USB is a small, portable and readable tool. These features make it an excellent means of transferring data between computers. However, because of their mobility, they are more easily lost than ever. Therefore, you should always protect the data contained in the USB.
Unfortunately, you can not password protect your USB as you would with a computer or a phone. Your data protection tools work with encryption. If you do not want to invest in a secure flash drive with hardware encryption then you can use the free application to achieve a similar level of protection. The following article will share for you 6 easy ways to set your USB password protection.
1. Save individual files with a password
As mentioned, you can not completely protect your USB without using encryption. However, if you’re concerned about the time-consuming coding process for the entire directory and need a really quick way to protect only selected files, you can simply save those files with a USB password. . Many programs, including Word and Excel, allow you to save files with a password.
For example, in Word, when the document is open, go to File> Info , expand the Protect Document menu, and select Encrypt with Password.
2. Create an encrypted partition and password protected
There are many tools that can encrypt and password protect your data. However, most require Administrator privileges to launch on the computer. Such tools are not a viable solution if you need to transfer data securely to a computer where you do not have Administrator rights.
Rohos Mini Drive is a tool that will work whether you have Administrator rights or not. Free version can create an encrypted partition and password protected up to 2 GB for your USB. The tool uses automatic encryption with a key length of 256 bits. Thanks to the portable Rohos Disk Browser you install directly on your flash drive, you will not need an encrypted driver on your local system. Then, you can access protected data anywhere.
Click on Encrypt USB drive from start screen of Rohos Mini Drive, select drive, specify a new password and click on Create disk. This will create an encrypted and password protected area on your external drive.
You can open the protected area by clicking the Rohos Mini.exe icon from the root of the USB. After entering the password, Rohos will mount a separate drive and you can access it via File Explorer. To close the Rohos area, right-click the Rohos icon in the Windows Taskbar notification area and select Disconnect.
3. Full USB encryption
VeraCrypt is the successor of TrueCrypt . It is a portable application that runs directly from your USB. Unfortunately, it still requires Administrator rights to operate. It uses 256 bit AES encryption. The free version is limited to 2GB drive size.
VeraCrypt provides encryption using a variety of algorithms, including 256-bit AES, Serpent and TwoFish, as well as their combination. Like the Rohos Mini Drive, it can create a virtual encrypted drive to mount as a real disk, but you can also encrypt entire areas and storage devices.
Download VeryCrypt Portable and install it on your USB. When launching this application, it will show you all the letters of the available disk. Select one and click Create Volume. This will launch the VeraCrypt Volume Creation Wizard.
In the next step, you can choose from Standard or a Hidden VeraCrypt volume . Using the Hidden VeraCrypt volume will reduce the risk that someone will expose you to a password. Please note that you will format the whole USB if you want to create a Hidden VeraCrypt volume.
We will continue with the Standard VeraCrypt volume . In the next window, click on Select Device … , select your mobile drive, confirm with OK and click on Next.
To encrypt the entire USB drive, select Encrypt partition in place and click on Next. VeryCrypt will warn you that you should have a backup of your data in case something goes wrong during the encryption process. Then, choose Encrypt and Hash Algorithm, you can follow the default settings. Now, you will set the Volume Password . In the next step, random mouse movements will determine the strength of the encrypted cipher.
Then select Wipe Mode . In the last window, you click on Encrypt to start coding.
The alternative to VeraCrypt Portable is Toucan, a mobile application that allows you to sync, backup and secure your files.
Bonus: Create a password protected archive file
Storage tools like 7-Zip can also encrypt and password-protect your files with AES-256.
Install and launch 7-Zip, then right-click on the file or folder on your USB drive and select 7-Zip> Add to Archive . In the Add to Archive window , select the Archive format and add a password. Click OK to start the archiving and encryption process.
4. Create Safe Zone on USB with SecurStick
SecurStick is a great USB security software. It does not require installation and running on Windows, Linux, Mac without administrative privileges. However, to set it up, you must run the .exe file from the flash drive you want to encrypt.
To install SecurStick, download and extract the .zip file, and then copy the .exe file to the USB drive. Running this .exe file will open a command prompt window and browse. Enter the password and click Create to install the Safe Zone.
The next time you open the SecurStick file, a login window to Safe Zone will greet you. Any files you copy into SafeZone are automatically encrypted. Note that closing the console window closes the session on the Safe Zone.
The easiest way to completely migrate SecurStick from a flash drive is to reformat it.
Note : The interface of the software home page can be completely switched to English so you easily find out information about it.
5. How to encrypt flash drive on Mac
If you’re using a Mac, you do not need a third-party tool to encrypt your USB flash drive.
First, you need to format the flash drive with Apple’s HFS + file system. Note that this will delete the entire archive on it, which means you should back up them. From the Disk Utility , select the flash drive and click Erase. In the popup window, select the file format, MacOS Extended (Journaled), and click Erase at the bottom right to reformat the drive.
Now you are ready to create flash drive encryption. Simply right-click on the drive in the Finder , select Encrypt , and then add the password. This process starts immediately and takes place within minutes, depending on the size of the USB drive. In a nutshell, you will have a USB password protected and encrypted.
6. Encrypt USB drives on Linux with Cryptsetup
Cryptsetup is a free feature to set up 256-bit AES-encrypted disks. It is available in the standard Linux repository.
Note : You should not use this tool if you intend to use encrypted files outside of Linux. Moreover, access to encrypted flash drives requires the installation of Cryptsetup.
To encrypt USB drives on Linux, you need to install the Gnome and Cryptsetup utilities from sudo apt-get . If you use Ubuntu, it’s pre-installed on your machine. Next, open Disks from the desktop, find the flash drive and choose to format the drive or partition with the encryption option. At this point, you need to select a password. Note, you must overwrite the whole file.
So, you know how to protect your USB in the simple ways mentioned above. You may find this process to be quite time-consuming and unnecessary, but it is really worthwhile to keep the data stored in the USB safe.