Installing TrueCrypt 5.1a & 6.1a On Ubuntu 8.04, 8.10 or 9.04

TrueCrypt was finally made available for Linux with the release of version 5.1a. Here’s how to install it.

**Update**
I have been made aware by Onopoc in the comments section that this same tutorial will work with TrueCrypt 6.1a as well. Simply change the name of the file in the respective spots where the exact file name is used

Installing TrueCrypt

  1. Open a terminal window and type: ‘wget http://www.truecrypt.org/downloads/truecrypt-5.1a-ubuntu-x86.tar.gz’
    TrueCrypt on Ubuntu
  2. Once that is done, type: ‘tar zxvf truecrypt-5.1a-ubuntu-x86.tar.gz’
    TrueCrypt on Ubuntu
  3. Now go to ‘Places‘ –> ‘Home Folder‘ and look for a file called
    truecrypt-5.1a-setup-ubuntu-x86‘ and double click on it
    Opening TrueCrypt
  4. You should get a dialog box asking you what you want to do with it. Choose ‘Run in Terminal
    Run TrueCrypt in the Terminal
  5. You should now see another dialog box with the option to ‘Install TrueCrypt‘ at the bottom. Choose this.
    Install TrueCrypt
  6. You will now have to accept the TrupeCrypt agreement, so choose the appropriate button
    Accept TrueCrypt EULA
  7. You should now see the package installer. Click the ‘Install Package‘ button in the upper right
    Install TrueCrypt
  8. Wait for the package to install. It may hang for a bit, but just let it run. You will soon be presented with a new dialog box saying the installation was successful
    Installation Successful

Running TrueCrypt

There are a couple of fairly easly ways to run TrueCrypt now that we have it installed.

The first way is to press ‘Alt + F2‘ and enter ‘truecrypt‘ in the text area. Then press ‘Run‘.
Launching TrueCrypt

The better way to do it is to create a launcher for it to make it easier for us in the future. Here’s how.

  1. Right click on the desktop and choose ‘Create Launcher
    Create Launcher
  2. In the box that comes up, type ‘TrueCrypt‘ in the Name field and
    truecrypt‘ in the Command field.
    Enter Name and Command
  3. You should now see an icon similar to this on your desktop
    Launcher Icon

That’s it. All you have to do to run TrueCrypt now is to double click your newly created launcher!
TrueCrypt Running

Encrypting Thumb Drives With TrueCrypt

TrueCrpyt LogoLast week I wrote a post on how to encrypt entire hard drives with TrueCrypt. We all know how easy it is to have your laptop lost or stolen and how important it is to protect sensitive data. However, something that is even easier to lose and often has just as sensitive data on it is thumb drives. I know personally I’ve lost a couple of them over time.

Today we’re going to learn how to encrypt these drives to keep them from prying eyes.

Setting Up

Just a few things to get you prepared for the encryption process.

  1. Grab TrueCrypt if you don’t already have it.
  2. Make sure your thumb drive is plugged in and move everything on it to your desktop. This is important because TrueCrypt is going to format the drive during the encryption process.
  3. Open the main TrueCrypt window
    TrueCrpyt encrypting thumb drives

Beginning the Encryption Process

During this phase, we will be getting the settings together so we can actually encrypt the drive.

  1. Click the ‘Create Volume‘ button on the main TrueCrypt window
  2. Choose the second radio button: Create a volume with a non-system partition/device
    Create a volume with a non-system partition/device
  3. At the next screen, leave the radio button on ‘Standard TrueCrypt Volume‘ (unless you know what you’re doing and want to get fancy:)
    Standard TrueCrypt Volume
  4. Now click the button that says ‘Select Device
    select device in truecrypt
  5. Find your thumb drive in the list (you can tell by what drive letter it is mounted in Windows). For this tutorial, we are going to choose the ‘partition’ not the actual device (so in my case ‘\Device\Harddisc6\Partition1′)
    selecting the partition
    If you get a warning after clicking ‘ok’, you can ignore it. It’s simply stating that you could also create an encrypted file on the device rather than encrypting the entire drive. Click Next
  6. I like to leave the Encrpytion and the Hash algorithms at their defaults, AES and RIPEMD-160 respectively. Feel free to play around if you know what you are doing.
    selecting encryption and hash algorithms aes ripemd-160
  7. On the Volume Size screen, you won’t be able to do anything because we chose to encrypt the entire drive. Click ‘Next
    encrypted volume size
  8. Create a passphrase on the next screen. Depending on how secure you want it to be, 20 characters is recommended. If nothing else, try to use symbols, caps, lowercase and numbers.
    choose and encryption passphrase

Starting the Encryption

Now, we will actually start the encryption process itself.

  1. Now you will need to move your mouse around the TrueCrypt window to create a unique pool of characters. This is important to the strength of the encryption keys TC will use.
    create a pool of unique keys
  2. Once you are satisfied, click the ‘Format’ button. You will be presented with a box saying that all data will be lost NOT encrypted. If you followed along from the start, you’ve already moved all your data off the drive and this won’t be a problem and you can click ‘Yes
    data is going to be encrypted
  3. TrueCrypt will now begin to encrypt the drive. Mine was only 128MB so it only took a few minutes. Your time will vary
    TrueCrypt encrypting the drive
  4. If everything went well, you should see a box saying the encryption was successful!
    successfully encrypted

Mounting the Drive

The first thing you will probably notice is that Windows doesn’t recognize the drive like it normally did. You can click on the drive letter it assigns it, but it’s just going to ask you if you want to format it. Don’t! Here’s what you do.

  1. Make sure the drive is still plugged in and the main TrueCrypt window is open. Also, select a drive letter in the list, I highlighted ‘Y’
    successfully encrypted
  2. Click the ‘Auto-Mount Devices‘ button. It’s going to ask you for the passphrase you created earlier, so enter that.
    enter your passphrase
  3. Your drive should now be mounted as whatever letter you choose (in my case ‘Y’)
    successfully mounted
  4. Your drive will now be able to be accessed just like any other drive on your system!

Final Thoughts

There really isn’t much to encrypting your data with TrueCrypt, but that doesn’t diminish the need for strong encryption on all of our portable (and non-portable) devices. A couple of final notes:

  1. Make sure you ‘Dismount’ the thumb drive before pulling it out by selecting the volume in the main TrueCrypt window and clicking on the ‘Dismount’ button.
  2. Also remember that you need TrueCrypt installed on every computer you will be using your thumb drive one. Sounds like a no-brainer, but be aware if your IT department won’t allow you to install extra software on your work machines.