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Thefts of laptops have become very common at my place, and losses of sensitive information is a a major concern for my businesses.

So I wonder if there is any good products out there that could crypt the files stored in these laptops.

Would appreciate if someone could give recommend some products

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    Whole disk encryption with TrueCrypt is the standard solution for windows. For Linux some distributions have built in encryption, but that's not my area of expertise. Nov 28, 2012 at 9:28
  • Hi Orebro, product recommendations are not a good fit for SE sites, and of course these change often. A quick search would turn up quite a few good candidates, though, and then you can check a specific product's reputation.
    – AviD
    Nov 28, 2012 at 10:43

2 Answers 2

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Take a look at TrueCrypt. It is open-source, free and multi-platform. It allows you to create virtual encrypted disk or encrypt a full partitions. Works on the fly (you do not see the difference when working with encrypted and non encrypted disk). Supports the number of hash functions:

  • RIPEMD-160
  • SHA-512
  • Whirlpool

And crypto algorithms:

  • AES
  • Serpent
  • Twofish
  • and mixes of them

I am using it for more than 3 years and have not heard about vulnerabilities.

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    Last public vulnerability was in September 2008 (CVE-2008-3899), last serious one was March 2007 (CVE-2007-1738). Neither bug affects the cryptographic security, and no CVEs are listed for versions later than 5.0
    – Polynomial
    Nov 28, 2012 at 9:54
  • That's why I have not heard about them :-). I started to use TC much later. Really thanks for pointing this. Nov 28, 2012 at 10:04
  • Is TC symetric or Asymetric Nov 28, 2012 at 10:09
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    @ÖrebroStudentcentrum Symmetric. I don't see what asymmetric whole disk encryption would be good for. Nov 28, 2012 at 11:47
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    All these algorithms are symmetric. And I do not see a reason for them being asymmetric, because it will just make encryption/decryption slower Nov 28, 2012 at 12:31
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TrueCrypt is the standard for this.

It offers:

  • File-based volumes
  • Full partition / disk encryption
  • System disk encryption (with a bootloader to decrypt at boot)
  • Hidden volumes within normal volumes (for plausible deniability)
  • Password, key files and PKCS smartcards as authentication tokens.
  • AES, 3DES and Serpent ciphers
  • Cipher chaining (multiple ciphers) in XTS mode.
  • SHA-512, RIPEMD or Whirlpool for hashing.

It's also open source and has been vetted by various security and cryptography folk.

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  • Is TC symetric or Asymetric Nov 28, 2012 at 10:09
  • It uses symmetric block ciphers. Asymmetric ciphers wouldn't be of any use in this kind of cryptosystem.
    – Polynomial
    Nov 28, 2012 at 10:11
  • hmm why is that? Nov 28, 2012 at 10:12
  • Asymmetric ciphers are designed for situations involving two or more parties communicating where per-conversation symmetric key distribution is difficult. Two separate keys are used - anyone can use the public key to encrypt a message, but only the private key holder can decrypt them. This doesn't fit the disk encryption model very well. A further problem is that most asymmetric ciphers are very slow and can only encrypt a small amount of data (typically up to the key size), so aren't suited to encrypting large amounts of data.
    – Polynomial
    Nov 28, 2012 at 10:17
  • A great example of how asymmetric crypto is used is in HTTPS. A web server publishes its public key, so that everyone has a copy. I can encrypt a message using that public key, and send it to the web server. It can decrypt it, because it knows the private key. Since nobody else knows the private key, they can't decrypt the message. My message to the server contains a random key, which we can then use as the key to a symmetric cipher. Since only we know the key, that communication is also secure. Obviously this is simplistic - there are a lot of complicated details involved on top of this.
    – Polynomial
    Nov 28, 2012 at 10:22

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