Author Topic: Encryption of Bug Info materials  (Read 8950 times)

Offline cartpusher

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Encryption of Bug Info materials
« on: September 23, 2009, 06:39:55 PM »
Jack mentioned at one point of a good way to encrypt the materials - phone numbers, bank accounts, etc. that you might keep in your car or bug out bag.  I think he said he would put this in MSB, but I haven't seen it there.  Any one have suggestions?  Private msg of specifics would be best i guess.

I have been hesitant to leave info like this in my car.  Last night confirmed these fears...  i guy broke into several cars on our street last night.  The only thing missing from our car, was the envelope with our insurance and registration in it.  He dug through everything else but left all the cd's, Leatherman, etc.

Let me know your thoughts on encryption.

Offline ColdHaven

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Re: Encryption of Bug Info materials
« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2009, 07:49:43 PM »
On my flashdrive in my GHB - I have all the info locked with an encryption software tool. There are plenty of freeware programs out there that will encrypt your information beyond the requirements the government has on encryption. If they do not have the password it is going to be completely useless to them. Just make sure the password is something you can easily remember and that it is a good solid password.

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Re: Encryption of Bug Info materials
« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2009, 09:24:42 PM »
Seems like a cool place to start with some cool links, but the NSA one didn't work.   :-[

http://www.wired.com/geekdad/2007/06/rainyday_rescue/

Offline cartpusher

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Re: Encryption of Bug Info materials
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2009, 04:54:55 AM »
Thanks for the ideas!

Coldhaven -  I like the flash drive idea.  What are you planning on reading it with while in transit, or if you end up at some unplanned position for a few days?  Do you usually carry a laptop?  I usually do not have our laptop with me and would be a bit concerned i will need some piece of info, and be unable to retrieve it. 

Offline Cacinok

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Re: Encryption of Bug Info materials
« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2009, 06:21:54 AM »
Thanks for the ideas!

Coldhaven -  I like the flash drive idea.  What are you planning on reading it with while in transit, or if you end up at some unplanned position for a few days?  Do you usually carry a laptop?  I usually do not have our laptop with me and would be a bit concerned i will need some piece of info, and be unable to retrieve it. 

if you have all your info scanned in as a PDF and saved on the flash drive, then you could open and print your info from just about any computer out there, no need to carry around a lap top.  PDF and USB are universal formats - it would probably be harder to find a computer w/o a USB connection and the ability to open a PDF.  if you carried a laptop, then you should have all the info encrypted on it anyway. 

look at a free program called "truecrypt".  it is extremely secure and can be used w/ flash drives.  this way, you have your encryption program right on the flash drive.  there's a good blog by the name of "listening to katrina" where the guy goes over loading all your important info onto the flash drive and encrypting it w/ truecrypt.

Offline cartpusher

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Re: Encryption of Bug Info materials
« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2009, 06:40:58 AM »
Oh, I know I can pop it in to any system, I was just thinking I may need that info while on a 3 hour drive to the BOL or caught at my office with no power.  Situations like that.   I will still go the flashdrive route and maybe distribute some to family and friends outside the area, then as long as I can get a phone call out I can have them tap into all that info, would be an nice back up system.  I will still go with at least a limited hard copy packet and apply some encryption formula to the more sensitive data.  Taking more care in its location in the vehicle would help too, rather than just throwing it in my glove box.

Thanks for the blog suggestion.

Offline ubergeek

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Re: Encryption of Bug Info materials
« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2009, 06:48:10 AM »
Yep, I use truecypt to protect my thumb drive data. Works like a champ. I keep the program installed on the thumb drive for windows, then also have the installs for linux, mac, and 32 & 64 bit windows on the drive so I will always have them handy if needed.

Fortunately in my job I often get access to free thumb drives, so I make good use of them, but also have to make sure they are secure in case they go missing.

