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Going Paperless and need encryption suggestions

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I'm transferring all my paper files (bank statements, bills, invoices, expense receipts, contracts, etc) to PDF. However, keeping them on a laptop does not seem very secure. Has one else done this? How did you encrypt the data? Other suggestions?

I'm using neatworks for receipts and PDFs for general documents.
post #2 of 14
upgrade to windows 7 ultimate and use bitlocker, assuming you have a tpm chip (most business laptops will have this but consumer ones probably not). You'll need to swipe your fingerprint or enter a pw to use the machine and if you lose it (the machine), anyone that removes the drive will see only gibberish because it'll all be encrypted.
post #3 of 14

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by GQgeek View Post

upgrade to windows 7 ultimate and use bitlocker, assuming you have a tpm chip (most business laptops will have this but consumer ones probably not). You'll need to swipe your fingerprint or enter a pw to use the machine and if you lose it (the machine), anyone that removes the drive will see only gibberish because it'll all be encrypted.

 

Bitlocker is probably the most transparent to the user way of doing this, but if the OP only really needs secure encryption of certain documents to which access will be occasional and limited, I'd use TrueCrypt (which is what I do). That way, that material is secure when not needed, freeing the system password to be, perhaps, less complex than one might want for secure information.

 

~ H
 

 

post #4 of 14
Doesn't have to be a complex password to be secure. "I really like pie" is a secure password and shouldn't be too hard to remember.
post #5 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by dune View Post

Doesn't have to be a complex password to be secure. "I really like pie" is a secure password and shouldn't be too hard to remember.

http://xkcd.com/936/
700
post #6 of 14
Not sure if you really have to use random words, but basically what the xkcd guy says yeah. There's no point in using a password that's so complicated that you have to write it down or risk forgetting it, and that's still not as secure as a short sentence.
post #7 of 14

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Edited by deltafoxtrot - 12/8/11 at 1:12pm
post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks! Both Bitlocker and TrueCrypt look good. I’m not going to access the files that often. I just don’t want all my financial information to be easily accessed if the laptop is stolen or someone manages to network into it.

I’m also using an online backup service (mozy.com). Will either of the programs allow me to restore the files if I have retrieve them from the backup?
post #9 of 14
use truecrypt to make an encrypted volume that you can mount as a drive.

Whenever you need access to the files, mount up your S: (or whatever letter you pick) drive, and do your work as if it were no different than any other hard drive.
post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Huntsman View Post

 

 

Bitlocker is probably the most transparent to the user way of doing this, but if the OP only really needs secure encryption of certain documents to which access will be occasional and limited, I'd use TrueCrypt (which is what I do). That way, that material is secure when not needed, freeing the system password to be, perhaps, less complex than one might want for secure information.

 

~ H
 

 


I use both for different purposes. i have windows 7 ultimate on my thinkpad and use bitlocker, which also protects the boot process, swap file, and entire system partition. It's nice knowing that if my laptop gets swiped, nobody will be able to access anything on it. The system password is a random string and my fingerprint. I just need to use the fingerprint and it's single sign-on from pre-boot into my windows account after i enter it, so it's really easy to use.

I use truecrypt on my desktop system for an encrypted partition. it keeps certain files away from "trusted" users that have access to the system (like snooping GFs). it's a pain in the arse to access, relatively speaking, because i use a keyfile on a usb + a password.
post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 
Truecrypt looks really good for what I need. Is there a way to restore from a backup without the original computer? Would I need anything more than to reinstall truecrypt and use my password?
post #12 of 14
You use truecrypt to create an encrypted file which you mount with truecrypt and use as if it was a regular external drive. This encrypted file is just a bunch of jumbled data which is meaningless until you mount it using your password. You can move this encrypted file from one computer to another and use it as long as you have truecrypt installed on that machine. So whatever your regular backup scheme is you just want to make sure that file is backed up, you can then move it to any machine. Truecrypt is great because it's future proof being open source and Mac/pc/Linux.

If you haven't used files that you mount as virtual volumes you gotta wrap your head around it but it isn't too hard. But this is the best solution.
post #13 of 14
yup, truecrypt volumes can be accessed by any computer with truecrypt and the right passcode.

I created mine on windows but have mounted it across the network on a linux machine just fine. Just avoid mounting it on multiple computers at the same time because I am not sure it plays well this way.
post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by SVS View Post

Truecrypt looks really good for what I need. Is there a way to restore from a backup without the original computer? Would I need anything more than to reinstall truecrypt and use my password?


Nope -- a Truecrypt volume is unrelated to the computer that created it. All you need is the file, a comp running TC, and your password. The only time you could get into trouble is if you supplement your password with a keyfile and you lose the keyfile. That would suck.

 

~ H

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