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Encrypting Computers


currycraver
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Had this discussion with my hubby today, reference the post on photos being downloaded onto computers at home.

He works in IT and says encryption is the best way to do it, anyone can break a password (if they are that way inclined!) but if you have encrypted files then it's more secure

It's all above me, I smiled and nodded politely and looked interested at him xD

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If you are in office 2007, if you click the office button in the top left hand orner and go down to 'prepare' , there's an option to encrypt a document there. You just have to set passwords that have alphanumeric properties, at least ten characters. This should give you all the security you need, and more!

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Just done a bit of research and there are software programmes you can download which will securely encrypt your computer as well as any files you send wi-fi. They are for serious users though, by the look of it, and if you forget your password, you are totally stuffed!

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Wow i have never heard of having to encrpyt my files. I do use lockbox to password protect the folder i have all confidential information within.

 

I suppose the information is at risk without encryption, even though a password is still required to decrypt, so it is a very similar situation? And if somebody really really wanted to decrypt the files, im sure they could, and it prob wouldn't be much harder than a password crack either!

 

But yes it would be safer ;)

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It depends on the data you are sending and handling. I was emailing data about children's development to the County for statistical analysis.

 

A ten digit alphanumeric encryption code takes a while to crack.

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Wow i have never heard of having to encrpyt my files. I do use lockbox to password protect the folder i have all confidential information within.

 

I suppose the information is at risk without encryption, even though a password is still required to decrypt, so it is a very similar situation? And if somebody really really wanted to decrypt the files, im sure they could, and it prob wouldn't be much harder than a password crack either!

 

But yes it would be safer ;)

 

Can you tell me a little more about lockbox? We were recently given an encrypted memory stick to put confidential stuff on but it was also suggested that we keep it in a password protected folder on our laptops so we had a backup. I researched and found how to do do it for a single file as Cait described above but couldn't find it for a whole folder.

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okaaay...so being really thick here - if you encrypt and send - how do they get to see it at the other end? Have you already passed on the 10 digit alphanumeric code?

 

 

Total encryption software would be a waste of time for moi - I have had to change sooo many passwords because of old age syndrome it's been silly!

 

All fascinating stuff!

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okaaay...so being really thick here - if you encrypt and send - how do they get to see it at the other end? Have you already passed on the 10 digit alphanumeric code?

 

 

Total encryption software would be a waste of time for moi - I have had to change sooo many passwords because of old age syndrome it's been silly!

 

All fascinating stuff!

 

Phew! You have just made me feel sooooo much better! xD

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okaaay...so being really thick here - if you encrypt and send - how do they get to see it at the other end? Have you already passed on the 10 digit alphanumeric code?

 

 

Total encryption software would be a waste of time for moi - I have had to change sooo many passwords because of old age syndrome it's been silly!

 

All fascinating stuff!

 

I'd actually been thinking this too - it's all very well me keeping assessment data on a special memory stick and/or encrypting the file on my computer but in reality I e-mail the data to my head when he wants it.

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Ok so we have a few different security issues here:

1) PC's containing confidential information - A password Protected folder or Encrypted Drive would work well

2) Keeping backup's on Memory Sticks, External HD's - As mentioned Encrpyted or Passworded should work well

3) Sending this information over wifi - i am fairly sure your wifi connection is already encrypted at your router, or it should be and the better the encryption the better obviously, ie WPA over WEP etc

4) Sending via email - ok this is a problem in many ways. The email client (ie Gmail, hotmail, etc..) is hackable (passworded account only) and this would leave this information at risk. SO you need to encrypt it before sending (and at storage primarily) and this would mean the reciever would also need to decrypt the file sent!! As long as you are both communicating securely (face to face meeting being the securist, as long as you are not bugged!!!) to swap passwords or required software keys to decrypt.. then this is good?

 

Man i do not feel safe anymore! But seriously the confidential information really does need to be very secure, but i don't think anybody is going to go to large lengths to read it are they?? As long as you have measures in place im sure you and the information are fine :D

 

Sorry for my ramblings :P

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Yes they need to know the password already, or a format, so, for example it could be something like 16june2012 or something, you could have a system where it's the date the file was sent, or whatever.

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Just done a bit of research and there are software programmes you can download which will securely encrypt your computer as well as any files you send wi-fi. They are for serious users though, by the look of it, and if you forget your password, you are totally stuffed!

Well with my decaying brain that will be a challenge. AM updating my home computer software from 2003 version so will try encrypting files when I get it sorted. Many thanks

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Check Point have a range of software that can encrypt your entire hard disk and/or removable media, like a USB flash drive/memory stick:

 

http://www.checkpoint.com/products/index.html#endpoint

 

If data is stored on a USB flash drive which is then lost it cannot be accessed unless it is put in the original laptop or if you know the password. Not sure on the cost.

 

An alternative solution could be to use a Kingston DataTraveler Vault. This has its own encryption software built in so if you put the drive in any computer you have to enter a password to use the drive. You cannot format it or do anything to it unless you know the password. They do a more expensive and "extreme" version but it is quite expensive for a flash drive. Still, it might be a simple way of ensuring important files are encrypted.

 

Remebmer though that most documents can be recovered from a computer after you have deleted them with some simple software, so it is best to encrypt the machine if data security is a concern for you. If you create a file on your computer and then put it on to a secure flash drive it is still on your computer somewhere. All you have done is remove the icon that links you to the file.

 

When you are done with a computer it is best to wipe it clean before you recycle it or repurpose it. A free solution that can do this is called DBAN:

 

http://www.dban.org/

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Yes they need to know the password already, or a format, so, for example it could be something like 16june2012 or something, you could have a system where it's the date the file was sent, or whatever.

What a great idea CAit, that would keep one aspect of this whole challenge reasonably simple. :rolleyes:

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