We all have something to hide. No, not those embarrassing party photos; I’m talking about sensitive documents such as medical records, financial statements, work files, and so forth. (Okay, and maybe those embarrassing photos, too.)
Encryption is the best way to protect important data from those who might do us harm. Here’s a rundown of encryption options.
If you think that your Windows sign-in password is going to protect you from data thieves, you’re sadly mistaken. In most cases, it’s relatively easy to read what’s on a hard drive that’s been stolen or compromised by malware — especially if your primary system is a notebook or some other mobile device.
Theft aside, our privacy is at stake. Who doesn’t have information that we’d just rather not reveal to co-workers, friends, or family members? And it’s not just the primary files on our hard drive we need to worry about. Protecting our data extends to backups and cloud storage.
Encryption is the only way to truly secure sensitive personal and work files. At the bare minimum, you should encrypt anything that might prove useful to identity thieves. Files that contain your bank-account number, credit-card number, social-security number, and similar information need to be encrypted. Whatever else you want kept secret is up to you — or possibly up to the people who pay you.
I’m going to discuss four approaches to encryption and suggest software for each.
Note: Encryption can protect you only if you use a secure password. Make sure your passwords are long and difficult to guess. And don’t lose your password — or all your secure data will be permanently secure from you, too.