Offline derajer

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Re: Encryption of Bug Info materials
« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2009, 07:31:36 AM »

Offline ColdHaven

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Re: Encryption of Bug Info materials
« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2009, 07:46:36 PM »
In my opinion phone numbers and such should be on your SOP in your BOB as a hard copy. It depends on the info you have on your flashdrive and its intended purpose.

There is freeware that can use your print function to make free PDF files. Here is the link: http://www.pdf995.com/

roof_top_eagle

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Re: Encryption of Bug Info materials
« Reply #9 on: September 25, 2009, 01:08:40 AM »
One thing you can do is buy a PDA and make all your docs PDF files and you can read it on your PDA and encrypt the file at the same time.  I'm thinking of buying a cheap older HP Ipaq to keep all kinds of info in my BOB in the good old PDF format so I can read it and not have to carry a massive book with me of information.  Plus I can encrypt it all.

Offline Steve W

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Re: Encryption of Bug Info materials
« Reply #10 on: September 25, 2009, 05:47:41 AM »
What about non-electronic storage of the data in Encrypted or Obscured form?

There are a lot of techniques to do this at either level.

I am uncomfortable to have to have access to a powered device to access critical information, and always consider even encrypted electronic copies a temporary.


Offline ClarkB

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Re: Encryption of Bug Info materials
« Reply #11 on: September 25, 2009, 10:04:02 AM »
An encrypted flash drive with survival info is an excellent idea, but it is very vulnerable to the need for a computer, electricity, and the time to access it.  You will also need a printer if you want to refer to the info without a PC.  I would not depend upon any electronic media as a real survival tool.  If an EMP hits then none of it will work, so just keep lengthy reference info, survival books, etc. on the flash drive.  Keep the bugout plan, contact info, etc in a printed format.   

To encrypt the printed material I recommend using a "book code" because it is easy to understand, and is impossible to decipher if a person doesn't know which book to use.  In a book code, each letter is represented by a number referring to a page, line, and number of characters from the left (or right) margin to find the letter.  You can have rules such as a page offset, so that the page number starts from page 99 or whatever.  Who could blame you for having a novel, or a survival book, or a bible in your BOB.  They will not suspet that it is also a code key.  Addresses and phone numbers can be obscured from non-sophisticated attempts to decode them by simple substitution or or mathematical code.  For instance, each non-zero number could be subtracted from ten to get the correct number.  Therefore, a phone number of 890-3421 would be encoded as 210-7689.  Since these are numbers, not words, then character frequency substitution won't work to crack the numbers.

I would suggest multiple modes of info storage, and different modes of encryption, depending upon the info's tactical importance or need to be readily available.  They needn't be too complicated, and the keys to the info only need to be known by members of your group.  You definitely do not want the way to grandma's house stored only on a flash drive.

Offline Steve W

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Re: Encryption of Bug Info materials
« Reply #12 on: September 25, 2009, 10:31:21 AM »
To encrypt the printed material I recommend using a "book code" because it is easy to understand, and is impossible to decipher if a person doesn't know which book to use. 

One of the reasons security teams usually take any books off detainees is "book code" concerns.  They know that if you do not have the exact same text, you can't decode.

There are some reasons, including memorization needs if traveling absolutely as light as possible becomes an issue, to use simpler formulas for obscuring or encrypting Bug Out level information.


Offline Cacinok

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Re: Encryption of Bug Info materials
« Reply #13 on: September 25, 2009, 11:13:44 AM »
Oh, I know I can pop it in to any system, I was just thinking I may need that info while on a 3 hour drive to the BOL or caught at my office with no power.  Situations like that.   I will still go the flashdrive route and maybe distribute some to family and friends outside the area, then as long as I can get a phone call out I can have them tap into all that info, would be an nice back up system.  I will still go with at least a limited hard copy packet and apply some encryption formula to the more sensitive data.  Taking more care in its location in the vehicle would help too, rather than just throwing it in my glove box.

