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Hard Disk Encryption using PGP Desktop

Posted on 2009-05-04
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Last Modified: 2012-05-06
I have a primary master hard disk partitioned into 5 partitions (C E G H and K). It is a dual boot system. I have two separate installations of Windows XP installed on partition C and E. I have encrypted partition H only using PGP Desktop. Now when I boot my computer I get asked to enter my pass phrase before the system will boot up. I wish to know whether I can now safely assume that no one can access the data I have on partition H of this hard disk, even if some one takes this hard disk out of my computer and try to access data on its partition H using this hard disk as an external USB hard disk. Thanks for your help.
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Question by:FaheemAhmadGul
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☠ MASQ ☠ earned 200 total points
ID: 24294070
Yes

PGP encrypts your true partition and creates a tiny bootable partition which is the bit you see when you try to boot to the drive. Boot.ini now points to this. PGP then unecrypts the Windows partiton "on the fly".

I suppose it would be true to say it's not 100% foolproof but without your login credentials and password for PGP it is not economical in terms of time needed to crack the encryption on the drive so your data is safe.
 
In the US with a court order the drive could be unncerypted by the federal authorities as all encryption products must allow a backdoor via the system publisher.
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Author Comment

by:FaheemAhmadGul
ID: 24294363
Many thanks for your response to my request for help. Your answer is comprehensive and I will accept it as solution. I would be grateful, however, if for my peace of mind, you could also explain what will happen if some body stole my PC, took the hard drive out of it, put it in external USB drive and tried to access the data on its partition H using a different PC. Would they then be asked to enter the passphrase or password. I am increasing the point count to 200 for this extra clarification. Thanks
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LVL 62

Expert Comment

by:☠ MASQ ☠
ID: 24295021
If the drive was stolen and an attmpt was made to boot from it PGP would launch and request your passphrase, the PGP boot partition is on the drive you selectd to protect not on the C: drive.

Initially the theif wouldn't even find the main partition on H but if they used more sophisticated tools they would find there is a large partition but it is gibberish without the PGP passphrase.
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Author Closing Comment

by:FaheemAhmadGul
ID: 31577496
Many thanks. I am very grateful. Regards, Faheem
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