External hard disk drives or flash drives are a must these days. As many of the laptop brands are shifting towards SSD, and to cut the cost they give SSD of smaller capacity. So if you are one of those people who needs to store a lot of data, then you need to have an external drive anyhow. Besides that, external USB drives are very much useful, it comes in handy to take a complete backup of your laptop computer. Or if you want to share any data with someone or to a different computer you can definitely use an external drive. However, external drives can be risky as well at times, if someone else gets his hands on your external drive then he or she will be able to access all of the data which is stored on your drive. Fortunately, there are some ways through which you can lock your external drive and can only be opened using the password which you have set. To make your external hard disk secure, follow the extensive tutorials written below.
Lock USB Drive using built-in software
Some of the USB external drive manufacturers offer a built-in security system through which you can set a password to unlock your drive. Brands like Sony, Samsung, WD provides drive locker software with their eternal hard disks. By locking your drive through this method you are preventing unauthorized access to your drive at a very basic level, which should work for most people, however, if you want something more than this, then follow the next tutorial.
Locking The USB drive with third party solutions
if the USB external drive which you have got doesn’t provide any official locker software along with that then you can definitely use any third-party software to lock your USB drive. One of the software called StorageCrypt just does that and is very much reliable and versatile to use.
While StorageCrypt does the basics of securing your drive, but besides that, there are a bunch of other features as well which can be useful, below are some of them.
- Password protection With StorageCrypt you will be able to encrypt all of your data on the USB drive with a password.
- Hidden Drives– Once the drive is protected, it will be unmounted automatically, thus it helps in preventing the data access and it also protects the drive from being formatted or from any other brutal attacks.
- Speed– the software gives options of quick encryption and decryption, while there is also an option of deep encryption which is a more secure way of encrypting, although deep encryption will take some extra time when compared to quick encryption, but will provide extra security as well.
- Software portability- For Windows users, the software also allows a portability mode, for quickly encrypt and decrypt the USB devices anywhere on the go independently.
Lock Drive Using StorageCrypt
If you are planning to use StorageCrypt for encrypting your USB drive, below is a quick tutorial that will help follow through the process of securing your USB drive
- Download and Install StorageCrypt on your device
- Now, plug in your USB device and then open StorageCrypt.
- Now, from the screen of StorageCrypt, select your device from Choose Disk Drive section.
- Find and select the Quick Encryption under encryption mode, there will be an option of quick mode and eep encryption mode, you can choose whichever is convenient for you.
- In the next section, select the Full option under the portable use section, using this you will be able to use the software portability feature.
- Finally, enter the password two times and then click on Encrypt button to lock your drive and start encrypting the USB drive. You will hear a tone that will confirm the operation.
With this your USB drive will be completely encrypted and will be locked by password.
Unlock Drive Using StorageCrypt
it is obvious that if you have used StorageCrypt to lock your drive, you will be needing a way to unlock your USB drive as well. So below is a quick tutorial on how to unlock drives using StorageCrypt.
- Plugin your USB drive and then open the encrypted drive. YOu will see a file called SClite.exe inside a folder SClite. RUn the SClite.exe file.
- Now type the password inside the password box and then click on Decrypt, it will unlock your drive.
If for some reason you aren’t able to find the SClite file or folder, directly run StorageCrypt from your local system.
Once you have completed unlocking your drive, close the previously opened SClite window and run the SClite.exe file again. This time you’ll get the option to lock the drive. The point to be noted is that StorageCrypt is a shareware program that comes with a 7 day trial period and to continue using it after the trial period you need to purchase the software for a lifetime since there is no subscription plan.
Some Important Points to be noted before you use StorageCrypt
- Install the software on your local system drive instead of your external drive.
- By any chance, if you forget the password, you simply can not recover the protected data no matter what, as the software doesn’t have any password recovery method, so all you can do is either try to remember the password or simply format it.
- To avoid loss of data or corrupted drive do not remove the external drive from the PC while it is either encrypted or decrypted, although data can be recovered, but not always.
- One of the most important points is that. the newer version of the software can encrypt or decrypt the drive even if it is encrypted by an older version, but the older version cannot do the same when the drive is encrypted with a newer version.
USB Copy Protection
Just like StorageCrypt, USB Copy Protection is also third-party software that allows you to encrypt or decrypt any USB drive, but in addition to encryption, it also provides multiple levels of user access to the data. This comes in handy when you want to protect your drive from infected systems by directly disabling the write access to the drive.
