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How To Secure Your Flash Drive Files

Friday, June 6th, 2014

A USB flash drive makes it easy to carry your data in your pocket. However, due to its small size, it could easily get misplaced and your vital data could get compromised. If your flash drive contains important documents such as bank and credit card statements or official data like project plans and monthly reports then you need to learn how to keep your USB drive secure. In this article, we will discuss several methods of keeping your data safe and how to secure your flash drive files.

1. Password Protect Your Data

The easiest way to protect your files on a flash drive is to secure them with a password. A lot of programs, including MS Word and Excel, allow you to password protect your documents to keep them secure. Even if your files are in a format that cannot be password protected through official programs, you can still protect the data by compressing the files with a compression utility and securing the zipped files with a password.

2. Encrypt Your Data

If you have thousands of files on your flash drive then it is not feasible to password protect each and every document. In such cases, you can use encryption to protect your documents from unauthorized access. There are several reliable encryption programs such as Ironkey, TrueCrypt and BitLocker available that can encrypt your data with up to 256 bit encryption and password protect your entire USB drive. Most of the encryption programs can be directly run from the USB drive itself so you don’t need to have the software installed on each and every machine from where you access the drive. Some of the programs don’t even require Admin access so you can encrypt and access your data without special privileges.

3. Lock the Drive

Apart from encrypting the data, you also have the option of locking your flash drive with a locking utility. This option would prevent anyone from accessing the data residing on your drive unless he/she provides the correct password. However, you do need to remember to lock your drive after you have finished using it.

4. Hardware Encryption

If you need unbeatable level of security for your data then you can buy an encrypted USB drive. These drives are usually very expensive since the encryption is done at the microchip level. The hardware encryption also provides a much better level of security since the encryption keys are never stored in the memory of the computer through which you are accessing the drive. Some encrypted flash drives can even erase data from the drive when the password is entered incorrectly a set number of times. Most corporations rely on hardware encryption rather than the software encryption to protect their precious data.

5. Secure Access Points

A USB drive cannot remain secure if it is connected to systems that host malicious programs. To protect your USB drive from getting infected, you must install a reliable anti-virus and firewall program on all computers through which you access the drive. Also, if you share your flash drive with your friends and family members, remember to scan it for viruses and spywares after you get it back.

June 6, 2014

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