The importance of security should never be underestimated. The consequences of losing data can be disastrous for any organization. For example, the loss of a single unencrypted laptop may have huge repercussions. This could include breaching data protection legislation with the risk of a significant fine, a loss in the confidence of an organization, as well as the risk that sensitive data may fall into the hands of a competitor or third party with malicious intent.
Of course, whenever information is accessible, there is the risk of its loss. A misdirected fax or a misdelivered letter can lead to sensitive information being disclosed in error. But the severity and ramifications of that risk is exacerbated when the data is stored on a computer. Modern computer hard disks have the capacity to store a gargantuan amount of data. A single hard disk may hold personal details of hundreds of thousands or even millions of individuals. In the event that the data is not encrypted, the loss of the hard disk may represent an organization’s worst nightmare. The actual cost of replacing the hard disk of the machine pales into insignificance compared to the loss of the confidential information and customer security.
Disk encryption is one method to help minimise the risks by preventing unauthorized access to data storage, to ensure safe information exchanges, safeguard against data leakage, and manage compliance. This form of security is useful for any computer that holds personal information, not only laptops. Disk encryption uses disk encryption software to encrypt the entire hard disk. The onus is therefore not on the user to determine what data should be encrypted, or to remember to manually encrypt files. By encrypting the entire disk, temporary files, which may reveal important confidential data, are also protected. Security is enhanced further when disk encryption is combined with filesystem-level encryption.
Many organizations and individuals need to encrypt sensitive files but do not have the funds to buy disk encryption software. Fortunately, there is a good selection of open source software available to download at no charge that offers good functionality. There are many different tools that allow for disk encryption.
To provide an insight into the open source software that is available, we have compiled a list of 7 notable disk encryption tools. Hopefully, there will be something of interest here for anyone who wants easy-to-use data encryption and security.
Let’s explore the 7 disk encryption tools at hand. For each application we have compiled its own portal page, a full description with an in-depth analysis of its features, screenshots, together with links to relevant resources.
|Disk Encryption Tools|
|VeraCrypt||Strong disk encryption software|
|GnuPG||GNU Privacy Guard - implementation of the OpenPGP standard|
|dm-crypt||Transparent disk encryption subsystem|
|loop-AES||Encrypt disk partitions, removable media, swap space and other devices|
|cryptsetup||Configures encrypted block devices|
|Tomb||System for file encryption|
|cryptmount||Managing encrypted file systems|
Read our complete collection of recommended free and open source software. The collection covers all categories of software.
The software collection forms part of our series of informative articles for Linux enthusiasts. There's tons of in-depth reviews, open source alternatives to proprietary software from large corporations like Google, Microsoft, Apple, Adobe, IBM, Cisco, Oracle and Autodesk. There are also fun things to try, hardware, free programming books and tutorials, and much more.