TrueCrypt used to be a freeware utility for on the fly encryption (OTFE) that has since been discontinued. This came as a shock to many, but there is good news: there are free and open source alternatives to this once popular encryption tool. TrueCrypt would allow you to create a virtual disk, encrypt a whole volume or entire hard drive, or create a completely hidden volume. Though it has been discontinued, there are other alternatives that can help you encrypt your data and hard drives.
Please note that while these options may provide viable alternatives to TrueCrypt, the following solutions are not as extensive or complete to TrueCrypt. They each are a little situational and have their pros and cons.
This alternative is available for the Windows platform and can help you encrypt your data using AES-256, Serpent, and Twofish. It does, however, have a few drawbacks to TrueCrypt including the following:
- Cannot encrypt smaller chunks of data such as an individual file or directory
- It lacks the ability to hide partitions and disk space
However, it will allow you to encrypt and entire disk. With it you can encrypt your hard drive, USB drive, and other media like CDs and DVDs. Though it lacks several features, it is a good alternative to TrueCrypt for people looking to secure and encrypt their hard drives.
AES Crypt is available on more platforms that the previous alternative. Valid operating systems include Windows, OSX, and Linux. However, it offers fewer encryption techniques – the only algorithm is AES-256, but it is incredibly strong. It seems to provide what DiskCryptor was lacking, but fails to also provide the advantages of DiskCryptor. In short, its encryption features are the exact opposite of DiskCryptor regarding the target data you can encrypt. With AES Crypt, you only have the ability to encrypt individual files, not entire drives. It integrates with Windows very well, though, allowing you to right click on a file and select the encryption option from the pop up menu.
This option is only available on Windows, and it does not offer AES-256 encryption. Instead, it uses AES-128 with HMAC-SHA1-128. This is not as strong as AES-256, but it does get the job done. It gives you the option of encrypting single files or even all of the files within a folder. One nice feature of this program is that it can completely destroy files of your own choosing. When we only send them to the recycle bin and then empty the recycle bin, the data can be left behind on your hard drive and recovered with software – only to return later like zombie. This program will help you kill a file for good. Though this is a handy tool, its largest drawback is that it is only available on Windows.
This encryption tool is available on a wide variety of operating system platforms such as Windows, Linux, Android, and even in OSX. Furthermore, it offers users two types of encryption: AES-256 as well as Blowfish. However, this program has its focus on cloud storage, not local storage. You can mount a virtual drive that looks just like a local drive, and every time you upload a file to your cloud storage drive the data becomes encrypted.
This encryption tool will allow you to encrypt files using Blowfish, Twofish, and AES. It is the go-to software for Linux distribution. In fact, LUKS stands for Linux Unified Key Setup. However, you should only use this tool if you are very accustomed to Linux. You can only configure it from the Linux command line, and its documentation is very hard to read unless you are very well technologically educated.
This is the only tool we have discussed that is a mobile-only application. It allows you to create volumes of information that are encrypted with AES-256 technology, and can even hide data. However, it can take a long time to successfully encrypt or decrypt your data, which is likely due to the lower processor speeds found in mobile devices when compared to computers with higher performing hardware. In addition, the speed could be related to the fact that the software is still in development.
It is a little odd that each of these programs, which could easily be labeled as competitors, have a slightly different spin on how they encrypt your data. Because they are each a little different, you will have to pick and choose which program to use in any given situation to maximize their benefits.