In the scary world of technology where the governments and hackers are always on a hunt for their feed of data, makes a person think if they are safe or not.
For now, there is one way that can help you protect your information from those who want it – encryption.
This year’s CIA dump suggests that encryption works and that people should use it more.
“We are in a world where if the U.S. government wants to get your data, they can’t hope to break the encryption,” says Nicholas Weaver from the University of California.
Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden says that encryption works if implied properly; with strong machines, the method works in fighting off government and hackers.
So how can ordinary people encrypt their computers? Let us get started with the very basics here – full disk encryption.
Encrypting Disk on a Windows Machine
Almost every version of Windows – except the Home editions – has a built-in encryption system called the BitLocker.
To see if BitLocker is available on your computer, go to My Computer, then right-click on C Drive. You will find the Manage BitLocker option. If BitLocker is not enabled, right-click on C Drive and click Turn on BitLocker. Thereafter, you will be asked to back up your Recovery Key, which is used for unlocking your system. Save it on a USB or print it.
If you don’t find the Manage BitLocker option, you can download and use DiskCryptor as it is free and open source software and will give you options for encryption.
Setting up the PIN
When you restart your computer; BitLocker setup wizard resumes automatically. Click Next. When the BitLocker startup preferences page is displayed, set up a PIN.
Click Start and type gpedit.msc in the search bar. It will take you to the Local Group Policy Editor or LGPE. On the left-hand side of your LGPE window, select Local Computer Policy, then Computer Configuration, then Administrative Templates, then Windows Components, then BitLocker Drive Encryption, and finally Operating System Drives.
On the right side of the window, select Require Additional Authentication, then go to Edit Policy Settings. A new window will open, select Enabled, click OK, click Finish, and close the LGPE.
Managing the BitLocker
Go back to My Computer, right-click on C Drive, and select Manage BitLocker. You will reach the BitLocker encryption page. Select Change How Drive is Unlocked. You will get the options to either insert a USB with the key in it or enter the PIN manually at Windows startup. Enter your PIN, and click Set PIN.
Even though using a USB looks like it’s straight out of a spy movie, we reckon using the PIN that you can remember. The PIN can be anywhere from 4 to 20 digits long. The longer, unique, and complex the string of numbers and combinations are, the harder it is for anyone to steal it.
Restart your computer; BitLocker will encrypt your data in the background.