Thanks for the blog suggestion.

ah, got ya.  fraser's post would be my response.  since the docs are already in a PDF format, then put them on a microsd card and load it into your PDA or phone (e.g., crackberry).  i'm not sure how encryption would work w/ these devices, however.

if you think you'll need it en route, then have it on a laptop.  my main computer is my tablet - 3 lbs, touch screen.  i plan on taking it as part of my bug out gear.  it'll serve as a map/gps/document repository, etc.  i can recharge/power it  through a 12v cigarette lighter. my wife has a netbook, we paid $300 for it.  it's 3 lbs, as well, has a massive harddrive and about a 6 hour battery. 

@clark, i'm not entirely sure that an EMP will destroy computers - i have read conflicting info.  electricity to power a computer and printer would be minimal and you could get it through a small inverter connected to a car battery.  this would give you enough time to print out all of the important docs.  even if the car wasn't running the battery should last long enough to print out the important stuff.  but i do agree, it's best to have redundant copies electronic and otherwise.

Offline donaldj

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Re: Encryption of Bug Info materials
« Reply #14 on: September 25, 2009, 11:21:00 AM »
I have a ton of materials on my hard drive regarding preparedness that I have been thinking about encrypting. If something ever happened, the Powers That Be might decide to market the material to the press that "the suspect's computer was seized and large amounts of paramilitary and survival materials were found."

Not that they wouldn't just lie to paint a picture, but at least this way it would be a lie...



roof_top_eagle

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Re: Encryption of Bug Info materials
« Reply #15 on: September 25, 2009, 12:51:51 PM »
I have a ton of materials on my hard drive regarding preparedness that I have been thinking about encrypting. If something ever happened, the Powers That Be might decide to market the material to the press that "the suspect's computer was seized and large amounts of paramilitary and survival materials were found."

Not that they wouldn't just lie to paint a picture, but at least this way it would be a lie...




If that is what you are worried about this would be my first suggetion...keep all your survival info on a flashdrive that is encrypted and has a couple basic safety features.  Feature #1 is a kill code.  Basically it's a second password that fries the flashdrive and "Shreds" the information to the best level possible (I find random 1s and 0s to be a great "shred") What this does is it copies over all the information on your flashdrive with random 1s and 0s so that you can't go back and look at the information with a recovery tool.  Remember everything is on a memory stick or hard drive until it is overwritten even if you hit delete!

The second piece of basic security for this flash drive is easier to do.  Basically it does the same as the "kill code" but after the drive has been given the wrong password a set amount of times.  (The standards are 5 and 10 failed attempts)

By keeping your information on a separate drive and not on your computer is the feds wont see it on the computer and if they tell you to give them the password to your drive (if they find it :D) you give them the kill code.  They instantly can't use any of the data on your drive.  Or if they try and access it and fail to access it say 10 times, the drive becomes useless.

I'm not a member of the tin foil hat brigade I swear  ::) I just know computers  8)

Offline idelphic

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Re: Encryption of Bug Info materials
« Reply #16 on: September 25, 2009, 02:18:59 PM »
Many of my programs I use now are 'Portable Apps' from www.portableapps.com, which allows me a bit of mobility with my preferred applications and documents.  One of the 'issues' I have right now is that my primary core files are larger then the thumb drive... 

I have been looking at TruCrypt, and have used KeyPass for the office.  With the number of different systems at work that require passwords,..  I can't keep them all in my head.

I like Ironkey - but my luck is that I would forget the passcode and burn my own data.

roof_top_eagle

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Re: Encryption of Bug Info materials
« Reply #17 on: September 26, 2009, 04:03:57 AM »
Many of my programs I use now are 'Portable Apps' from www.portableapps.com, which allows me a bit of mobility with my preferred applications and documents.  One of the 'issues' I have right now is that my primary core files are larger then the thumb drive... 

I have been looking at TruCrypt, and have used KeyPass for the office.  With the number of different systems at work that require passwords,..  I can't keep them all in my head.

I like Ironkey - but my luck is that I would forget the passcode and burn my own data.

