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Computer Encryption

Computer Encryption

Computer theft can happen to anyone, any place, and any time. There are people who Group 4 Networks - IT Supportdeem their data more valuable than their computer. This data can be corporate secrets, client information, personal information, etc. There is a one way everyone can protect their data if their computer was ever stolen. This process is called “encryption”. Encryption is not a new thing, it’s been used for a long time. Encryption works of algorithms, mathematics calculations. Each encryption method works differently, one is weaker, another is stronger, one performs faster, and the other one could be slower but more efficient.

Encryption is the process of scrambling the data. A key is assigned to the data, which is the password to access the data. With the encryption process, you could give your data to someone, or someone could potentially steal it, but they wouldn’t be able to read any part of it without your key. Once the key is entered, the data is decrypted and it could be read in plain text. For example, you can password protect a word document; no one will be able to read it without the password.

There are a few ways one can start working in an encrypted environment. Most operating systems now support encryption. With Mac OS you can encrypt the entire hard drive using the builtin FileVault application that comes with Mac OS. Some argue its not as secure or fast as other tools, but it’s a start. Windows 7 does feature an encryption service called BitLocker. However BitLocker is only available on the Enterprise and Ultimate editions, which are generally more expensive. Windows 8 also features BitLocker, available to the Pro and Enterprise editions. The issue with BitLocker is the backdoor. Microsoft has built in a backdoor, which Microsoft and government agencies can use to decrypt an encrypted computer if one was ever seized. BitLocker can work in a few different fashions. The most secure fashion is having a TPM (Trusted Protection Module) installed on the computer, when it was purchased. A TPM is a special chip that is installed on the computers main board. The second part alongside a TPM is to require the user to insert a special flash drive to the computer upon each startup. If the computer were stolen, but not the flash drive, the thief would have no access to the data at all. The user has the ability to encrypt some of his data or all of it. Encrypting the entire hard drive is the best method.

TrueCrypt is one great application, which has no backdoors and is completely free, this way you won’t have to worry about which edition of Windows you have. The best part is that it also works with Macs. TrueCrypt can create various encryption solutions. One can make a container which is encrypted, and will look like another hard drive, when mounted. Although it’s just one simple file which needs a password to be accessed? Same as BitLocker, TrueCrypt can also encrypt the entire hard drive, requiring the user to enter a password upon each startup.

It all comes down to how much protection you want and if you need it. If you work with sensitive data and cannot afford that data to be leaked out in any way, shape or form, you may want to think about some sort of encryption plans in the future.

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