Veracrypt Encryption Software is free and protects your files

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Veracrypt Encryption Software is a must-have tool for keeping your files completely secure and private. It’s available for Windows, macOS, and Linux, so everyone should join the encryption party.

Background Info on Veracrypt Encryption Software 

Let’s turn the clock back to 2014, where some freeware called “Truecrypt” was suddenly discontinued by its developers. To continue development, the code for Truecrypt (which had cleared a security audit, meaning it was very safe and secure) was used as a starting point and Veracrypt’s developers have continued adding enhancements.  

For those worried if Veracrypt is as secure or can be trusted as its predecessor, Truecrypt, it also underwent a security audit at version 1.18. The results uncovered a few issues which were fixed in the next release version (1.19). 

How does it work? 

Not all computers encrypt their hard drives by default. Even if they do, there is also some sort of recovery feature or catch that could lead to your data being accessed by a third party. That’s why you need something like Veracrypt. 

Screenshot of the Veracrypt Encryption Software interface

For those that have never used something like Veracrypt, it might be a little confusing at first, but it’s not too difficult once you understand what you want to do. 

Encrypt the whole drive or make a container (folder) 

First, you want to choose whether you want to encrypt an entire drive that cannot be read unless unlocked by Veracrypt. This would be useful in someone were to gain access to your laptop or external hard drive. However, it’s not recommended for first-time users of this software. 

For beginners, I recommend making an encrypted file container (like a folder) to put your sensitive data inside. This encrypted blob can be moved to a USB flash drive, put into cloud storage, or whatever you want. 

Animated gift demonstrating drag and drop with Veracrypt
After you have an encrypted file container (folder), just mount it and drag in your files.

My review of Veracrypt Encryption Software

I’ve come to rely on Veracrypt/Truecrypt for many years. It’s really reliable and for anyone who wants to have peace of mind and encrypt sensitive data, this is the software you need.  

A slight learning curve for non-techies

Understanding the difference between encrypting an entire hard drive vs making an encrypted file container plus the different file systems (FAT, NTFS, etc) could be enough to deter away beginners. However, if most people read the explanation in the software and go with defaults, they should be fine.

The one thing that might be an issue for people is figuring out that they need to “mount” the encrypted container that they made. Once that’s understood, it’s relatively easy to open the container and drag and drop items to be encrypted.

I’m not going to go over in detail how to use Veracrypt Encryption Software, but I do recommend watching a video tutorial on YouTube that will make it much easier to understand. 

Not cloud-friendly 

The problem with encrypted file containers made by Veracrypt is they are one large chunk. If you make a change or add something, that means the entire file container must be reuploaded to your cloud storage. This can really add up if you have data limits, a large encrypted file container, or slow upload speeds.  

I have since started using Cryptomator for putting sensitive data in cloud storage while continuing to use Veracrypt for hard drives, USB flash drives, and other offline storage. Please see my review of that to understand why it is a more cloud-friendly option. 

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