Browsing: Encryption

Using the Free Windows Encryption Tool in Windows 10

Today we are talking about Bitlocker the free built-in Windows encryption tool. How it works and how to enable it on your system.

Windows encryption tool
Windows encryption tool

Starting with Windows Vista, Microsoft included Bitlocker for the Pro and Enterprise versions of its operating system. Bitlocker is Microsoft’s solution to drive encryption that is easy to use and just as easy to manage. As the vast majority of users have a Home version of Microsoft Windows 10, access to Bitlocker is restricted by a paywall or OS version upgrade. There is still an alternative in the form of a Windows encryption tool for Home edition that is more rudimentary but more on that later.

How Does Bitlocker Work?

Bitlocker can be used on any computer using Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise. To use it to encrypt entire drives, a TPM chip needs to be present on the motherboard of the computer. The TPM chip or Trusted Platform Module allows for authentication checks on installed hardware, being capable of detecting unauthorized changes. Bitlocker requires access to TPM but it is possible to use Bitlocker without it by editing the Group Policy.

The way Bitlocker works are straight forward. It encrypts entire drives or partitions. It cannot encrypt just folders. Once encrypted, access to the files is only possible with a PIN code or the recovery key which is stored into a file during the setup.

Enabling Bitlocker onto a Drive or Partition

In Windows 10, encrypting an entire drive or partition is very simple.

  • Go to the search bar and type Bitlocker. The search results should list “Manage Bitlocker” as one of the options. Click “Manage Bitlocker”
  • A new window will appear in the form of a wizard. Click on “Turn on Bitlocker”.
  • Bitlocker will check your system configuration to determine if it is compatible. If you have TPM on your system and it is enabled, it will ask for access to it.
  • You will then be prompted to select the drive or partition that you wish to encrypt. Select the drive and click Next.
  • Bitlocker will ask you to set a password or PIN for the encrypted drive. If this is the drive you have Windows 10 installed on, you will be requested to enter the password every time you start your computer.
  • Once the password is set, Bitlocker will ask you to save a recovery key. The recovery key is saved in the form of a file and it is recommended to store it onto a secure flash drive. It can also be printed or written down by hand.
  • You will be asked to choose if you want to encrypt only the files on the drive, without the free space or the entire drive. Choose the appropriate option.
  • Bitlocker will start encrypting the drive. It will take a while. Once done, restart your computer to finish the process.

Bitlocker encryption tool

Bitlocker is just as secure as any other encryption tool. The Windows encryption tool is quite minimalistic in terms of management and configuration options which makes it a viable choice for the ones that may not be tech-savvy or do not wish to pay for a third-party encryption solution. Windows 10 Home edition does not have Bitlocker but it does have “device encryption” which does almost the same thing. However, the Windows encryption tool in Home edition is less secure since it does not require a password. It only protects your data in the sense that it prohibits access to your files if the hard drive or SSD is used on a different computer.

{ Comments are closed }

Discover the features and purpose of Bitlocker windows encryption system

Do you know about the windows encryption method? Windows is the hugely popular operating system produced by Microsoft. It is used in majority of the computer systems worldwide. The latest version of this operating system is Windows 10 Pro and it has a built-in encryption system that protects your data by encrypting it with an unbreakable code. The Windows proprietary encryption method is known as Bitlocker and can be used to encrypt your entire hard disk drive. It can also be used to protect your computer against unauthorized changes occurring at the firm-ware level.

Windows Encryption

In both of these ways, Bitlocker is able to protect your computer form viruses, hackers and unauthorized access of various types. In addition to Windows 10, Bitlocker is available in Windows versions such as Windows Vista, Vista 7, Vista Ultimate, Enterprise and Windows 8.1 Enterprise and 8.1 Pro. For you to use the Bitlocker windows encryption method, your computer needs to run one of these operating system flavors. In addition to that, you need to have a storage drive which has 2 partitions and a Trusted Platform Module (TPM). Here is more about this Windows encryption method.

How do you know if your computer system has these characteristics?

