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I use a portable USB drive (Seagate FreeAgent Go Flex) to keep all my personal stuff, and though the HDD company does offer a password scheme to control access to it, that would work only on windows, as one could easily mount it in Linux and bypass it.

I'm looking for a solution that would encrypt the entire drive, making it impossible to read/write anything without knowing the password. Does anyone know of any security tools (open-source would be the best !!) that would enforce this regardless of the OS being used to mount the HDD ? If not, what alternatives would you suggest to safeguard the data ?

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up vote 11 down vote accepted

TrueCrypt is what you're looking for.

Other (paid) solutions include PGP Desktop, and Jetico BestCrypt.

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Don't forget that for Truecrypt to work you need to have admin rights at the system you will use the disk. – Georgios Oct 6 '11 at 10:44
Truecrypt is great. It's free, opensource, and works on Linux, Windows and Mac OS X – Michał Šrajer Oct 6 '11 at 11:48
Truecrypt meets every one of your requirements. Don't forget to DONATE! :) – MToecker Oct 6 '11 at 13:43

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