Securing a USB stick

Discussion in 'Computer Security' started by Stephen Poley, Sep 2, 2006.

  1. With there having been some fairly high-publicity incidents involving
    people losing unencrypted USB sticks with sensitive information, I had
    expected that Internet would now be full of explanations of how to do a
    good job of encrypting files on them. But not that I can find.

    I have been hunting for a good solution for a while. But everything I've
    looked at so far suffers from at least one of the following problems:

    1) the encryption program has to be already installed on every computer
    where one will use the USB stick (or at least one has to have admin
    privileges on every computer); one can't run it directly from the USB
    stick;

    2) the program does not state which encryption algorithm is used (which
    typically means it's a useless home-brew job) or its security is
    otherwise in question;

    3) when encrypting a directory tree, all the files are thrown into a
    single directory, making the extraction of a single file a pain.

    Can anyone recommend a product which doesn't suffer from these problems?

    --
    Stephen Poley
     
    Stephen Poley, Sep 2, 2006
    #1
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  2. Stephen Poley

    Jon Guest

    Stephen Poley wrote:
    > With there having been some fairly high-publicity incidents involving
    > people losing unencrypted USB sticks with sensitive information, I had
    > expected that Internet would now be full of explanations of how to do a
    > good job of encrypting files on them. But not that I can find.
    >
    > I have been hunting for a good solution for a while. But everything I've
    > looked at so far suffers from at least one of the following problems:
    >
    > 1) the encryption program has to be already installed on every computer
    > where one will use the USB stick (or at least one has to have admin
    > privileges on every computer); one can't run it directly from the USB
    > stick;
    >
    > 2) the program does not state which encryption algorithm is used (which
    > typically means it's a useless home-brew job) or its security is
    > otherwise in question;
    >
    > 3) when encrypting a directory tree, all the files are thrown into a
    > single directory, making the extraction of a single file a pain.
    >
    > Can anyone recommend a product which doesn't suffer from these problems?
    >
    > --
    > Stephen Poley


    Check AxCrypt

    http://axcrypt.axantum.com/
     
    Jon, Sep 2, 2006
    #2
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  3. On 2 Sep 2006 11:30:36 -0700, "Jon" <> wrote:

    >Stephen Poley wrote:
    >> I have been hunting for a good solution for a while. But everything I've
    >> looked at so far suffers from at least one of the following problems:
    >>
    >> 1) the encryption program has to be already installed on every computer
    >> where one will use the USB stick (or at least one has to have admin
    >> privileges on every computer); one can't run it directly from the USB
    >> stick;
    >>
    >> 2) the program does not state which encryption algorithm is used (which
    >> typically means it's a useless home-brew job) or its security is
    >> otherwise in question;
    >>
    >> 3) when encrypting a directory tree, all the files are thrown into a
    >> single directory, making the extraction of a single file a pain.
    >>
    >> Can anyone recommend a product which doesn't suffer from these problems?


    >Check AxCrypt
    >
    >http://axcrypt.axantum.com/


    Thanks - I'll give it a try.

    --
    Stephen Poley
     
    Stephen Poley, Sep 3, 2006
    #3
  4. On 2 Sep 2006 11:30:36 -0700, "Jon" <> wrote:

    >Stephen Poley wrote:
    >> I have been hunting for a good solution for a while. But everything I've
    >> looked at so far suffers from at least one of the following problems:
    >>
    >> 1) the encryption program has to be already installed on every computer
    >> where one will use the USB stick (or at least one has to have admin
    >> privileges on every computer); one can't run it directly from the USB
    >> stick;
    >>
    >> 2) the program does not state which encryption algorithm is used (which
    >> typically means it's a useless home-brew job) or its security is
    >> otherwise in question;
    >>
    >> 3) when encrypting a directory tree, all the files are thrown into a
    >> single directory, making the extraction of a single file a pain.
    >>
    >> Can anyone recommend a product which doesn't suffer from these problems?


    >
    >Check AxCrypt
    >
    >http://axcrypt.axantum.com/


    Reading the "How to Use" and "Registry" sections there, it looks to me
    very much as if this program also must be installed on every computer on
    which it is used. Or have I missed something?