A few other features and advantages of using USB Copy Protection are listed down below.
- Copy Protection- Using the copy protection tool you will be able to present any unauthorized modification or tampering of your files that are on the drive.
- Multi-format Support– You can even individually restrict data access to a particular type of file format like DOC, XLS, PPT, PDF, TXT, FLASH and more.
- Portability- You can protect files on your USB drive without the need of installing any additional software.
- Permission- With USB Copy Protection you can also assign multiple access permissions to different users and control their access levels accordingly.
- Encryption- To encrypt your files and the whole drive it uses one of the strongest AES 256 bit encryption to protect your data.
How To Encrypt USB Drives Using USB Copy Protection
- Download and install the software USB Copy Protection on your computer.
- Now connect the USB drive which you want to encrypt, after plugging in, launch the software.
- Inside the tool, the USB drive should be listed in the drives list. You can refresh the list from the button provided on the right side of the screen.
- Select the USB drive which you want to encrypt using USB Copy Protection
- Find and click on the Permissions tab and then define the different access levels for different users. You can choose between Read, write, full or custom access permissions, you can also set passwords for different users.
- You can even explicitly set user access permissions for a particular user while selecting the custom permission access.
- Once done, proceed further to the options tab, where you will be configuring the type and strength of the encryption and the name and title.
- Finally, click on the Encrypt Now tab, and then type the administrator password twice and then click on protect.
- it will take a while to encrypt, after which your USB drive will be completely protected with the configured access permissions defined by you.
- So next time when you will try to open the drive using the file explorer it will only show one file which will be the USB Copy Protection file, run it by double-clicking on the file.
- Here you will need to enter the login credentials which have been defined by you only, after entering the correct details you will be able to access your files.
The USB DRive will only and only open when the credentials are entered correctly, otherwise, it will remain locked, also it will grant permission to access the way you have configured it for the users, all of the files are accessible inside a separate environment that controls the access levels. Following are the details about the access level permissions.
- Read Access: With this access, users will only be able to view the files and copy them to the computer, the user won’t be able to make any changes to the file.
- Write Access: When allowed for write access, users will get all the access from the read access, additionally, the user will also be able to import files to the USB drive from a computer.
- Full Access: This access is like admin access, the user will have full control of everything inside the USB drive.
How To Remove USB Copy Protection Client from USB Drive
USB Copy Protection is a great tool when it comes to encryption, however, if you wish to remove the tool from your USB drive completely then you have to open the USB Copy Protection client and then login with admin credentials. Here you will find a Manage option in the File menu and then find and select complete unprotect. You may be asked to enter the admin account credentials once again, provide it to completely disconnect USB Copy protection from your USB drive.
Multi Layered Protection
Multi-layered protection is one of the most advanced levels of securing your drive. It is by far the most secure way to encrypt your files, but it is a little bit complex to use as well, so if you don’t have much knowledge about multi-layered protection or if you don’t have any knowledge about encryption it is advised to stay away from this. As you might lose access to your files permanently while encrypting or decrypting the data.
Let’s begin with Multi-layered protection, first, you need to split your external hard drive into multiple different partitions. Next, you need to assign public and private access to each of the partitions using the StorageCrypt tool. With the help of multiple partitions, one of them can be used to store private personal data, while the other partition can be used to store general files and folders which can be accessed by the public. Now, we have to encrypt the private partition of the drive using StorageCrypt, the SClite folder will be first created inside the public partition. USB Copy protection will be used to secure both the public partitions while assigning only read access to the general partition and at the same time giving write access to the data transfer partition. Lastly, we will be using the built-in software for the overall protection of the external USB drive.
A USB drive with such layers of security will be safe from a lot of threats including brutal force attacks and trojan horse attacks. First, we have the built-in security layer that would prevent the drive from mounting onto the computer where it is connected. Even if this layer is cracked or unlocked then also only the public partition of the drive would be accessible that too with limited permission access. If anybody wants to gain access to the private section of the drive then the user needs to run the SClite.exe from the SClite folder located inside the general partition and then provide the correct login credentials, only then you will be able to access the files and folders from the private partition of the USB drive.
So, third-party software like StorageCrypt and USB Copy Protection is very much useful when it comes to the protection of data. Depending on your requirements, any of these programs can be used to encrypt and secure your data on a USB external drive, and the combination of multi-layer protection is the highest level of security you can achieve using these third-party tools.