How Is it Possible to Change a Password Without Re-encrypting an Encrypted Disk?

//
How is it possible that you can change your Windows password without re-encrypting a hard disk that was encrypted using that password?

I’ll assume you mean BitLocker whole-disk encryption, but the concept applies to many different encryption tools. You can often change the password (or passphrase) without needing to re-encrypt whatever it is you’ve encrypted.

The secret is simply this: your password wasn’t used to encrypt the disk.

Something else was.

Read moreHow Is it Possible to Change a Password Without Re-encrypting an Encrypted Disk?

Use BitLocker to Bypass Potential Self-Encrypting Drive Vulnerabilities

Whole-disk encryption is a form of data security that encrypts all the data on a hard disk, irrespective of what that data might be.

Encryption and decryption happen at a low level, making it transparent to normal usage. As long as you’re able to log in to your Windows machine, you’ll have access to everything on it as if it were unencrypted. Turn the machine off, and the data is inaccessible and securely encrypted until you sign in again.

Low-level encryption and decryption can happen either by the hard disk itself, as data is read from or written to the drive (hardware encryption) or by Windows (software encryption).

The problem? Some drives using hardware-based encryption have been discovered to have vulnerabilities that could allow encrypted data to be exposed.

Read moreUse BitLocker to Bypass Potential Self-Encrypting Drive Vulnerabilities

How to Best Back Up Your Encrypted Data

I talk about encryption a lot. I talk about backing up even more.

Encryption is a critical component of keeping data safe and secure and out of the hands of those who shouldn’t see it.

Backing up, of course, is our safety net for when things go wrong. A recent backup can save you from almost anything.

Unfortunately, I’d wager that most people are backing up their encrypted data improperly. The result is that they’re not as protected by that backup as they might think they are.

Read moreHow to Best Back Up Your Encrypted Data

VeraCrypt: Free Open Source Industrial Strength Encryption

Encryption comes up frequently in many of my answers. People are concerned about privacy as well as identity and data theft, particularly on computers or portable devices where they don’t always have total physical control of the media.

The concern is that someone might gain access to sensitive data.

Encryption is the answer.

Even if your device falls into the wrong hands, proper encryption renders that access useless.

VeraCrypt makes encryption not only easy, but nearly un-crackable.

Read moreVeraCrypt: Free Open Source Industrial Strength Encryption

How Should I Encrypt the Data on My Laptop?

//

My wife needs to encrypt patient files on her laptop.

She has been encrypting individual files, but I wonder if you recommend a program that will encrypt folders. e.g. her Documents folder?

Is there a way to encrypt a hard drive or partition?

Encrypting individual files is perhaps the least efficient way of protecting data. There’s also a serious potential for data leakage, as you must securely delete the unencrypted files after encrypting them. Most people don’t do that.

There are three basic approaches to securing data on a laptop. Which is most appropriate for you or your wife depends a little on how conscientious you are and a little on how geeky you are. Of course, all methods depend on how religious you are about backing up.

Read moreHow Should I Encrypt the Data on My Laptop?

How Should I Password Protect an External Drive?

//
I’m wondering if it’s possible to password protect a USB flash drive or any other external hard drive if I’m using Windows as my operating system? In Windows, there’s a feature called ‘Bitlocker’. Is it any different than putting on a password?

BitLocker is one solution, and it’s much more than “just” password protecting the drive.

What you’re really looking for is encryption.

Read moreHow Should I Password Protect an External Drive?

How Do I Encrypt a Hard Drive Using VeraCrypt?

Some time ago, I realized the external hard drive I carry with me when traveling was an easy thing to lose. Some of the data on that drive is encrypted in various ways, but the vast majority is completely unencrypted.

If that conveniently small, portable drive walked off in someone’s pocket, they’d have access to a lot of my stuff.

In a forehead-slapping moment, I realized I was going about this all wrong.

I should encrypt the entire drive.

Read moreHow Do I Encrypt a Hard Drive Using VeraCrypt?

Using BitLocker Without a TPM

While pulling together a video describing how to use BitLocker to encrypt a hard drive, I ran into a problem.

I couldn’t.

More specifically, the machine I was using didn’t have a required hardware component used by BitLocker: the TPM, or Trusted Platform Module.

Fortunately, there’s a workaround.

Read moreUsing BitLocker Without a TPM

How Do I Encrypt a Disk?

Whole-disk encryption is an important aspect of security for many people. If you encrypt a disk properly, and your computer falls into the wrong hands, those hands won’t be able to access your data.

While the average computer user may or may not need to use whole-disk encryption (it depends on the type of data they store, as well as their own level of concern), it’s an important tool for business, government, and particularly for portable computers, such as laptops and tablets.

I’ll review a couple of my recommended approaches to encrypting a disk completely.

Read moreHow Do I Encrypt a Disk?

How Do I Encrypt a Folder?

Sometimes encrypting a single file isn’t enough. Sometimes you want to encrypt all the files in a folder, and often the sub-folders as well.

As you might imagine, there are several different solutions, depending on your particular needs.

I’ll review some of the alternatives, as well as their pros and cons.

Read moreHow Do I Encrypt a Folder?

How Do I Encrypt a File?

Sending an encrypted document as an attachment is a pretty reasonable approach to sending information securely in what is otherwise an unsecure medium – email. Even though there are approaches to encrypting email, they’re either obscure or complex, and not as ubiquitous as we’d like.

Encrypting individual files can also be an important step to your own secure data management.

I’ll look at two approaches to encrypting a single file which can be sent securely in email, yet typically, decrypted easily by just about anyone.

I’ll also take special care to call out the weakest link most likely to allow your encryption to be cracked. It may not be what you think.

Read moreHow Do I Encrypt a File?