If you like portable apps you will love sandisks U3 drives like the cruzer.  It has a little dashboard for quick and easy access of your applications.  In addition they have even more portable applications than portableapps.com.  You can get a Sandisk Cruzer U3 with 32GB but it is costly, still much cheaper than an Ironkey and it has a built in security system which you can shut off if you want.

Check out http://www.u3.com/

Where's my tin foil hat brigade members ring  ??? Isn't the default that computer geeks are a member  :D

Offline Steve W

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Re: Encryption of Bug Info materials
« Reply #18 on: September 26, 2009, 09:51:06 AM »
I feel like I am being gypped in life, as I can't think of anything I have that needs "strong encryption" for securement.   :-X  ::)

The usual (non-government) test for encryption level needed is a multifaceted weighing of sensitivity, value of maintained secrecy, loss of value on disclosure, access requirements, and portability needs.

If it isn't sensitive, you may only need to obscure it or it may well have zero protection needs on the later tests.

If you don't get any value in protecting it (like if it is already widely known information, or information you would be assumed to have already) why bother with encryption?

If you loose protection and nothing would happen because of it, why protect?

If your expected time to access is quicker than decryption might allow for, perhaps physical protection or obscuring techniques might be better.

If you may need to go portable into environments where the media can't go with you, or may become inaccessible, then alternatives may be in order.

Some people cache their personal data, some obscure it, some work it into memory (perhaps with memory aids), some in the end do have a need to encrypt & carry.

Just remember if you are detained with encrypted data, or data that does a self-destruct, your period of examination & likely detention will most likely be longer.  The operative you are dealing with is likely to hand you & your data issues to higher ups.  You will likely be detained while those higher authorities decide if you are of interest.  In the worse cases you may be detained as a precaution for some period of time.

There is no easier way to make yourself suspect than to act in a suspicious way.  Discovered encryption may be seen as suspicious, self-deleting data almost certainly will get you higher scrutiny, as well as denying you further use of that set of data if released.





Offline idelphic

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Re: Encryption of Bug Info materials
« Reply #19 on: September 26, 2009, 03:20:33 PM »
Frazer -
  Nearly all of my experience with U3 is that it forces it's application to install - I suppose if I really wanted to spend the time to tweak my systems and the U3 drives,..  I guess I could make it work..  Portable apps does have a user Interface,.. similar to U3..Including a back up application, encryption, and keyfault.

Offline Steve W

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Re: Encryption of Bug Info materials
« Reply #20 on: September 26, 2009, 06:58:18 PM »
  Nearly all of my experience with U3 is that it forces it's application to install - I suppose if I really wanted to spend the time to tweak my systems and the U3 drives,..  I guess I could make it work..  Portable apps does have a user Interface,.. similar to U3..Including a back up application, encryption, and keyfault.

U3 leaves a lot to be desired, and the replacement StartKey was announced 2 years ago, bringing development to a halt.

There are options like LiberKey and AccessApps http://www.liberkey.com/en/ and http://www.rsc-ne-scotland.ac.uk/eduapps/download.php but they suffer many of the same limitations as U3.

Most are unable to do multi-platform and as usually a Tech looking at a storage device will first pull a clone with software specialized to do this (or use a Linux or OS-X box if they are cheap or don't have the resources) your device based date-wipe app will likely never run.



Offline shadowalker_returns

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Re: Encryption of Bug Info materials
« Reply #21 on: September 26, 2009, 07:31:23 PM »
Jack mentioned at one point of a good way to encrypt the materials - phone numbers, bank accounts, etc. that you might keep in your car or bug out bag.  I think he said he would put this in MSB, but I haven't seen it there.  Any one have suggestions?  Private msg of specifics would be best i guess.

I have been hesitant to leave info like this in my car.  Last night confirmed these fears...  i guy broke into several cars on our street last night.  The only thing missing from our car, was the envelope with our insurance and registration in it.  He dug through everything else but left all the cd's, Leatherman, etc.

Let me know your thoughts on encryption.

