Security Corner

Sep 21 2012   1:48AM GMT

A portable app to password protect your USB sticks

Ken Harthun Ken Harthun Profile: Ken Harthun

Handy as they are, USB thumb drives, sticks, jump drives — whatever you choose to call them — are small and easily lost despite your best precautions. This is why it’s a bad idea to keep any sensitive information on them unless you encrypt the drive or password protect your files. Many popular USB sticks come with their own security software, but what if you have a generic one sans software? You’ll have to find a way on your own to protect it.

Most of the bundled security software allows you to either encrypt the whole drive or create an encrypted area on the drive. I have always been an advocate of TrueCrypt as one of the best Open Source encryption programs in existence. There is a catch to using TrueCrypt, however, as this MakeUseOf article points out: If you want to transfer files to a computer on which you don’t have administrator rights, you’re out of luck.

Enter Rohos Mini Drive, a portable application that allows you to work with a password protected partition on any PC. You just click the “Rohos Mini” icon on the USB flash drive root folder and enter your disk password. Rohos will start a volume and will stay in the system tray. It doesn’t require administrative privileges to open the password protected USB drive partition on a guest PC. It stays in the system tray so you can close the disk when you finish working.

Rohos Mini Drive comes in both free and paid versions. The free version has limitations, of course, the main one being a 2 GB encrypted partition size. I don’t consider this a hindrance, however; my needs are limited to transporting the occasional sensitive file and 2 GB would be more than enough to store secure notes containing passwords and other key numbers.

Give it a test drive and let me know what you think.


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