Using VeraCrypt to encrypt your backup data for free
Previously we wrote an article on using BitLocker to encrypt backup media. In response to this; we found some of our subscribers asked about using an encrypted container instead of the entire hard drive. Well; we’re going to write about using VeraCrypt to encrypt your backup data.
What is VeraCrypt?
VeraCrypt is an open source encryption tool which performs ‘on the fly’ encryption. It’s classified as a fork of the TrueCrypt project which shut down suddenly in 2014.
It creates a protected area (called a VeraCrypt volume) on your computer or external storage device. This entire volume lives inside a single file called a container, and similar to a .vhd file – can be mounted and dismounted (although it requires the VeraCrypt interface to do so).
The most important thing about VeraCrypt is remembering the password. If the password is forgotten; then it’s unlikely that the data will ever be accessed again!
Downloading and installing VeraCrypt on your machine
VeraCrypt is available for free download. It’s just a standard installation package within Windows; so installation is just a wizard which is point and click.
Need to know information on our environment
1. Using Windows 10 operating system.
2. VeraCrypt v1.21.
3. We’re creating a 1TB VeraCrypt container.
4. The external hard drive is a Samsung USB3 2TB external hard drive. Windows assigned the drive as D: drive.
Creating a container in VeraCrypt to encrypt your backup data
The following steps are how to create a basic container. There are plenty of different options available which aren’t discussed; but more information can be found by reviewing the VeraCrypt documentation.
1. Within the VeraCrypt window; select ‘Create Volume’ to open the wizard.
2. On the first screen of the wizard, select the option ‘Create an encrypted file container’ and click Next.
3. On the Volume Type screen, select ‘Standard VeraCrypt volume’.
4. On the Volume Location screen, type in the full path and name of the container. In our example we’ve named the container ‘test_container’.
5. On the Encryption Options page; select the type of encryption to use. We’ve selected AES encryption as it’s industry standard.
6. On the Volume Size page; enter the total size you want the container to be. As mentioned above, we’re creating a 1TB container.
7. The Volume Password is used to protect the container. Enter and confirm the password you want to use to access the container when it’s mounted.
Remember: If you forget the password; it’s unlikely you’ll be able to mount and access the contents of the container again. All data will essentially be lost.
8. The Large Files screen asks if the files contained within the container will be larger than 4GB. This is because the default file system is FAT32 – which has this limitation.
You should select Yes when using VeraCrypt to encrypt your backup data.
9. On the Volume Format screen, select the File System format to use for the container. We’ve selected NTFS as it’s a Windows operating system.
To increase the encryption strength; randomly move the mouse until the green bar fills up.
10. Once you’ve moved the mouse enough, click Format to begin the container creation process.
No need for anymore user interaction…
That’s all there is for you to do. VeraCrypt will create and format the container until it’s complete.
For our 1TB container in our environment; it took around 2 hours 40 minutes (160 minutes) to finish successfully.
Are you using VeraCrypt to encrypt your backup data? Is there another open source encryption tool that you’re using instead? Leave us a message below in the comments or drop us a line directly.