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Thursday, September 07, 2006

How to secure important files / data in your computer / laptop

Here I am going to explain to you a small and elegant tool that will help you secure the important / private files that you have stored in your computer / laptop.

Would you prefer that important data like information about yourself, account numbers, personal documents and the like are accessible all the time from everyone who has access to your computer or that this data is only available to someone with special access ? I would like to give details on an easy way to store your data safely on your computer without wasting lots of time. It may be safer keeping the data in a safe in your appartement but this is not really practicable.

A better way would be to use some sort of encryption to make it (almost) impossible for everyone except you to access those files. The process to encrypt files is easy and can be followed by everyone, even someone who does not have lots of experience with computers. Here is what you need:

  1. True Crypt: A freeware tool that makes it possible to encrypt (parts of) storage devices like hard drives and usb sticks.

  2. Free space on an internal or external storage device.

That is all. Both can be easily obtained. If you do not have enough hard drive space you might want to consider buying an additional drive (external or internal) or an usb stick with one or two gigabytes of space.

True Crypt makes it possible to encrypt a hard drive or create a container on a hard drive. The difference is that a container takes only a portion of space of that hard drive leaving the rest visible. I for instance have an external hard drive with 200 gigabytes of space that is encrypted by True Crypt and can only be accessed when I enter the code that I selected at the time I encrypted the contents.

Lets say you installed true crypt and have a device ready that you want to use. You choose a password during the encryption that is used to encrypt and decrypt the device. This password should consist of 20+ chars for security reasons. Whenever you want to access that device you will have to select a drive letter and enter the password to do so. Once you have entered the correct password the drive becomes accessible just like every other drive on your system.

There are no slow downs working with the encrypted drive compared to working with a unencrypted device. It behaves normal, has the same speeds and reaction times. Once you finished working with the device you can unmount the device or turn off / reboot your computer which has the same effect. A new start won’t show the device until you have enabled it by providing your password.

The possibilites are endless. You could for instance install all tools that save user data (like browser history, cache, email and the like) on the encrypted device. No one will be able to access this data if the device is not enabled, which means spying on you becomes so much harder.

You want a safe place for your account details and transactions ? Use True Crypt.

It is easy to setup and safe. So what are you waiting for, try it now!!!