VeraCrypt is a free, open source and cross platform data encryption tool. It's an alternative to TrueCrypt(project discontinued), the popular encryption tool for all Operating systems. VeraCrypt is an easy to use tool. In this article I will walk you through the complete process of installing & using VeraCrypt in any Linux distributions such as Debian, Arch, Ubuntu, Linux Mint etc. So let's get started.
VeraCrypt is a free file encryption tool based on the popular encryption tool, TrueCrypt. The TrueCrypt project was suddenly discontinued and people started searching for any alternative. Although some prove that TrueCrypt is still usable because there is no vulnerability in the code. You can know more about TrueCrypt in my other post here.
VeraCrypt was started after the TrueCrypt was discontinued. Most TrueCrypt users switched to VeraCrypt because it's the closest you can get in terms of functionalities and user interface.
How To Install VeraCrypt In Linux
After you have downloaded the .tar.gz file from the official website, extract it somewhere on your hard disk. You can install it through terminal and gui both. If you want to install VeraCrypt through Terminal then use the console file otherwise use gui files. In this article I will be installing using GUI file.
First of all open terminal and cd into the extracted VeraCrypt directory.
Start the setup using the below command -
$ sudo bash veracrypt-1.17-setup-gui-x64
Your filename may be different if you're using different VeraCrypt version.
Now you should see the GUI setup to install VeraCrypt. Click 'Install VeraCrypt'.
Accept VeraCrypt terms and conditions
Start the installation
The installation will begin in a separate console. It takes few seconds to finish. Enter to exit the console after installation.
Now VeraCrypt is installed. Read below to know how to use VeraCrypt.
How To Use VeraCrypt To Encrypt Files
Open VeraCrypt from application menu.
To create an encrypted container, create a file on your hard disk.
Select a drive slot and click create volume to create an encrypted volume with VeraCrypt.
With VeraCrypt you can create an encrypted container within the file that we created in above step. But you can also encrypt external partitions such as external hard drive or USB/Flash drive. In this tutorial we'll create an encrypted file container.
You can create two types of encrypted file containers with VeraCrypt. The first one is Standard VeraCrypt volume type that behaves just like a file and it's visible to everyone. In Standard VeraCrypt volume you can keep your file and lock them with a strong password.
The second type of container is Hidden VeraCrypt volume. As the name suggests it's hidden. You can guess what benefits you get with VeraCrypt hidden volume. It's not visible to anyone.
In this tutorial we'll create a Standard VeraCrypt volume.
Now select the text file that you created in the step above.
In the next step select the Encryption Algorithm. I am selecting AES you can google to know more about Encryption Algorithm.
Select Hash Algorithm, you can google to know more about Hash Algorithm.
In the next step select the size of your encrypted file container. The minimum container size can be 292KB.
Now set a complex password for your container. You will require this password in order to access files that are stored in the container.
You can also use a keyfile to open your encrypted file container. But I don't consider this option safer because you have to secure that file and in case any one else has that keyfile then your encrypted container can be unlocked. The better is creating a complex password that you can remember.
Select the filesystem for you container. You can choose FAT because it works with most of the OSes.
Now move your mouse on the window. It will increase cryptographic strength of the encryption keys. The longer you move the better it is.
When you are done click format. The formatting will start and the volume will be created.
Mount Encrypted File Container
From VeraCrypt, browse and select the file that you created and encrypted. Remember you have created your text file an encrypted container.
Notice that how some bytes text file is now 1 GB. It is now the container. Select it and click mount.
Click mount after browsing the container.
Enter password that you set while creating the container. Once you're done with your correct password, the container will be mounted and ready to be used.
Double click the mounted volume to open it.
You can copy and paste the files in this volume. All the files are secure when you dismount this volume. To access the files in the container you will require to enter password again. So it's easy to access your files when you need to.
NOTE - The encrypted volume is just like the file, so it can be deleted as well. Please keep it safe otherwise you will delete all your secrets files by deleting this encrypted volume.