Image Source: Microsoft Bit-Locker via Wikipedia

All-things-Digital made many things convenient for us – ‘convenient’ perhaps is an understatement the way how things are in the world today. For a technology addict like myself I can’t imagine a world without my iPhone and my MacBook Air for example…oh dear.

Naturally, I store a ton of personal information on my MacBook Air, as I’m sure most of you also have as well. One thing I’m always wary about during my travels is losing my laptop somewhere (knock on wood). A laptop can be replaced; however the information that a random stranger may obtain from your lost/stolen computer may cause a whole new dimension of trouble on your hands (think identity theft?).

As we step into year 2012, Digital Cupcake would like to introduce to you that there’s a way to lock down your ‘entire’ hard drive – it’s called Full Disc Encryption.

You could read more on Full Disc Encryption on Electronic Frontier Foundation but in a nutshell, EFF gives us a nice easy description of the procedure:

Full disk encryption uses mathematical techniques to scramble data so it is unintelligible without the right key. This mathematical protection works independently of the policies configured in the operating system software. A different operating system or computer cannot just decide to allow access, because no computer or software can make any sense of the data without access to the right key.

Without encryption, forensic software can easily be used to bypass an account password and read all the files on your computer.

Having a Full Disc Encryption will secure all the contents on your hard drive with a simple password (just make sure you don’t lose it!) and you could rest easy that your information won’t fall into unwanted hands.

There are a number of options for encrypting your entire hard drive but EFF suggests the following:

  • Microsoft BitLocker in its most secure mode is the gold standard because it protects against more attack modes than other software. Unfortunately, Microsoft has only made it available with certain versions of Microsoft Windows.
  • TrueCrypt has the most cross-platform compatibility.
  • Mac OS X and most Linux distributions have their own full-disk encryption software built in.

Your Full Disc Encryption is as safe as your passcode, so you’d need to make sure you set up a secure password that only you would know and would never lose. (If you lose your passcode, most likely you’ve lost all your data.) There are a number of tools to help you set up a great passcode and among those is Diceware. That said, I would suggest trying out  1Password by Agile Bits as well. It has a great tool to generate strong passcodes and will save them on its database that could be accessed from Dropbox, Windows, Mac, iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, and Android devices.

It could be a hassle to get the Full Disc Encryption set up, but it could potentially save you a whole lot of trouble in case you lose your computer for your next business trip (knocks on wood). At the very least this could ease your mind during your next travels.

Full Disc Encryption is Free, Relatively Simple, and Extremely Secure…what’s there to lose? :)


via EFF