Encrypting CD or Flash Drive - XP, 7 and Mac

Posted on 2012-09-12
Last Modified: 2012-09-13

I need to encrypt either a CD or a USB flash drive.  Regardless of the media, I need to be able to extract/view the files in XP, Windows 7 and Mac OS.

I have tried an encrypted WinZip file and 7-Zip, but I receive compression errors on Windows XP and Windows 7.  I have also tried TrueCrypt, but it's simply too cumbersome for our potential users.

What can I use to encrypt a CD or USB flash drive?  Or should I just purchase a flash drive that is already encrypted?

Question by:TacomaVA
    LVL 12

    Expert Comment

    You can use PGP to encrypt it:
    LVL 33

    Accepted Solution

    You have somewhat a catch 22 there, in that the native zip file format in windows is not secure, and the secure forms are not native to windows.

      7z *is* a good choice, but as self-extracting archives (which when you run them, prompt for a password, then decompress and decrypt automagically; that's just a tickbox in 7z during compression).

      Personally, I would write a pretty front end (autostart optional) that prompts for a file location and password, and for each 7z archive (using a compiled-in copy of the 7z library) that matches the password, decompress it into the chosen dir. by using 7z archives that conceal their contents without the password, the user cannot ever know if the cd would have additional features available with a different password.

      Needs a few hours spent coding up a basic C app though, to do the form and required calls to the 7z library.  You could also do the same sort of thing using the source of truecrypt portable (a simplified version of the truecrypt exe that prompts only for a password and picks the first available drive letter, autorunning the contents on mount), but that would be significantly more work than the 7z library.

      Depends on what the usage criteria are - the truecrypt form would be better for removable flash media (in that you would have read/write to the volume securely, and the autorun could be an editor of some sort within the truecrypt archive) and for optical if you don't want or need the whole thing copying to the local drive first.  The 7z solution would be better for installing data to local storage, but of course the data would be unsecured once so extracted.

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