What is Encryption?

You’ve probably heard of the word before but perhaps you’re unsure as to what it actually means. Encryption is scrambling your data with a code that is basically impossible to break.

Why people use encryption

The purpose of encryption is to ensure that only authorised persons can access the data and be able to read it using the decryption key. Without the key it is impossible to read the encrypted information.

Intelligence forces such as the FBI rely on encryption to keep data within their organisation super secure.

Encryption dispute between the FBI and Apple

The FBI and Apple made headlines recently over disputes in relation to an iPhone recovered by the FBI. The iPhone was used by one of the shooters in the December 2015 San Bernardino attack. The FBI approached Apple requesting they create a new version of the phone’s iOS operating system that could be installed and run in the phone’s random access memory to disable certain security features. This came about after the FBI announced they were unable to unlock the recovered phone (due to its advanced security features and encryption of user data).

Apple declined due to its policy to never undermine the security features of its products. The FBI responded by applying to a US magistrate judge to issue a court order, mandating Apple to create and provide the requested software. Apple declared its intention to oppose the order, mentioning the security risks it would pose towards customers.

Why you should encrypt your devices

A computer log on password isn’t enough to secure your machine. Resetting a computer password is easy if you’ve got the techy skills! So if you always thought that you were safe as it’s password protected then think again.

How to encrypt

If you have a PC you can use BitLocker and for Mac use Filevault.

After encrypting, what’s next…

The ultimate rule is to KEEP YOUR KEY SAFE!!!

Print out a physical copy of your key and store it somewhere really safe. If you wanted to take extra caution then it wouldn’t hurt to store the key in two secret locations.

Sit back and wait for it to finish encrypting all of your data. It can take hours so it’s not advised to sit there and watch it whilst it does its thing (…don’t say we didn’t warn you!)

Be happy that if you ever lost your device everything will be absolutely fine as it’s encrypted (obviously assuming you have a backup!) It’s extremely vital that you have a backup of your data as without that your data is lost and un-retrievable. Cloud Backups are the perfect way to store your data, unlike a physical backup device which could also be affected by loss, fire, theft or damage.

If you’re concerned about data you have stored on your backup devices (e.g. Time Capsule or external hard drive) you can also encrypt those too!

You can track and find your stolen devices

If your computer, phone or tablet is lost or stolen you can use a piece of software called Prey which helps you track it down! However the software needs to be pre-installed in order for it to work. Installation is quick so what are you waiting for? Install Prey today to have complete peace of mind.

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