Who has not taken their hands to their heads when they did not find a USB with personal files? It is usual to leave it plugged into a computer, save it in any pocket or even forget it when going to print on a photocopier. It is possible to store in it from simple class notes to end-of-grade work, bank details, office documents or personal photographs and videos. In order not to suffer an upset when leaving the data of a pen drive or external hard drive exposed, it is possible to protect them with a password.
There are several programs that allow it to do so. One of them is VeraCrypt, a software of free encryption compatible with Windows, Mac OS and Linux operating systems. Although the process required to put the password may seem a bit technical at first glance, it only takes 10 minutes to do so by following the steps below.
The first place you have to download and install the program. To do this, you have to search for "VeraCrypt" in Google and select the appropriate download option depending on the computer's operating system. Once downloaded and installed, you must connect the USB or hard drive to the PC and open the program. To make the process easier, it is recommended to do it with USB completely empty. That is, make another copy of the files we want to keep on another device.
Then, click on "create volume", select the option "encrypt partition / secondary unit" and click on "next". When doing so, a pop-up window will request permission to perform the encryption. After accepting this request, the user must click on the option "common VeraCrypt volume" and "select device". Then a window will open with the available devices. In the list of removable disks, we must choose the external memory that we want to protect with a password.
In the next tab, you are asked if you want to format the USB before encrypting it. You have to choose the first option ("create an encrypted volume and format it"). There is no need to fear the loss of data since before carrying out the process we have made a copy of them on another device. Afterwards, it is advisable to keep the default encryption algorithms. That is, the AES and the SHA-512 and click on "next".
At this point, you must enter the desired password and click on "next". The "Volume Format" tab will open, in which the mouse is asked to move over the same window in order to increase the cryptographic strength of the encryption keys. This step serves to make third parties more difficult to access that USB without the password. As the mouse moves, a bar will be filled in the lower part of the window called "randomness obtained from mouse movements". Once it is complete, click on "format" and "exit".
After performing this process, the external memory will already be encrypted with a password. To reopen the USB, it is necessary to have the program installed on the computer -process that only takes a couple of minutes- and have connected the device. Once the program is open, click on "mount automatically", enter the password and click on "Accept".
Next, the USB that is connected will appear in a list. By double clicking on it, the device will open and it is possible to see, add or delete the files inside it. Finally, to disconnect the USB you must click on the "unmount all" option that appears in the VeraCrypt program window. To remove the password, just click with the right button on the USB shortcut and choose the "format" option.
Passwords for a USB on Mac Os and Linux
Although this program is compatible with Windows, Mac OS and Linux, the last two operating systems allow to do it in a simpler way without having to download any program. In the case of Mac OS, you must right-click on the shortcut that appears on the desktop when connecting the external memory. Among the options that appear, you have to choose the option "encrypt" and enter the password.
In Linux, you must also right-click on the shortcut that appears in the left sidebar of the screen and choose the "format volume" option. In the next window, the option of "encryption" is shown to put a password to the external memory.