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File Encryption: Software vs. Hardware

Posted on 2004-03-23
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Last Modified: 2011-09-20
What is the best way to encrypt files on a notebook?

Software:

What encryption software (other then Microsoft) is available and EASY TO USE? (ex.  Symantec, Watchgaurd, Cisco, others)

Hardware:

Are there any types of USB keys on the market that encrypt the contents of an entire hard drive built into a notebook or PC?
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Question by:brewcoke
6 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:Luc Franken
ID: 10662486
Hi brewcoke,

If you're using winNT/win2k/winXP use the build in EFS encryption. You won't even notice yourself while working with the files, but they'll have a very good protection when using it.

Greetings,

LucF
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Assisted Solution

by:parkerig
parkerig earned 25 total points
ID: 10663850
Hi,
We are currently having an IT audit by Price Waterhouse.
They use a product called safeguard easy - and have done for ages.
My theory is - if its good enough for the auditors, its good enough for me.
Link below
Cheers
Ian

www.utimaco.com/content_products/sg_easy.html 
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Expert Comment

by:bloemkool1980
ID: 10667004
I am using safeguard and it is really useful and has strong encryption.
THe advantage is that it is transparent so you encrypt the disk and the user does not have to interact with the program itself. It also gives On-Boot protection which blocks the device from being booted by unauthorized people.
Another great tool is www.caveo.com. Caveo ensures file encryption, on boot protection and physical theft this is pcmcia card you insert and is thus hardware.
I would not advise microsoft encryption as it is not so transparent as the previous mentioned tools and it does not protect your pc from being booted.
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Expert Comment

by:pddh
ID: 10667058
Try Reflex DataVault - government approved over here in the UK and as far as I know one of the cheapest.  i used it when in the royal air force. www.reflex-magnetics.com

It creates a virtual drive of any size (you can make it appear like an entire encrypted hard disk if you want), I like it cos it is quick to install (can be done over the network) and is very reliable - you don't encrypt the OS files with this so crashing is not terminal.

Plus you can back up the encrypted file.
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Accepted Solution

by:
Rich Rumble earned 25 total points
ID: 10667426
Cisco uses hardware encryption cards to speed up- rather to take the encryption load off of the CPU, so if you had 70 ipsec tunnels, the CPU wouldn't have to encrypt all that data by itself. Hardware encryption is much much faster than software, as it is specialized to do one thing, encrypt/decrypt, so all it's circuitry is dedicated to that task. In a PC... unless your using it as firewall or some sort of encrypted depository that hundereds of people are going to connect to... you shouldn't need HW. Even a notbook should handle encrypting a few files or folders pretty easily.

I prefer PGP as an encryption suite. They even have packages for windows CE and palm OS.
http://www.pgp.com/products/personal/index.html
It's also very easy to use.

Even winzip or winrar are programs that are good at encryption- with the added benefit of compression- which the two are most times mutually exclusive. The encryption on winzip is strong, and with a password over 10 chars long with a varying case's it would take plenty of time to crack, I know :)

here are some usb encryption devices I've seen around... never used them though...
http://www.eyenetwatch.com/USB_hard_drive/picodisk-crypto-usb_.htm
http://www.envoydata.com/security/enova_usb128.htm ($180.00)
http://www.rtsz.com/cryptostick.shtml
-rich
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Expert Comment

by:steven_yao
ID: 10678729
Recommend a software that can encrypt second hdd , removable hdd , usb pin drive .

It encrypts entire dirive partition and file system in few seconds.

Encryption Algorithm , 128bits IDEA .

software link : http://www.magic2003.net/scrypt

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