With more identity information collected and conveniently stored in digital form, it has become much easier for savvy thieves to steal large amounts of personal identification information from computers, particularly from vulnerable employee laptops. The stolen information is then used or sold to become part of the huge identity theft problem facing businesses and individuals. As older methods of protecting information on the computer have proved inadequate in deterring sophisticated cyber criminals, security experts have started to recommend file encryption as a cheap and reliable method of protecting vital information.
Passwords Aren’t Enough
Although passwords are a necessary part of computer security, even the best passwords are unable to fully protect the information on a computer. Password hacking has reached the stage where almost all passwords can be broken, given enough time. Likewise, security devices for laptops may protect against easy theft, but aren’t much use against persistent identity thieves. A much more secure way to provide cheap identity theft insurance for computer files is to use file encryption. The best file encryption programs are user friendly and can be run automatically without hindering computer performance. The cost of such programs is far less than the cost of rectifying stolen identification information.
Digital information can be encrypted in several different ways. FDE, or full disk encryption, protects data by encrypting everything on the hard drive that boots the computer. Access to the data is limited to those who can authenticate to the FDE software. Another type of encryption is virtual disk encryption in which a container is created on the disk to hold files and folders. Users cannot access the container at all without successful authentication. A third type of encryption, file or folder encryption, encrypts individual files or folders, and denies access to those without proper authentication. These files have separate encryption keys and can be managed on an individual basis. File encryption is often used when multiple users share a single computer. Cryptographic systems of this type can encrypt even the metadata belonging to the files, which can be important for identity information storage.
All encryption solutions require good management, and businesses must maintain the solutions to their encryption products. As encryption technology changes and inevitable vulnerabilities on older technologies are discovered, older devices containing identity information could be attacked and accessed by enterprising hackers. With knowledgeable management, good encryption solutions have become a crucial part of computer security.