Deciphering laptop encryption

    Date06 Dec 2005
    CategoryCryptography
    8427
    Posted ByBenjamin D. Thomas
    During the past two weeks, I started up a disk encryption project, one of the technology initiatives under my company's intellectual asset protection program. Our goal with the disk encryption effort is to prevent the loss of intellectual property stemming from the theft of a laptop. On several occasions, executives' laptops have gone missing or been stolen. One of those missing laptops contained intellectual property and sensitive data, including information on a pending acquisition, product strategy and road maps. Luckily, it was recovered.

    Should something like that happen again, we want the data on the laptop's hard drive to be illegible, which means we have to encrypt the entire hard drive. I assembled a team of representatives from our help desk, Windows engineering and Web applications groups and my information security team. After the initial project meeting, which familiarised everyone with the scope of the project and the state of the technology, we considered three products: Microsoft’s Encryption File System (EFS), PGP’s Whole Disk and Pointsec Mobile Technologies' Pointsec for PC.

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