We have covered TrueCrypt for on the fly encryption on other Operating Systems in the past. Now it is time to look at installing and using TrueCrypt on Apple Macintosh OS X (specifically 10.6.4).
TrueCrypt on Mac OS X
TrueCrypt is a free utility that will allow you to encrypt your data, be it on a USB drive or your computer’s main drive, on the fly. This allows you to keep data hidden; be it grades, patient files, that new patent you are working on, or embarrassing vacation photos you just can’t bring yourself to delete.
Once you have downloaded the .dmg to install TrueCrypt mount it do begin the installation.
You will be asked to accept the license agreement before mounting the installer.
Yep, you guessed it, open the installer package to begin installation.
The installer would like to give you an introduction just incase you did not know what you were installing (some days we all need to be reminded)
The next step is to choose the installation location. By default it will install into your Applications folder. For now we will not choose any custom options. Clicking Install will begin the installation.
Since you will be modifying some system files, OS X will want authentication to make sure you are ok with these changes.
Now we let the install complete.
If you have this installing in the background, or got up to do something else during the installation, OSX will let you know the install is done with the green check and the completion chime. Once you click Close, the install window will close and you will need to browse to where you have installed TrueCrypt.
Since we have not yet created a volume we will need to begin there. Click on Create Volume.
This time lets create an encrypted file container. This creates a virtual file that will contain all of your data. This can be useful if you would like to pass the container off to other people whom you have entrusted the password or for storing the file in multiple locations (network storage, the cloud, usb keys…) while keeping it encrypted.
If you do not need to worry about state security or industrial espionage, the Standard TrueCrypt Volume should be enough for keeping personal data personal.
Here is where you will choose the location of the container. If you choose a file that is already in existence, TrueCrypt will erase and overwrite the file. Choose a new file name and the location you would like to place the container.
There are several different encryption and hash algorithms, by default most users should be covered using AES and RIPEMD-160.
This is the place we get to choose the volume size of the virtual disk we are creating. TrueCrypt will let you know how much space you have available. The drop down will let you choose if you number will be in KB, MB or GB. For now, let’s go with a 1 GB volume.
Now is the time to choose the password. While TrueCrypt will warn you to use a 20+ character strong (not using a dictionary word, using 3 out of symbols, numbers, cap and lowercase letters) password, if you cannot remember the password, it will mean loss of your encrypted data. choose something you can remember, but that will still keep you data safe form prying eyes.
Volume file system will be important if you want to use the file across multiple platforms (WIndows, Linux, Mac). If you are looking to use multiple platforms choose the FAT filesystem. If you want the container to only be read in Mac OSX, choose Mac OS Extended.
Confirm you decision of multiple (cross) platform support or just OSX.
Here we will help TrueCrypt in choosing the header and master key for the encryption of you volume. You see how when you move you mouse the random pool changes? Once you feel that you have a good set of numbers to choose form click format and the process will begin to encrypt you virtual disk.
If you are needing to make multiple volumes, you can choose to make another now, otherwise click exit to close the wizard.
Now we will need to mount our new volume so that we can add files to it. Click on Select File and browse to the location you just created the container.
Tell TrueCrypt to mount the volume by clicking Mount.
Enter your password.
In the Finder browse to the empty volume and fill it with the files that you wish to encrypt.
Once you are happy with what you have in the volume, go back to the TrueCrypt menu and click Dismount to eject the volume and encrypt you data.
To access you now safe data, you will repeat the mounting steps and browse to you full volume, you can remove and add more data this way as well.
Chris is a Mac geek who still knows his way around Linux and Windows. He's always looking for a good way to translate geek to english.
- Published 06/24/10