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The One Factor That Protects a Laptop computer After It’s Been Stolen


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Felipe Trueba/European Pressphoto Company

When your laptop computer is misplaced or stolen, you aren’t simply out $800 (or extra). Your private info can be accessible to whoever takes it, even when you have a password.

“Unfortunately, a typical password-protected user account does nothing to protect your data,” says Dennis Stewart, a safety engineer at CipherTechs. “While the password will prevent someone else from logging into your computer, an attacker can still use other methods to copy files off.” In the event that they take away the exhausting drive and put it into one other laptop, they’ve entry to any recordsdata you’ve got saved on it. In some instances, they’ll even reset the password in your PC and acquire entry to your e-mail, passwords and different private info.

Fortunately, you may defend your information towards each of a majority of these assaults with encryption. “Encryption is a mathematical process used to jumble up data. If important files or whole devices are encrypted, there is no way to make sense of them without the key.” Which means if a thief tries to entry your info, they’ll solely discover a jumbled mess except they’ve your password, and so they received’t have the ability to merely reset that password if the system is encrypted.

Encrypting your exhausting drive isn’t some super-technical course of that solely safety specialists can carry out, both — anybody can do it on their laptop at dwelling, and it ought to solely take a couple of minutes to stand up and operating.

The right way to Encrypt Your Laptop’s Exhausting Drive

In case you have a Home windows laptop computer, you’ve got just a few choices. Some Home windows 10 gadgets include encryption turned on by default, and you may examine this by going to Settings > System > About and scrolling all the way down to “Device Encryption.” You’ll have to log into Home windows with a Microsoft account to ensure that this function to work, but when your laptop computer gives it, it’s a simple and free solution to defend your information.

In case your laptop computer doesn’t assist System Encryption, you should use Home windows’ different built-in encryption device: BitLocker. BitLocker is just accessible on Skilled variations of Home windows and above (a $99 improve for Residence version customers), nevertheless it’s extremely straightforward to arrange. Simply head to Home windows’ Management Panel > System and Safety > Handle BitLocker. Choose your working system drive and click on the “Turn On BitLocker” button, following the prompts to create a password that can operate as your encryption key. Make sure you retailer your BitLocker key in a secure place — -somewhere not on that laptop — -in case one thing goes flawed!

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Updated: March 13, 2018 — 11:24 am

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