Hard Drive Encryption
Data security is vital in today’s world. In addition to protecting yourself from Trojan horses and viruses and identity thieves, you also have to consider the possibility of physical theft of your laptop or desktop. Many operating systems are now offering the ability to enable software encryption of the entire hard drive. In some cases (such as Windows 7), this option is only available in the higher editions (Enterprise or Ultimate).
One open-source alternative is TrueCrypt. It provides full hard drive encryption which starts at the moment of boot. Setup and installation is straight forward and the software works behind the scenes once you have provided your unlock password. A word of caution: If you lose or forget your password, there is no way to retreive any data from your hard drive as it is completely encrypted.
Some cool features of TrueCrypt:
- On the fly encryption including initial encryption (you can defer the encryption if you need to shutdown your laptop).
- Conversion of an existing boot disk without the need to reformat
- Support of plausible deniability
If you do end up using it, be sure to consider donating to the further development of the software.