I take it your car did not have a modern alarm system on it? Get your car properly alarmed. If a thief can enter your car without your knowledge then so can a murder/rapist/kidnapper... After a house your cars are probably your most expensive and difficult to replace possessions. Protect them.
 By the way let your insurance company know what was stolen. With you insurance and registration he can file a false claim or sell it to attorneys who file false claims. They just say you agreed to pay them yourself instead of using your insurance but you failed to do so. There are other scams as well, they need to know. Also check your title. False sales and title documents are another problem. You don't want someone saying you failed to repay a "title" loan you never made.

Regards,
Shadowalker

Offline mxitman

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Re: Encryption of Bug Info materials
« Reply #22 on: September 26, 2009, 10:56:00 PM »
there is some easy basic encryption codes that you can do your self, say you and your wife's social security numbers are; 515-77-9231 & 701-02-7602. you can do a +1/-1 method and swap every other number. so 515 & 701 are now 696 & 800 (5 + 1, take the 2nd number from the other social number which is 0 subtract 1 = 9, etc. it takes  awhile but is pretty damn secure. I find it just as easy to use the +1,+2,+3 or combinations like that, just write it down somewhere at the top or bottom of the page for you own reference. I use my code as the date (4-2-03) .. ;D Can also use simple replacement using you phone number, say your area code 206, just add those numbers every 3, easy to remember that way. 515-77-9231 becomes 711-97-5437.... lots of ways to do it without computers!

Offline bartsdad

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Re: Encryption of Bug Info materials
« Reply #23 on: September 27, 2009, 12:03:07 AM »
For printed info, the +1/-1 type is good, just set up a standard for the family and use it. Also the insertion of a check digit that is your deviation is a good way to throw off people and add an extra level protection to your printed info.

You could also use color to show different levels of deviation. Red numbers are plus 2 and yellow are plus 3

Offline cartpusher

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Re: Encryption of Bug Info materials
« Reply #24 on: September 27, 2009, 05:50:37 AM »
Thanks for all the great ideas.   You folks make this forum an incredible resource!


Offline Steve W

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Re: Encryption of Bug Info materials
« Reply #25 on: September 27, 2009, 08:38:31 AM »
there is some easy basic encryption codes that you can do your self, say you and your wife's social security numbers are; 515-77-9231 & 701-02-7602. you can do a +1/-1 method and swap every other number. so 515 & 701 are now 696 & 800 (5 + 1, take the 2nd number from the other social number which is 0 subtract 1 = 9, etc. it takes  awhile but is pretty damn secure. I find it just as easy to use the +1,+2,+3 or combinations like that, just write it down somewhere at the top or bottom of the page for you own reference. I use my code as the date (4-2-03) .. ;D Can also use simple replacement using you phone number, say your area code 206, just add those numbers every 3, easy to remember that way. 515-77-9231 becomes 711-97-5437.... lots of ways to do it without computers!

Developing a "Personal Hash" is an excellent way to obscure information.

Also presenting information in a format usually used for something else is not bad.

It is useful to keep it simple enough that you can "decode" on the fly, as having to cypher & write down the result is a risk in both time and security of the clear text copy.

Using a "Personal Hash" for password creation is also a decent idea.  One of the Episodes of "Security Now!" speaks at length on "Personal Hashes." (see/listen to episodes #4 & #5 at:  http://www.grc.com/securitynow.htm)

For most uses a full blown cryptographic process is overkill, but light level systems of obscuring data can make a lot of sense.





Offline donaldj

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Re: Encryption of Bug Info materials
« Reply #26 on: September 27, 2009, 07:05:24 PM »
If that is what you are worried about this would be my first suggetion...keep all your survival info on a flashdrive that is encrypted and has a couple basic safety features.  Feature #1 is a kill code.  Basically it's a second password that fries the flashdrive and "Shreds" the information to the best level possible (I find random 1s and 0s to be a great "shred") What this does is it copies over all the information on your flashdrive with random 1s and 0s so that you can't go back and look at the information with a recovery tool.  Remember everything is on a memory stick or hard drive until it is overwritten even if you hit delete!

