USB drives are useful for carrying data, but if you are carrying some private or top secret data then you need to keep it secure from any threat. Now flash drives are getting smaller, and your sensitive data can easily reach in wrong hands if you forget it somewhere. To avoid getting into these awkward situations, you need to protect your data. There are ways through which you can encrypt your data with password protection so that even if anyone finds your flash drive, (s)he will not be able to get access to your precious data.
Method 1: Secure your documents
If you do all your important work in MS Word which you don’t want anyone to peek into then, there is a feature in MS Office which enables you to protect the document. Follow the instructions to secure your MS Word documents:
- Open the file you want to secure.
- Go to File > Save as and click on Protect Document then Encrypt with Password.
- Type in the desired password in the pop-up window and click OK.
- Now your document is password protected and encrypted and no one can preview or edit it without the password.
Now you don’t need to keep your flash drive in a locker to protect your sensitive data. You should have a backup of all your documents in the cloud or on your PC, just in case.
Method 2: Encrypt your data with a software
There are lots of software available on the internet that can encrypt your data files with a password and secure your files so that nobody can ever access your files even if your USB flash drive is stolen.
VeraCrypt (Free | Windows, Mac, Linux):
Veracrypt like every other encryption software does the same thing that is encryption. The best feature is that VeraCrypt comes with support for Windows, Mac OS, and Linux, so you can access your data anywhere.
- Install and Run VeraCrypt from your desktop.
- Select the file you want to encrypt and save to the USB drive.
- Click on “Select Device” and choose the disk you want to encrypt.
- Now click on “Volume Tools” and then “Change Volume Password”.
- Fill in the password and all select the options you desire.
- Finally, click on “OK”.
The drawback of VeraCrypt is that to decrypt your files on another computer you need to install it there also.
Download VeraCrypt (13.3 MB)
StorageCrypt (Free | Windows):
Another encryption tool which is paid with a simple user interface. StorageCrypt uses 128 bit AES encryption (Advanced Encryption Standard) for best security ever. StorageCrypt comes with the 7-day trial so you can try it before you buy it.
- Download and install StorageCrypt on your PC.
- Launch it from a desktop.
- Select the USB drive from the first section.
- Type and retype the password in the second section.
- In the Encryption Mode section, select the type of encryption (quick encryption takes less time than the Deep Encryption), also select the “Full” portable mode so you can decrypt your files on other computers too.
- Finally, click on Encrypt.
- When encryption completes, the StorageCrypt will notify you.
Now your data is more secure than ever; no one can decrypt your data without the password.
Download StorageCrypt (3.4 MB)
Method 3: The solution lies within
You can straight away buy an encrypted drive to leave all that software thing behind. Encryption drives are obviously costlier than the regular flash drives; the cost is the software that came with it and also the features that you are getting. When you copy your data to these flash drives, then the data straight away will get encrypted.
Some good secure flash drives:
IronKey Enterprise S1000:
IronKey Enterprise S1000 is the best option for the secure flash drive, and the best feature of IronKey is that it comes in many sizes, and you can have an IronKey flash drive up to 128GB. IronKey uses hardware encryption which is the best option for encryption because it’s the fast and safe type of encryption.
Imation Defender also is on the top of the list, but it doesn’t come in various sizes to choose, you’ll only get 4GB in it but the encryption this pen drive uses is hardware encryption, which I told you before is the best encryption. This flash drive comes with a fingerprint scanner, so you don’t need to read the manual for changing or setting the password for the first time.
If you keep your data security above money, then you should go for the flash drives with security which will encrypt your data as soon as you copy it to a flash drive. But if you are looking for a free way to encrypt your data using your same USB drive, then you should go for any freeware listed above.