    --
    Stephen Poley
     
    Stephen Poley, Sep 3, 2006
    #4
  5. Stephen Poley

    Jon Guest

    Stephen Poley wrote:
    > On 2 Sep 2006 11:30:36 -0700, "Jon" <> wrote:
    >
    > >Stephen Poley wrote:
    > >> I have been hunting for a good solution for a while. But everything I've
    > >> looked at so far suffers from at least one of the following problems:
    > >>
    > >> 1) the encryption program has to be already installed on every computer
    > >> where one will use the USB stick (or at least one has to have admin
    > >> privileges on every computer); one can't run it directly from the USB
    > >> stick;
    > >>
    > >> 2) the program does not state which encryption algorithm is used (which
    > >> typically means it's a useless home-brew job) or its security is
    > >> otherwise in question;
    > >>
    > >> 3) when encrypting a directory tree, all the files are thrown into a
    > >> single directory, making the extraction of a single file a pain.
    > >>
    > >> Can anyone recommend a product which doesn't suffer from these problems?

    >
    > >
    > >Check AxCrypt
    > >
    > >http://axcrypt.axantum.com/

    >
    > Reading the "How to Use" and "Registry" sections there, it looks to me
    > very much as if this program also must be installed on every computer on
    > which it is used. Or have I missed something?
    >
    > --
    > Stephen Poley


    The Decrypter (AxDecrypt.exe) is portable. Just copy it to your thumb
    drive. I use it that way.
     
    Jon, Sep 3, 2006
    #5
  6. Adrian Earnshaw, Sep 3, 2006
    #6
  7. Stephen Poley

    Jon Guest

    Jon wrote:
    > Stephen Poley wrote:
    > > On 2 Sep 2006 11:30:36 -0700, "Jon" <> wrote:
    > >
    > > >Stephen Poley wrote:
    > > >> I have been hunting for a good solution for a while. But everything I've
    > > >> looked at so far suffers from at least one of the following problems:
    > > >>
    > > >> 1) the encryption program has to be already installed on every computer
    > > >> where one will use the USB stick (or at least one has to have admin
    > > >> privileges on every computer); one can't run it directly from the USB
    > > >> stick;
    > > >>
    > > >> 2) the program does not state which encryption algorithm is used (which
    > > >> typically means it's a useless home-brew job) or its security is
    > > >> otherwise in question;
    > > >>
    > > >> 3) when encrypting a directory tree, all the files are thrown into a
    > > >> single directory, making the extraction of a single file a pain.
    > > >>
    > > >> Can anyone recommend a product which doesn't suffer from these problems?

    > >
    > > >
    > > >Check AxCrypt
    > > >
    > > >http://axcrypt.axantum.com/

    > >
    > > Reading the "How to Use" and "Registry" sections there, it looks to me
    > > very much as if this program also must be installed on every computer on
    > > which it is used. Or have I missed something?
    > >
    > > --
    > > Stephen Poley

    >
    > The Decrypter (AxDecrypt.exe) is portable. Just copy it to your thumb
    > drive. I use it that way.


    Excuse me, "portable" is incorrect. It will work on any Windows system
    as described above.
     
    Jon, Sep 3, 2006
    #7
  8. Stephen Poley

    ~David~ Guest

    Stephen Poley wrote:
    > With there having been some fairly high-publicity incidents involving
    > people losing unencrypted USB sticks with sensitive information, I had
    > expected that Internet would now be full of explanations of how to do a
    > good job of encrypting files on them. But not that I can find.
    >
    > I have been hunting for a good solution for a while. But everything I've
    > looked at so far suffers from at least one of the following problems:
    >
    > 1) the encryption program has to be already installed on every computer
    > where one will use the USB stick (or at least one has to have admin
    > privileges on every computer); one can't run it directly from the USB
    > stick;
    >
    > 2) the program does not state which encryption algorithm is used (which
    > typically means it's a useless home-brew job) or its security is
    > otherwise in question;
    >
    > 3) when encrypting a directory tree, all the files are thrown into a
    > single directory, making the extraction of a single file a pain.
    >
    > Can anyone recommend a product which doesn't suffer from these problems?
    >


    truecrypt.org

    You can put it on a usb drive and it has a linux version. AFAIK there is no
    program that will work on "vanilla" windows because by default windows does not
    have a built in encryption program that deals with files/directories, so what
    ever solution you use needs to have the executable (and any dll's or support
    files) on the usb drive.
     
