USB peripherals and USB Devices are around from more than a decade and nothing much has changed when it comes to the basic protocols. Yes, we do have iterative hardware upgrades that brought about better speeds and overall transfer rates but apart from that, we didn’t witness an overwhelming change on the security front. The world is so much reliant on the USB that we take it for granted and also the security aspect that comes with it.
Yes, the USB storage devices are so portable that we prefer to carry all our stuff on it but what we don’t realize the perils of losing our data. Here two aspects of the problem will help us in searching for the best solution, one the Data on the USB storage needs to be backed up somewhere safe, like a cloud drive and the other one being the encryption for the devices.
Also Read: 5 Best Encryption Tools For Windows 2016
The first question that will pop up for many is what exactly is encryption. Well, encryption is one of the most effective ways to achieve data security. Once the file is encrypted to read it one would require a secret key or maybe a Password that helps you gain access to the drive/file. Remember the Credit Card statement from the bank that requires you to enter the password to gain access to the PDF? Well, that is encryption for you.
Do we Really Need Encryption for USB?
Yes, because why not? USB storage is just like your hard drive and the perils of data theft are only much higher since the storage devices come in much smaller form factors and can be easily lost. For instance, if your Pendrive is encrypted and one day you simply lose it, fret not since no one can access the data inside the USB but you. Contextually speaking, encryption is mostly like a key and lock, without the key, you can’t unlock the lock!. That said we I will help you safeguard your USB devices by encrypting it and to do so we have listed a rather exhaustive list of programs that will help you encrypt your USB drive.
Best USB Encryption Software
1. Gilisoft USB Stick Encryption
Gilisoft has been my personal favorite when it comes to encrypting the USB Drives. Apart from the metallic UI which is strikingly outlandish, the program does come bundled with effective encryption features. The Gilisoft is pretty easy to use and will run automatically once the USB is detected.
Users can mention the size of the encrypted partition and that’s it the application will automate the other processes. So what happens here is that the secure parts are encrypted by making use of the AES 256 algorithm and will henceforth need the pairing secure access application to open the contents. The best part is that the makers of software also bake in a recovery option, just in case.
Pricing – Gilisoft has been my preferred encryption tool for pen drives and other USB peripherals but the limited trial has been a kind of deal breaker. The free usage is limited to 10 times and beyond that one needs to shell out $49.95. To be fair if you are looking out for a USB Encryption tool that offers plenty of other features like web site lock than look no further, the Gilisoft it is.
Support – Windows only
2. LaCie Private-Public
While there is a slew of USB encryption software at our disposal not many are actually made for the Mac. LaCie Private-Public is one of the few encryption software that is available on Windows and also Mac operating system. One might have already guessed by the name that the tool is of Frech origin but another less known fact is that it comes from the makers of Seagate. The LaCie works seamlessly with both fixed drives and portable drives. As with most of the other encryption software, a typical installation is not needed instead one can simply specify the size of the partition to be encrypted. The encryption is carried over using the standard AES 256 algorithm and the data can be accessed only in conjunction with the application.
Pricing – The best part about LaCie Private is, it’s completely free to use.
Support – Windows and Mac OS.
3. USB Safeguard
USB safeguard is a portable software that can be used to encrypt your drives based on the AES 256 bits method. The encrypted data is protected by making use of a virtual drive on the portable storage device and once done no one will be able to access the encrypted part without actually knowing the password.
Pricing – The free version caps the total encrypted data at 4GB and the makers of the software sell the license per USB device and this could be a deal breaker for some.
Support – The application runs directly on your drive and pops up on any PC it’s used on. Irrespective of the operating system (Windows, Mac, and Linux) the USB Safeguard locks itself when the pen drive is removed.
VeraCrypt is arguably one of the most popular decryption tools and is a successor to TrueCrypt which ceased existing since a couple of years. TrueCrypt was bogged down by the initial security updates and the developers claim that the concerns have been promptly taken care of in the VeraCrypt. Like the TrueCrypt, VeraCrypt is free and is available for Windows, OS X, and Linux. Additionally, VeraCrypt supports AES, Twofish and serpent encryption ciphers and also supports hidden encrypted volumes within other volumes. VeraCrypt is also constantly evolving and the developers are adding new features regularly. The UI is intuitive and lets you encrypt the drives and particular volumes without much of a fuss.
Pricing – VeraCrypt is completely free. So if you are on a lookout for a free USB encryption tool that is basic and yet efficient than VeraCrypt will top your list.
Support – Windows, Mac OS, and Linux
If you love everything open source than the AxCrypt is something you need to check out. The AxCrypt is a free, open source, GNU GPL-licensed encryption tool that aims at being simple, intuitive and efficient. The best part of this tool is the close integration with the Windows shell means that one could simply encrypt the drive by clicking “right” on the file and selecting “AxCrypt.” Another interesting feature of this tool is the timed execution, one can lock down the file for a prespecified time period and it will unlock automatically. That said since it is a file encryption tool it can’t create encrypted volumes or drives. Also, the program supports 128-bit AES encryption and has a mechanism built in to resist brute force cracking attempt.
Pricing – Free and open source
Support – Unfortunately, the program is only available for Windows and has a minimal footprint, less than 1 MB.
Wrapping it up
In a nutshell encrypting your drives or at least certain volumes that are very important to you is always recommended. I personally ensure that my pen drive or any other portable device is also encrypted in order to ensure that my personal data does not fall into the wrong hands.
Each tool comes with its own set of pros and cons thus entrusting the users with the task of making the right choice. At the end of the day, it’s a no-brainer to opt for a strong Encryption tool of your choice.