If you plug in a USB drive, open it in Finder and right-click the Finder window, you get the option to encrypt the drive.

Screenshot from howtogeek.com

What methods does Finder use to encrypt the drive and how safe is it actually? Is it a smarter idea to use the TrueCrypt 7.1a version instead?

PS: I am using the current version of Mac OS X 10.11.1 "El Capitan".

  • TrueCrypt has been deprecated for nearly a year and a half now. Get off it. – Iszi Nov 10 '15 at 15:20

I would not use TrueCrypt since it is no longer actively maintained, therefore, no longer safe to use. Truecrypts own website states “WARNING: Using TrueCrypt is not secure as it may contain unfixed security issues”

I would recommend using Apple's Built In Feature it is safe and secure, and of course, your files are as secured as the password you use to secure them. As far as the algorithms used to encrypt your password, gives you two options, choose the more secure option is somewhat slower encrypting/decrypting, of course you will only notice the difference with large files. You can choose 128-bit or 256-bit AES algorithms. The cipher AES 128-bit and/or 256-bit are both very secure TSL/SSL use it to encrypt end-to-end traffic across the Internet, it is considered among the top ciphers (Although NSA has categorized this to be in Grade-B, and their recommendation is to use 256-bit keys for encryption). Anyway to answer your question most third party programs today offer AES among other options to encrypt your data, therefore, I don't see any reason why you shouldn't use the built in feature for encryption.

  • It's correct, that TrueCrypt is no longer being maintained, but independent code audits recently proved the last version of TrueCrypt (7.1a) to be secure. I don't know of any audits of Mac OS X's built-in encryption implementation. I don't doubt that AES is secure but the implementation is what I am curious about. – comfreak Nov 10 '15 at 15:42
  • 2
    @eof0100 the question isn't about which ciphers OS X supports, but rather whether or not their implementation of those ciphers contains bugs. Apple being Apple will never release their source code for audit / review, so I think comfreak is looking for any 3rd-party information about its trustworthiness. – Mike Ounsworth Nov 10 '15 at 15:59
  • @MikeOunsworth that's what I tried to express in my comment. Thanks for clarifying it! – comfreak Nov 11 '15 at 12:31
  • Will you only want to use the USB key on a Mac, or would you ever take it out and use it with a Wide down PC too? – JonnyWizz Nov 11 '15 at 12:42
  • Do you have anything to support the assertion that 'Apple's Built in Feature is safe and secure'? – R15 Nov 11 '15 at 18:30

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.