STOLEN COMPUTERS = Personal Information Leak


Are you a member of the YMCA? If so, you may have received a letter regarding their computer theft and that your personal information could be in the hands of crooks. Here is another opportunity for me to talk about encryption. In this case, whole drive encryption.

Encryption is when you take datainformation that can normally be read easily and then scramble it to the point where all you see is gibberish. The only way to unscrambledecrypt the information is if you supply the correct password. There is a free product on the market that is easy to use and does a good job of encrypting USB drives, part of a hard drive or entire hard drives. The product is called TrueCrypt. I have been using it for about four years now. I use it mainly with my USB drive.

I have all the important files I need on my USB drive. Yes, I admit it, I lose my drive more than I would like, but I always find it. However, I never worry about someone finding my drive and looking at all of my files. I use TrueCrypt to encrypt my USB drive. If a person plugged it into their computer, the only thing they would see is a file called “jjones.” If they clicked on the file, immediately they would be asked for a password.

Yes, I know crooks use password cracking software. However, my password is pretty secure. Can it be broken, sure? According to tests I have run to see how secure it is, it would take someone about 872 years to crack the password. Crooks whether online or offline often go after the “low hanging fruit.” In other words, crooks go after the easy target. I am willing to bet they would give up trying to get into my little ol’ USB drive and move on to something easier.

If you have sensitive information on your computer or USB drive, it may be worth your while to look into encrypting your information. I have also washed and dried (left in my pants pocket) my USB drive several times. I still do not worry. I have everything backed up to three different places, but that is another story for another day.

YMCA Story:

http://www.wsbtv.com/news/news/ymca-warns-members-personal-information-leak/nFjrb/

TrueCrypt:

http://www.truecrypt.org/docs/

KNOW & protect yourself,

John L. Jones

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