If you’re one of the people who have used TrueCypt, the freeware encryption program from SourceForge.net over the years, it could be time to look elsewhere for a program to keep your drives secure. We’ve discussed TrueCrypt in previous articles and up until just a week or so ago, it was regarded as a fantastic and free encryption software that could keep your drives safe.
That was until this message appeared without warning on the SourceForge.net site:
WARNING: Using TrueCrypt is not secure as it may contain unfixed security issues.
The development of TrueCrypt was ended in 5/2014 after Microsoft terminated support of Windows XP. Windows 8/7/Vista and later offer integrated support for encrypted disks and virtual disk images. Such integrated support is also available on other platforms. You should migrate any data encrypted by TrueCrypt to encrypted disks or virtual disk images supported on your platform.
Instructions were provided on how to migrate your encrypted data to Microsoft’s BitLocker.
So what’s going? Why did the developers suddenly call it quits and is TrueCrypt truly unsafe? Nobody seems to have any answers. Even top security experts are stunned. One problem with getting answers is that TrueCrypt was developed by an anonymous group of programmers, so no one is really sure who they might even ask. The TrueCrypt program has been downloaded nearly 30 million times in the past seven years.
Many top experts say they can’t find anything wrong with TrueCrypt, but some have wondered if there might not be some unknown backdoor like HeartBleed. My gut reaction is if the developers say it’s not safe, I tend to believe them.
If you have drives encrypted by TrueCrypt and want to decrypt them, here’s how.
Open the system menu for TrueCrypt and choose Permanently Decrypt System Drive.
You can then use BitLocker, if you have it available on your Windows computer to encrypt the drive. BitLocker is available on Windows 7 Ultimate and Enterprise and Windows 8.1 Pro and Windows 8.1 Enterprise.
To turn it on in Windows 7 – got to Control Panel >Security> Turn On BitLocker. The BitLocker Wizard will start and you can just follow the instructions.
For Windows 8.1, type BitLocker in the search box and then choose Turn on BitLocker.
A window will open with instructions. Just follow them.