As indicated above, your computer system needs to have a TPM and a hard drive with at least two partitions. The Trusted Platform Module (TPM) is important because it can run an authentication check upon your computer hardware, software and firmware. If it detects any unauthorized changes in any of these levels, then it will boot into a restricted mode. This deters further progress by your attackers until you can eliminate the threat. Do you know if your computer system has this TPM built into it? You don’t have to worry if you are not aware. The Bitlocker windows encryption program will perform the system check for you when you activate it.

Characteristics of Bitlocker

It is proprietary in nature

This windows encryption method is proprietary. This means that it is regarded as Microsoft intellectual property. As such, it is not open-source. This means that it is impossible to look into its source code. While this indicates stability, there are some people who are concerned that Bitlocker itself is not as secure as we would want.

Some people worry that a back-door program was built into the program by Microsoft under coercion by the US government. As such, the program may not be able to protect your information from government-backed actors such as border control or the intelligence services. However, it will keep your data secure against any attackers who have stolen or messed with your computer system.

It performs comprehensive encryption

The Bitlocker windows encryption system normally encrypts the entire Windows operating system. It works on the user files, swap files, operating system files and hibernation files too. In doing so, the program protects your computer system from offline access in case your attacker gains access to your computer system. They will not be able to gain entry into your system because they do not have the Bitlocker encryption key.

How the Bitlocker encryption program works with the TPM chip

The Trusted Platform Module (TPM) is an essential part of the Bitlocker encrypting process. It stores the encryption key. This is a separate, safe location for it. This chip is located within the computer system and can authenticate the computer hardware. Moreover, it is only released after Bitlocker is able to assess and identify the integrity of the boot environment. After the encryption program deems the system stable, it releases the key and gives you access.

Conclusion

If you have sensitive information in your computer system, then it is highly advisable to encrypt it. If you are using a Windows machine, you can do so by using the Bitlocker encryption facility. The features of this windows encryption program are indicated above.

{ 1 Comment }

windows file encryption

Evolution Of The Windows File Encryption

As far as the computer world goes. File security is a big deal that is handled with utmost concern. File encryption is one of many ways by which operating systems ensure file security. It is a transparent form of totally restricting attackers from gaining access to files.

Encryption is a form of security that has evolved over the years on Windows systems. However, Windows systems did not have file encryption until the advent of Windows 2000. It was on the NFTS version 3.0 that the Windows file encryption was introduced.

As encryption can be performed on a file, directory or drive; A group policy can also be used to enforce some file encryption settings on some Windows system. Every version of Windows from 2000 has been enabled with a Windows file encryption mechanism.

Drawbacks of Windows File Encryption

Based on the outcome of research and popular opinion, encrypted files can be lost infinitely on systems. Should a reinstallation fail, there is a chance that the key used for encryption will be lost. The encrypted files may be lost forever in such circumstances.

The encryption system on Windows 7 comes with a backward compatibility algorithm. It would be considered as a rigid system if backward compatibility is ever an issue. This is because files encrypted on an older version of windows would not be easily accessed on a newer version of it.

Added Values of Windows File Encryption

The general cover the encryption provides is absolute protection against attacks. This is beneficial to the because only a user that initiates a file encryption can have it decrypted.

Permissions become granted to files based on who has the key to decrypt the particular file. This is a very convenient to maintain a hierarchy of access to files, directories, and drives in an organization.

It means a different level of access can be enforced on a storage facility and whoever has permission to access every part of the system is the administrator. The administrator can also decide who gets access to what.

What this translates to is that; a supervisor’s access to a company’s database might not be as robust as that of the manager while that of the manager might be inferior to that of the director.

The flexibility and ease of configuration also ensure that someone with a particular permission might be assigned a higher level of access without access to a new permission key. This is because the administrator can easily upgrade the user’s status.

Going by the earlier example, a manager can be granted a director’s permission if such need arises. Someone with a higher permission key can readily access what someone with a lower permission can access. This means, the higher your permission, the wider your range of access.

{ Add a Comment }