The Bat! Private Disk
RITLabs, $29, or $19.43 if you use The Bat!
In the July 2006 ÆGIS we wrote about The Bat! Voyager, the portable version of our e-mail client of choice that we installed on a USB flash drive (it would go on any portable drive). We mentioned that while Voyager encrypts all the data for your safety, we also carry other data suitably protected. A number of people asked what we recommend for that protection. Our choice is The Bat! Private disk from the folks who make The Bat! (discussed in the January 2005 ÆGIS) as well as Voyager.
Private Disk installs easily, either onto a hard drive so that you can know that al of your confidential information is confidential, even if the computer or drive is stolen. You can also install it onto the flash drive. It allows you to create an AES encrypted virtual disk that Windows sees as just another drive. In our case it is seen when opened as a 3.5 gig Z drive. When you create the password it gives you an analysis of how strong the password is. We recommend you use an entire sentence. This should be something easy to remember, but too long for anyone to randomly guess. The file which contains the encrypted data can be backed up as needed.
To open the virtual drive you run the Private Disk program, which asks you which file you want to use. When you select the file and click OK, the drive mysteriously shows up in Windows Explorer, and behaves just like any other drive. Obviously, you can also create an encrypted virtual drive on your hard drive for sensitive information.
The disadvantage of Private Disk is that, unlike (apparently) Voyager (see the July 2006 issue of ÆGIS) or Password Safe (see the February 2001 issue of ÆGIS), it requires that its drivers have been run at least once by someone with administrative privileges. This means that if you use the computer in an airport or hotel or internet café, you may get a message saying you do not have sufficient rights to run it, and you may not be able to get someone with administrative privileges to run it.
In this case you need a plan B, which would be encrypted on-line backup such as iBackup (see the August 2006 issue of ÆGIS). If you don’t have access to the Internet from that machine, and can’t find an administrator willing to let you run unknown drivers requiring administrative privileges, you are out of luck.
There is a 30 day free trial, so you can give it a try with no obligation. We recommend that you do so.