The data I'd want to shred is easily replaceable by scrounging the internet. I'm just worried about being in possession of local versions should data searches start happening.

I have a USB hard drive with 80 GB of space. Can I install the "kill code" and the password protect on it? If so, how?


Thanks!
Don

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Re: Encryption of Bug Info materials
« Reply #27 on: September 28, 2009, 12:12:21 AM »
Just make sure the password is something you can easily remember and that it is a good solid password.

One of the easiest ways to do this is with your favorite song.  For instance, suppose your favorite song is "My Heart Will Go On" by Celine Dion (heh :D).  Pick your favorite line of that song, then take the first letter of each word to make a string of letters.  So in MHWGO, you might pick "Every night in my dreams, I see you, I feel you", thus making the text string "EnimdIsyIfy".  Be sure to keep the capital letters or feel free to add more (maybe every other letter), as this will make your password more secure by making it case-sensitive.  Now find the year that this song was first published and add that to the beginning of the string.  So for our example, the string would now be "1997EnimdIsyIfy".  To add the final layer of security, you can use the same year or pick some other important year (Maybe the first year you heard it, or for our example, the year when you played it for your prom date.  Don't act like you didn't do it; I know you did, it's just part of growing up in the 90s  ;D).  For this year, hold down shift while you press the numbers.  So say you picked 1998, it would now be !((* .   Then add this to the end of the string you already have.  NOTE:  This is by far the hardest part to remember if you are on a device without a typical keyboard (iPhones, etc.), so be sure to pay attention to the symbols!.  Now, our string is " 1997EnimdIsyIfy!((* ".

By using your favorite line of your favorite song, you have a password that is really easy to remember, but doesn't have the typical failures of such passwords since it's not a real word or phrase.  It also makes it easy to remember where the captial letters are.  By using the dates and shift key, you greatly increase the possible values for each part of the password without greatly increasing the difficulty.  You only have to work hard at remembering a short part of the full phrase.  If I remember correctly, the total number of possible values is given by x N, where x is the total number of characters in the string and N is the total number of possible values.  Since our string is 20 characters long, and since we are using a total of 72 possible values for each slot (26 lowercase + 26 uppercase + 10 numbers + 10 characters), we have a total of 4.72236648×1093 possible values, which is possibly a few digits bigger than most of our paychecks :P.  That kind of password is still crackable, but not without some serious NSA-style computing firepower.  If you've upset the Feds that much, you're probably SOL anyway, so I can't help you there.  But if you just want to make sure that regular script kiddies and h4x0r5 can't steal your valuable info and damage you or your family, this should be pretty much invulnerable* if used correctly.

Hope this helps!

*Only to hacking by password cracking.  There's still plenty of other ways to access your data like sniffing your packets while on a wireless connection, spoofing your MAC address and IP, etc., so be sure to have a well-rounded and well-organized cybersecurity plan.

Tommy Jefferson

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Re: Encryption of Bug Info materials
« Reply #28 on: September 04, 2010, 09:33:23 AM »
Using TruCrypt is rather involved.  I was using GPG, but lately I've started using PeaZip.

PeaZip
  • can extract most of archive formats, including 7Z, RAR, TAR, ZIP and more.
  • Has a portable version.
  • Has secure deletion feature
  • Can use AES256 encryption, WinZip's AE encryption, Blowfish, Twofish256 and Serpent256
  • Is Free as in freedom
  • Contains exclusively Open Source components
  • Can create split archives of the size you specify (CD, DVD, etc.)
  • Can reate self-extracting archives
I have it on both my Windows and Linux machines.  I keep it on all my USB sticks.  Zip/Encrypting a file to burn it on a DVD or email it to myself is super fast and easy.  I really like the interface.  Give it a try.

http://portableapps.com/apps/utilities/peazip_portable

http://peazip.sourceforge.net