Strengths: open source, uses state-of-the-art encryption schemes, feature packed, well-respected within the security community, FREE!
Weaknesses: no official support, but does include a detailed manual and a very helpful user forum that should answer most questions; does not encrypt individual files or Raw CD/DVD volumes
Bottom line: highly recommended
Latest version: 7.1a
Operating Systems: Windows XP/Vista/7 (full Windows 8 support planned for the future), Mac OS, Linux
This free, open-source disk encryption program should be a part of everyone's security toolkit. Feature-rich and thoughtfully designed, Truecrypt makes paying for encryption unnecessary for most computer users.
Truecrypt does not encrypt individual files, rather
it creates containers in which files can be securely stored. The
simplest method is to create a virtual encrypted disk within a file that
can be mounted as though it were a real hard drive. Sensitive data can be
copied to or read from the encrypted disk while mounted. Simply dismount
the disk to secure the data.
For large amounts of data, it may be easier to encrypt an entire partition or device. Once again, the data is accessible only after the Truecrypt partition has been mounted with its password. For those wanting complete data protection, the entire system drive or system partition can also be encrypted. This way, the operating system itself cannot be loaded without the correct password (system encryption is currently only available for Windows users).
·Multiple encryption algorithms including: AES, Twofish, Serpent, as well as the option to use more than one algorithm on a single encrypted volume (cascades).
·Supports parallelization and Hardware–Accelerated AES.
·Automatic, on-the-fly operation does not noticeably slow your computer.
·Advanced features allow you to hide encryption volumes, including encrypted operating systems, which could allow you to deny the existence of your data.
·Supports the use of keyfiles in addition to passwords (not supported for system encryption).
·Can be installed on a USB flash drive and used as a portable app.
Truecrypt is easy to use but securing your data is not as straightforward as many think. Even experienced users should read Truecrypt’s manual for an understanding of the limitations of encryption and the many ways that data may leak. To its credit, Truecrypt tries to guide the user and even includes automatic warnings about short passwords and other insecure practices.
Official Truecrypt download page: