Secure Your Cloud-Based Files with VeraCrypt–Part 1

The technology train is heading to the "Cloud". It won't be too long before it will be unusual to store data on your computer (for many, including myself, that day has already come.) But what about data security on the cloud?

Storing data in the cloud (DropBox, Google Drive, SugarSync, Box, etc.) may present a privacy and security issue for some people–particularly those in need of HIPAA compliance, adherence to ABA or SEC guidelines, and anyone concerned about the security and privacy of their data. While you have total control over your computer and the level of security applied to it, the data placed in the cloud doesn't necessarily have that control. Your data stored in the cloud can be accessed, viewed, and perhaps altered or destroyed in a number of ways:

  • The staff at any cloud service may have the ability to view, steal, and alter your files.
  • Malware and hackers can penetrate any system. Should it penetrate your cloud service, it may harvest all of your data and send it back to the hacker.
  • Government requests for information or national security letters can force a cloud service to turn over all of your data.

There are several options to fend off these attacks. They all come down to encrypting your data at your computer so that those with access to your files are unable to read them. One of our favorites is to use VeraCrypt <http://veracrypt.codeplex.com>.

VeraCrypt is a disk encryption utility, not a file encryption tool. This means that VeraCrypt creates a virtual disk (called a "container") in which you may place an unlimited number of files, folders, and applications. Assuming the use of a strong password, the container is immune from brute force and sophisticated attacks.

Although there are simpler options, I like VeraCrypt as it has been independently verified to have no back doors or other (discovered) areas of vulnerability.

Oh, and did I mention that VeraCrypt is free? We like free - when it doesn't come at the cost of security and quality.

Versions are available for Linux, OS X, and Windows. If you wish to use VeraCrypt to secure data on the cloud, and then access this data from a mobile device, Android users can use EDS (Encrypted Data Store), and iOS users have Disk Decipher.

Our next few blogs will detail how to install VeraCrypt, and how to use it to secure your cloud-based data.

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