TrueCrypt 5.0 was released yesterday and OS X has been added to the list of supported operating systems, making it the only open source volume encryption utility that works in Linux, Mac and Windows. It’s a really slick utility for creating an AES-256 or Serpent encrypted volume that you can drop sensitive files inside.
You can use TrueCrypt to create an encrypted volume image inside a file, or you can encrypt a whole disk image or partition. The OS X version uses MacFUSE to provide user-mode mounting of the encrypted disk. The main application window, pictured above, gives you a simple interface for creating and mounting encrypted images.
Once an image is mounted, you can use it like a normal hard disk. Unmount the disk and you’re left with a file full of random gibberish. FAT is the only filesystem that’s available through the interface, but once the disk is mounted, you can reformat it with Disk Utility to use XFS.
There are a couple of things worth noting. In the Windows and Linux versions a special bootloader is available that lets you encrypt your entire system drive. It doesn’t look like that option is available in the OS X version. Also, when I tested the latest OS X binary this evening, the “hidden volume” plausible deniability feature wasn’t working. Hopefully that will be added in a future release. Until then, TrueCrypt is better suited for storing tax documents and things you wouldn’t want visible to a laptop thief, rather than the details of where you’ve hidden the bodies.