Wednesday, 17 October 2012

When Does Data Cost £150k

A police authority was fined £150,000 this week after a flash drive was stolen with data on it from an officer's home.  To make matters worse It contained details about more than 1000 people with links to serious crime investigations.  In this day and age we have more information about us on various forms of electronic devices, do we really care about what people see.

Last year, an internet security company bought 57 USB keys at a lost property auction containing a total of 4,400 files.
They found:
  • Nearly 3/4 of the keys had one or more malware infections.
  • Many of the USB keys contained personal and work-related files.
  • Not a single one of the 4400 files was encrypted.
So, how do you protect yourself from leaking data on USB keys which get lost or stolen?
Or on keys which are transferred between users, departments and even companies?
Or on keys that you are retiring from active service, perhaps because they're no longer fast, reliable or capacious enough?
One answer: only ever write encrypted data to your USB keys.
That makes them just so much meaningless garbage to anyone without the decryption key.
There are free encryption programs out there, here are just a few;
TrueCryptWhen you run the TrueCrypt installation file it offers to install or just extract the files. The latter choice gives you access to TrueCrypt.exe, which is all you need to operate TrueCrypt in traveler mode. If you have access to another computer where you can install TrueCrypt, you can use the "Traveler Disk Setup..." tool to create self contained secure volumes.

FreeOTFE - Installation is not required for using FreeOTFE, but you do need Administrator priviledges in your account to run it in portable mode.

FreeOTFE Explorer is a simpler companion to FreeOTFE. It does not require administrative rights.You can create encrypted volumes with FreeOTFE Explorer, or use it to open encrypted volumes created by FreeOTFE. 

Try each of these programs to see which one you like using a small flash drive if you have one.

If you have any data that you do not want anyone to see, encrypt it.

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