Drive Encryption and Data Security

Data Encryption

Data Encryption There are many reasons to talk about encrypting your drives whether it be the hard drive of your computer, thumb drives  or an external hard drive. We all know about computer thieves and hackers breaking into business networks and stealing  data, but if you think about it, your information sitting on an Amazon or other server is more secure than sitting on your  own computer. If they can get into those servers, they can get into yours. Your one piece of protection is to encrypt your  drive and data, which is where the big boys often fail. Why don’t they encrypt the data? Because it slows down their big  networks and in today’s online business, you can’t be slow. However, the effect of speed on your own system accessing your  own local data is pretty much not noticeable if you have a newer, modern computer. So instead of continuing to talking  about the “why” of data encryption, let’s talk more about the “how”.

One of the more well known, and free, whole disk encryption offerings is TrueCrypt. This software is free and open source, which means many people have had their hand in developing, testing and improving the software. You can encrypt your Windows or Mac or Linux based computer.  TrueCrypt has been around for quite awhile and in used in the corporate world as well as in the individual home. Here are the steps to take to get your data encrypted:

Now there are articles on the web and other places talking about how to get around or “hack” an encrypted drive. One of the more recent and common attacks has been dubbed “The Evil Maid” which essentially works like this: You leave your laptop someplace semi-public location like a hotel room or similar where someone might have physical access to your laptop or computer. You might have even turned your computer off before you left it. The person inserts a USB or smart card into your laptop and leaves it there. You come in later, login to the laptop and do your work. The USB/smartcard has recorded your keystrokes (called keylogging) and now the “Evil Maid”  has your encrypted password and other passwords to any sites you might have visited. Many folks are putting a lot of concern about such an ‘easy” method to circumvent encrypted security. All I can say is that if you don’t look at your laptop/computer before typing on it to see if there is an unknown device sticking out of it before you use it, no amount of security was ever going to help you anyway. Even Google is getting more involved in encrypting their data they house.

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