The Sourcerer's Apprentice

The adventures of David Heinemann in IT & software development

New Years Resolutions

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Now that 2012 is here, it’s time to start making New Years resolutions - those things that you promise yourself you’re going to do, but never quite get around to.

If you’ve still got room for one more resolution, and are willing to commit, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has made an excellent suggestion, one that everybody should aim for this year. That resolution is full-disk encryption on every computer.

Many of us now have private information on our computers: personal records, business data, e-mails, web history, or information we have about our friends, family, or colleagues. Encryption is a great way to ensure that your data will remain safe when you travel or if your laptop is lost or stolen. Best of all, it’s free. So don’t put off taking security steps that can help protect your private data. Join EFF in resolving to encrypt your disks 2012.

I stand by the EFF in this recommendation. Full-disk encryption is an important step in securing your computers. While most of us do not have to worry about oppressive governments prying into our data, full-disk encryption is still excellent at protecting computers from thieves and other nosy people. Combine it with a secure cloud backup service like SpiderOak or Backblaze, and the only thing you have to worry about if your computer is stolen is replacing the hardware.

Full-disk encryption is cheap (free in many cases), easy to set up, and goes a long way towards protecting your personal data. If you are using Windows, I heartily recommend TrueCrypt, a free & open-source solution which I use myself. Alternatives for Windows and other operating systems are listed on the EFF blog article.