Data encryption is very important in todays day and age. Security on all our devices must be implemented to its full extent. Online thieves have been getting more and more tricky with stealing user information for their own benefit. Taking the wrong steps with protecting your data on your PC could result in thieves stealing your identity. Here are options available for data encryption in Windows 10.
Data encryption takes data and translates it into another form of code so the only way of reading the data is with a decryption key. This is the most popular and secure way of handling the protection of data. There are two main types of data encryption, asymmetric encryption and symmetric encryption. Asymmetric encryption is also known as public key encryption because it uses public and private keys to encrypt or decrypt data. Symmetric encryption is the same, but it uses one single key to encrypt and decrypt the data. This would mean that the sender and receiver must know the key to able to read the message. Sending the secret key over the network could cause issues if the key falls into the wrong hands. That person would be able to read every message that was encrypted with symmetric encryption. The way asymmetric encryption uses its keys is that they are in a key pair. One key is public, so anyone could send you a message while the other private secret key is kept just for you. When sending a message, the only way to view it is by having both the public key and the private key. This method is more secure, but it uses more resources to encrypt and decrypt messages so the result is that it’s slower.
In Windows 10 there are two methods for data encryption, Encrypting File System (EFS) and BitLocker. EFS is the main encryption service used in Windows 10. It’s very simple to set up and use. With just a few simple steps you can easily encrypt files or folders on the system. Here is how to encrypt a file or folder:
- Open the file explorer on your computer and locate the file or folder you want to encrypt.
- Right click the file or folder and click “Properties”
- At the bottom of the menu you will see the “Attributes” section. Click the “Advanced” button.
- In the “Advanced Attributes” menu you will see the “Compress or Encrypt attributes” section. Click the checkbox on the last option, “Encrypt contents to secure data”. You have now successfully encrypted a file or folder!
BitLocker handles encryption by encrypting the entire drive instead of just single files or folders. Anytime you create a folder or file it automatically gets encrypted. To access the drive, you will need to enter a password or provide a different way of unlocking the drive. Instead of a password you can set up a USB drive that acts as a key to unlock the drive when inserted into the computer. It is recommended that you use BitLocker with a Trusted Platform Module chip (TPM) installed on the system. This chip is used to store encryption keys and can detect if an unauthorized user is in the system. BitLocker is typically already set up on Windows but to check to see if you have it set up here is how:
- Search windows for “Manage BitLocker” and click on the option.
- Here you will see what drives are being encrypted
Knowing how to encrypt your data is important for your safety and a good practice for the future.