Today’s Cybersecurity tip is: encrypt everything
Encryption seems like a scary topic to a lot of people; and if you get into the weeds of the algorithms used and salts and hashes … it certainly can be. But for most people in everyday life, encryption boils down to securing data or information with a password; something everybody should already be familiar with.
Rather than try to espouse the benefits of encryption and debate the pros and cons, let me just say that encryption keeps data at rest protected. If you’re storing unencrypted files in the cloud, and a hacker gets those files, they have all that information. If those same files are encrypted, you’ve made it exponentially harder for the hacker to get the information in those files.
In the interest of keeping this a “tip” rather than an essay, and so I don’t take the thunder out of any potential future “tips” in this series, let me touch on some things you can do to encrypt your local storage and devices using built-in tools.
- Certain versions of Windows contain Bitlocker full disk encryption; if you have this available to you … USE IT; if not, consider upgrading to a higher version of Windows or using a third-party encryption tool
Mac OS X
- FileVault full disk encryption is available in System Preferences -> Security & Privacy -> FileVault
- Encryption can be enabled in Settings -> Security & Location -> Encryption & Credentials
- Encryption is enabled by default when you have a passcode enabled … so make sure you have a passcode setup
Please note that encrypting your hard drive can potentially slow down your system since it’s decrypting files or drives before use. However, most modern devices are fast enough to compensate and you would only notice this on older, slower devices anyway. Also note, I didn’t mention encrypted containers or third-party encryption applications like VeraCrypt, Symantec Drive Encryption, etc. These have the same effect, but aren’t integrated into the operating system, so are potentially less secure … but also have their valid uses. If you want more information about these tools, ask below.
See you tomorrow!