

JeffK

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Re: Privacy solution for external USB drive?
« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2006, 05:13:06 AM »
I've actually changed my mind.  On further testing I found that the program forces one to encrypt and decrypt which is mighty slow with a large file.

So I'm still looking and may shell out $35 for Folder Lock which now has specific provision for USB devices and gives one a choice re encryption.

Just to let members know another alternative (perhaps) is Winguard Pro and I've just noticed a 40% discount on their site until June 30 making it approx $US18.

Jeff

f0dder

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Re: Privacy solution for external USB drive?
« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2006, 08:23:57 AM »
If you use NTFS on the portable drive, you can use windows' built-in EFS encryption... doesn't work on "Home" editions of XP, though.
- carpe noctem

rjbull

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Re: Privacy solution for external USB drive?
« Reply #10 on: April 21, 2006, 08:48:35 AM »
I'm pretty sure I've seen thumb drives with built-in thumbprint recognition systems, but that might be more security than you want.


patthecat

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Re: Privacy solution for external USB drive?
« Reply #11 on: April 21, 2006, 01:21:59 PM »
You can try out BlowFish Advanced CS
http://www.hotpixel.net/software.html

Multiple algorithms, secure delete/wipe,
settings stored in .ini file, folder support, and
rename files support.

But the most interesting features I think are:
1. View Files - Does not alter actual file because it decrypts in a user defiend temp directory and wipes it upon exit.
2. Work With Files - decrypt, run and work in associated app, and then re-encrypt after exiting associated app.  No need to re-enter password for re-encryption.

It is these 2 features that make BFACS the utility tool I use for encrypting files/folders on my portable USB drives.

It does not have the option to hide files.  However, you can change the file attributes yourself and tell BFACS not to alter file attributes.

patrick


JeffK

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Re: Privacy solution for external USB drive?
« Reply #12 on: April 21, 2006, 09:38:08 PM »
I am not having much luck.  I found that Folder Lock is has a driver which causes problems with some programs including Perfect Disk and Spybot, both of which I use.  The vendor says a fix is on the way but it has been a while coming.  Thanks for all your suggestions.  I am trying some of them especially Blowfish Advanced CS which looks promising.

Jeff

patthecat

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Re: Privacy solution for external USB drive?
« Reply #13 on: April 22, 2006, 04:11:37 PM »
Jeff,

I just remembered something I tried a few months ago.  It's a utility that came with a usb key I purchased (Swissbit/Victorinox).  The utility is called TravelItEasy which is a rebranded of the software from Cososys.  I looked real good - it creates a hidden partition on the USB key which you can / can;t see depending whether you typed in the correct password in the utility.
Anyway. I so wanted to use this but that particular utility only works for a specific brand of usb key.  I think it looks either at the USB serial number or the USB controller it uses.

So, I went to Cososys.com site to try out their versions of LockItEasy and CarryItEasy but was not able to get it to work properly on my other usb key.  Did not try too hard cause it was around that time I saw Blowfish Advanced CS.  So you may have better luck trying out LockItEasy.

Ooops, before I posted this message I looked quickly at their website.  You need admin rights to the computer. in order to use their software.

Let us know which utility you end up using.

pat

JeffK

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Re: Privacy solution for external USB drive?
« Reply #14 on: April 22, 2006, 04:14:12 PM »
I did some testing and while it is easy to make PerfectDisk play up with Folder Lock installed I couldn't get Spybot to misbehave, so something may have been done by one or both vendors.

However because of this incompatibility and the possibility of losing protected files I decided to give purchasing Folder Lock a miss until the problem is solved.  The vendor's estimate for a solution is mid-May.

I also found that my comment about the speed of Portable Vault above seems to miss the mark as a retest of it's big brother, Digital Vault, was not slow at all.

However for my one off needs I will, for the time being, go with patthecat's recommendation of Blowfish Advanced CS.  I have been trying it out and it is one of those applications where the more you look the more functionality you find.  It occupies less that 500kb on a USB drive.  It's fast and it does what is, for all intents and purposes, on the fly decryption.

Thanks patthecat.

Jeff

(PS we posted at the same time.  I'll have a look at those apps as well.)
« Last Edit: April 22, 2006, 04:16:10 PM by JeffK »

JeffK

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Re: Privacy solution for external USB drive?
« Reply #15 on: April 22, 2006, 09:53:49 PM »
I got lock it easy to work on my flash drive (I'll have to wait until I go to work again on Wednesday to check the admin rights issue).  However I can't get it to work of my larger external USB drive.

Carry It Easy seems to have locked up in the configuration phase as it's been sitting there for 10 minutes.  edit:- it worked OK after I reformatted the USB fash drive.

Jeff
« Last Edit: April 22, 2006, 10:10:12 PM by JeffK »

f0dder

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Re: Privacy solution for external USB drive?
« Reply #16 on: April 23, 2006, 04:45:04 AM »
Jeff, if you could make do with just some text files, you could use my fSekrit program - it sounds like you do need binary files, though. If you don't want to / can't install drivers, a transparent solution will be very hard to come by - and anything that looks transparent but doesn't use drivers means plaintext temporary files >_<
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Elena

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Re: Privacy solution for external USB drive?
« Reply #17 on: December 02, 2006, 12:20:48 PM »
@JeffK

Hi I have found in google this thread, because I search also a protection for using in PC without Admin permission.
I have tryed also some application, yes JeffK, its true most of them need a admin right's!
Now I have read the whole thread and my english isn't so good to understand what actually you prefer.
Did you use now "Blowfish Advanced CS 2.57", or did you have found a other solution?

Thank you in advance for any answer!

Elena

f0dder

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Re: Privacy solution for external USB drive?
« Reply #18 on: December 03, 2006, 11:11:35 AM »
Elena: if you only need text files, check out fSekrit - doesn't need admin rights, and doesn't write temporary files with your secret stuff in plaintext.

Sorry for the shameless self promotion :)
- carpe noctem

JeffK

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Re: Privacy solution for external USB drive?
« Reply #19 on: December 03, 2006, 01:10:17 PM »
@JeffK

Hi I have found in google this thread, because I search also a protection for using in PC without Admin permission.
I have tryed also some application, yes JeffK, its true most of them need a admin right's!
Now I have read the whole thread and my english isn't so good to understand what actually you prefer.
Did you use now "Blowfish Advanced CS 2.57", or did you have found a other solution?

Thank you in advance for any answer!

Elena

Elena, my apologies for not replying sooner.

I never did find a solution which would work on another computer without admin rights.  However I do use Blowfish Advanced CS which I find very good for my purposes.

Jeff

Elena

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Re: Privacy solution for external USB drive?
« Reply #20 on: December 03, 2006, 02:27:25 PM »
@f0dder
Thank you for this tipp but I would like to decrypt not only txt files, but thanks anyway!

@JeffK
Thank you also for your answer, I have searched around in internet and I thing "Blowfish Advanced CS" will be the only one solution.

Have a nice sunday to all!

Elena