VeraCrypt Disk Encryption Utility For Windows, A TrueCrypt Alternative

VeraCrypt is an on-the-fly encryption utility, a fork of TrueCrypt. A software fork means that the software is using the source code of the original but it’s not a clone.

Before we talk more about VeraCrypt, here’s what happened to the original TrueCrypt software. TrueCrypt (discontinued now by its original developers) was the most popular encryption software. The sudden abandon of the open source project left many speculations and even led to many conspiracy theories. Official TrueCrypt website started redirecting to SourceForge page. Official announcement stated that TrueCrypt is “not secure” and may have “security issues.” The developers even asked users to use Microsoft Windows BitLocker to encrypt data. The internet was abuzz about the sudden death of the popular project. Many infosec people started suggesting TrueCrypt alternatives. Since VeraCrypt is a fork of TrueCrypt, users may consider it as a good alternative of TrueCrypt.

Use TrueCrypt Alternative VeraCrypt Disk-Encryption Utility

VeraCrypt offers features that are same as seen in TrueCrypt but adds security enhancements. It allows creation of encrypted containers on hard drives. It also allows disk partition or hard drives including system partition encryption. According to the developer of VeraCrypt, IDRIX, the enhancements protects from modern brute-force attacks.

VeraCrypt a TrueCrypt alternative

The security enhancements do adds extra overhead and thus has some disadvantages. The developer admits that encrypted partition takes little longer to open. Yet, the actual performance of mounted encrypted drives is not affected. He is confident that users will accept the delay since it makes it harder for attackers to gain access or decrypt the encrypted data.

The real issue is not related to the delay but the fact that VeraCrypt format is not compatible with the TrueCrypt storage format. This may cause problem with the mass adoption of VeraCrypt. Users may either search for another alternative or find a way to convert TrueCrypt encrypted data to VeraCrypt. Further, GPT partitions and UEFI are not supported yet by the encryption software. Although the developer says that work is going on to support them but a release date is not available at the time of writing. VeraCrypt’s active development may make it a good, if not the best TrueCrypt alternative.

Or Use TrueCrypt (Revived from death)?

On another thought, some users may still continue using a version resurrected from the ashes of TrueCrypt. Two developers came forward to revive development of the disk-encryption software. Thomas Bruderer and Joseph Doekbrijder together launched truecrypt.ch. They hosted the project in Switzerland, to avoid some legal problems arising from TrueCrypt license. Users can download the last working version, TrueCrypt 7.1a, from the website. Have anything interesting to add about the software or TrueCrypt itself? Share your thoughts below in the comments.

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