USB or Flash drive is considered the safest mean of data transfer since the last decade. USB drive is famous among people due to its lightweight, minuscule size, portable nature, and minimum power requirements. Due to these characteristics, a USB drive can be used anywhere and connected with any device like smartphones, PC and laptops. As it is said that more problems come with solutions, flash drives also has some privacy threat associated with their use. Due to ease of portability and small size, these USB Flash drives are easy to lose, fell somewhere, or misplace.
To deal with the danger of privacy loss and breach of information stored on USB flash drives, different Flash drive encryption software are available in the market. These encryption software are helpful to convert stored data into an encrypted form which is further protected by either passwords or thumbprints. Some of these programs also provide cloud drive backup services along with encryption services. The software backs up the stored data on cloud storage which is only accessible by you. In the following article, I will enlist some best USB drive encryption software available in the market. But before we do that, let me summarize the encryption process for those who never heard about that before.
What is Encryption?
Encryption is the conversion of data stored on the USB drive (called Plaintext) into unrecognizable form (called Ciphertext). Encryption is a modern technique that uses complex algorithms to bring such transformations. The encrypted or coded form is unable to be translated by an expert or computer software. Only authorized person who has decryption keys, passwords, or thumbprints access can decode data back into the plaintext format.
The encryption process is considered the most effective way of data protection these days. For example, the data stored on ID cards, banking details, and security files are protected by encryption. Different methods of data encryption are applicable nowadays, but the most commonly used is AES 256-bit encryption. AES-256 is the most advanced encryption method which generates the decryption key length of 256 bits. Such a long key is impossible to crack; even a supercomputer needs decades to crack the decryption key.
5 Best Flash Drive Encryption Software
VeraCrypt is the heir of TrueCrypt and is considered one of the most powerful and famous USB drive encryption software. VeraCrypt was primarily developed for data encryption stored on hard disks. After the cessation of TrueCrypt, VeraCrypt has been upgraded as the ultimate free platform for data encryption on USB drives. VeraCrypt is famous for its support of industry-scale encryption algorithms, including AES-256, Serpent, Twofish, and Camellia. These algorithms are responsible for data conversion in encrypted form and distribution and storage in different folders and volumes. In addition, users can use different passwords and key files for added security of encrypted USB drives.
The interface of VeraCrypt is user-friendly, and further assistance is provided in the Wizard file. Users can easily encrypt or decrypt data after plug-in the USB drive and following steps explained in Wizard. In VeraCrypt, you can either encrypt a USB drive as a whole or you can encrypt data in specific folders. Once you are done with the encryption process through VeraCrypt, you can only access the data after entering the particular password. The encryption services on VeraCrypt are free of cost and is available for all operating system such as Windows 7, 8, 10, 11, Mac OS, and Linux.
For encryption of large volumes and hard drives, VeraCrypt is the best option, but for encryption of USB drives, the AxCrypt is a more efficient USB drive encryption software. AxCrypt is the simple, user-friendly open-source encryption software licensed by GNU General Public License (GPL).
The user interface of AxCrypt is quite simple and comprises one window where commands are arranged in two columns. The AxCrypt is integrated with the operating system, and one can easily access the files through the software. The files and drive folders on the computer are arranged in the left column of AxCrypt, and the user can browse the file from there. Once a file or folder is scanned, upon right-click, the selected file or folder gets encrypted. The algorithm used by AxCrypt for the creation of encryption passwords is of two types; AES-128 and AES-256. AES-128 is used in the free version, while AES-256 is used in the premium version of AxCrypt for password encryption of USB drives.
This app’s “Timed Execution” feature allows users to set the time for encryption of specific files. After the selected time, the encrypted file is automatically decrypted. AxCrypt also offers decryption apps to transfer encrypted data from USB drives to PC or mobile, while many USB drive encryption software don’t have this feature.
The drawbacks of this app include the installation of third-party apps during the installation of AxCrypt. The PC version of AxCrypt offers free services while mobile and Mac OS version offers paid services. An individual user can get a monthly subscription of $5/month or a yearly subscription that starts at $45.
Gilisoft USB Stick Encryption might be the most accessible USB drive encryption software for ease of usage. Along with the compelling encryption features, the metallic UI and the fancy layout are also reasons behind its fame. Gilisoft USB Stick Encryption is primarily developed for users with little or no experience with USB drive encryption software.
After plug-in, Gilisoft automatically detects and runs the USB drive on software. The user has to select the portion on the USB drive that he wants to encrypt. Once the data get selected, Gilisoft will automatically take care of the encryption process. The algorithm used by Gilisoft for the generation of encryption passwords is AES-256. Gilisoft also backs up the encrypted data and can be recovered in case of some accident or deletion by mistake.
Along with the perks, Gilisoft also has some drawbacks associated with it. The free trial version of this software allows users to do only 10 data encryption activities. To access complete encryption services, users have to pay $50, a significant amount for non-frequent users. In addition, the screen of the software pops up more often, which is annoying. Another drawback of this software is its specificity for the Windows platform and supports only Windows 7, 8, 10, Vista, and XP.
BitLocker is the best choice for those looking for USB drive encryption software for “Windows” operating devices. The BitLocker comes in-built with Windows and doesn’t have any third-party app associated with it. BitLocker is integrated with desktop hardware via Trusted Platform Module (TPM), enhancing the encryption speed. Users can encrypt the whole USB drive or some portions within seconds by using the control panel of BitLocker. BitLocker also uses two algorithms, AES-128 and AES-256, for encryption of USB drives. If the user forgets the encryption password, BitLocker has the password restore option to generate the new encryption password after some authentication.
For decryption, three different methods are used by BitLocker, collectively known as “Transparent operating Mode” (TPM). These methods include PIN authentication, Password authentication, and USB key authentication. USB key method is used for the security of very sensitive documents stored in encrypted form. The decryption keys of the encrypted USB drive are stored on another USB drive, which is required to decrypt the encrypted data. Users can use either one or all methods in combination to enhance the overall security. As BitLocker is in-built in the Windows version, it doesn’t require any payment for users. However, users who want to access BitLocker services must upgrade their Home version to Windows Pro or Enterprise.
Rohos Mini Drive is creating hype in the USB drive encryption software market due to some additional features and excellent encryption services. Just like other excellent USB drive encryption software, Rohos Mini Drive has a simple and user-friendly interface. Even a user with minimal knowledge of encryption software can encrypt a USB drive after few clicks. Rohos Mini Drive is especially useful in creating encrypted volumes. When the user plug-in the USB drive, the auto-run feature of the program automatically detects the possible size, parameters, location, and decryption method for encrypted volume. Like other USB drive encryption software, Rohos Mini Drive also uses the “on the fly AES-256” algorithm for encrypting USB drive data.
Rohos Mini Drive also allows users to encrypt the installed programs and files on the desktop. Another feature of this software is the availability of a guest operating system called “Rohus Disk Browser.” This guest operating system allows users to read or write data on the encrypted USB drive. Upon creating encrypted volumes, users can create a “Restoration disk,” which helps restore the files in case of an emergency. To enter the security key file or passwords, Rohos Mini Drive has a virtual keyboard that offers maximum security. Due to portability, you can use Rohos Mini Drive on different devices by only opening the .exe file.
The basic version of this software offers free services but lacks other services like autorun, Restoration disk, Rohus disk browser, etc. To avail these advanced encryption services on Rohos Mini Drive, users have to upgrade to the premium version that costs them $45. Overall, this app is easy to utilize as compared to other software on the list.