TrueCrypt is one of the nicest open-source encryption products I’ve tried in the last couple of years. If you have not heard of it or tried it, you should take a serious look at it! This past week, version 5.0 was released. While promising marked performance improvements and adding a Mac OSX version and GUI support for Linux, this version now supports full encryption for system partitions on Windows with pre-boot authentication! This means you have an open-source FDE (full disk encryption) option. This is good news indeed! Hopefully enterprise features can be added in the future. Kudos to the entire TrueCrypt development team!

From the release notes…

New features:

  • Ability to encrypt a system partition/drive (i.e. a partition/drive where Windows is installed) with pre-boot authentication (anyone who wants to gain access and use the system, read and write files, etc., needs to enter the correct password each time before the system starts). For more information, see the chapter System Encryption in the documentation. (Windows Vista/XP/2003)
  • Pipelined operations increasing read/write speed by up to 100% (Windows)
  • Mac OS X version
  • Graphical user interface for the Linux version of TrueCrypt
  • XTS mode of operation, which was designed by Phillip Rogaway in 2003 and which was recently approved as the IEEE 1619 standard for cryptographic protection of data on block-oriented storage devices. XTS is faster and more secure than LRW mode (for more information on XTS mode, see the section Modes of Operation in the documentation).Note: New volumes created by this version of TrueCrypt can be encrypted only in XTS mode. However, volumes created by previous versions of TrueCrypt can still be mounted using this version of TrueCrypt.
  • SHA-512 hash algorithm (replacing SHA-1, which is no longer available when creating new volumes).Note: To re-encrypt the header of an existing volume with a header key derived using HMAC-SHA-512 (PRF), select ‘Volumes‘ > ‘Set Header Key Derivation Algorithm‘.


Improvements, bug fixes, and security enhancements:

  • The Linux version of TrueCrypt has been redesigned so that it will no longer be affected by changes to the Linux kernel (kernel upgrades/updates).
  • Many other minor improvements, bug fixes, and security enhancements. (Windows and Linux)

If you are using an older version of TrueCrypt, it is strongly recommended that you upgrade to this version.

Advertisements