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06 February 2008, 15:20

TrueCrypt 5.0 protects the whole of Windows

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Version 5.0 of TrueCrypt, the free disk encryption utility has been released on Tuesday. The software now supports pre-boot authentication, allowing a Windows system partition to be completely encrypted for security. This prevents unauthorised access to their entire system, provided the whole system resides on a single physical drive. Read and write speeds have also been considerably improved in the Windows version (XP, Server 2003, and Vista) of the package.

The new version of TrueCrypt now also supports Mac OS X, and Linux users have been provided with a graphical interface. In previous versions Linux users had to perform all operations in the console. Version 5.0 also makes the Linux build independent of the kernel, so TrueCrypt does not have to be recompiled each time the operating system is updated.

TrueCrypt now uses the SHA-512 hash algorithm by default. The previous algorith, SHA-1 no longer provides adequate security, and its successor is under development. All encryption algorithms now run in the safe XTS mode for block-oriented memory devices by default. Working at sector level, as is the case in modes such as ECB and CBC, can cause problems, so special modes such as LRW, XEX and XTS (XEX-based Tweaked CodeBook mode (TCB) with CipherText Stealing (CTS)) are now used.

The developers of TrueCrypt recommend all users to switch to the latest version.

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