    ~David~, Sep 5, 2006
    #8
  9. On Tue, 05 Sep 2006 00:00:59 GMT, ~David~ <> wrote:

    >Stephen Poley wrote:


    >> Can anyone recommend a product which doesn't suffer from these problems?
    >>


    >truecrypt.org
    >
    >You can put it on a usb drive and it has a linux version. AFAIK there is no
    >program that will work on "vanilla" windows because by default windows does not
    >have a built in encryption program that deals with files/directories, so what
    >ever solution you use needs to have the executable (and any dll's or support
    >files) on the usb drive.


    Er, yes - that's the point. I want the executables etc on the USB drive
    and to be able to run them from there.

    Truecrypt is one of the programs I have already looked at and rejected,
    because either it must already be installed, or you need admin rights.

    --
    Stephen Poley
     
    Stephen Poley, Sep 5, 2006
    #9
  10. Stephen Poley

    Roger Parks Guest

    On Tue, 05 Sep 2006 12:16:04 -0400, Stephen Poley
    <> wrote:

    >
    > Er, yes - that's the point. I want the executables etc on the USB drive
    > and to be able to run them from there.
    >
    > Truecrypt is one of the programs I have already looked at and rejected,
    > because either it must already be installed, or you need admin rights.
    >


    You might be interested in the following links. First deals conceptually
    with TC on a self-contained USB (uses QEMU, a VM and DSL Linux OS). Second
    is
    a link to a free download for USB that contains everything (I think)
    except for TC - which you would install yourself (and then move everything
    "sensitive" (e.g. mail client, browser, etc.) into the TC directory).

    - I tried an early version of PVPM and it left almost NO trace on my W2K
    machine - only a single registry entry that provided no information.

    - It'll work without admin privileges (on 2K)

    - If you run with this, how about posting your findings here!?

    HTTP://forums.truecrypt.org/viewtopic.php?t=3194

    HTTP://www.metropipe.net/pvpm.php

    I believe that DSL actually maintains a QEMU/DSL USB download somewhere;
    you might start with metropipe and update the components from the DSL
    version
    (or vice versa)
     
    Roger Parks, Sep 5, 2006
    #10
  11. On Tue, 05 Sep 2006 13:50:24 -0400, "Roger Parks" <>
    wrote:

    >On Tue, 05 Sep 2006 12:16:04 -0400, Stephen Poley
    ><> wrote:
    >
    >>
    >> Er, yes - that's the point. I want the executables etc on the USB drive
    >> and to be able to run them from there.
    >>
    >> Truecrypt is one of the programs I have already looked at and rejected,
    >> because either it must already be installed, or you need admin rights.
    >>

    >
    >You might be interested in the following links. First deals conceptually
    >with TC on a self-contained USB (uses QEMU, a VM and DSL Linux OS).


    Thanks for that. However it does look rather like a sledgehammer for
    what I had hoped would be a nut. I think I've found a simpler solution
    (see other post).

    --
    Stephen Poley
     
    Stephen Poley, Sep 12, 2006
    #11
  12. On Sun, 03 Sep 2006 17:09:55 +0100, Adrian Earnshaw
    <> wrote:

    >You may want to look at this site:-
    >
    >http://www.portablefreeware.com/?q=encryption&m=Search
    >
    >hope this helps.



    Thanks for that. Having looked at some of those, Blowfish Advanced CS -
    http://www.hotpixel.net/software.html - seems to do what I need. Can
    anyone provide any feedback on it? I understand the Blowfish algorithm
    itself is well thought of, but I couldn't immediately find any informed
    comment on this implementation.

    The stuff I'm encrypting isn't of great sensitivity, but it does belong
    to clients, so I don't want to use a program which is known to have
    significant flaws.

    --
    Stephen Poley
     
    Stephen Poley, Sep 12, 2006
    #12
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