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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.