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Whole Disk Encryption For Vista? 125

Posted by timothy
from the just-wait-for-it dept.
Q7U writes "After reading about several laptop thefts and losses, my boss wants me to set up whole disk encryption for her Vista travel laptop. After doing some research, it seems she has three options: Bitlocker (part of Vista Ultimate), PGP Whole Disk Encryption, and TrueCrypt. My main problem now is choosing one. I can't find any comparitive reviews of these products to determine which will be the best choice, so I was hoping the Slashdot crowd could suggest which product they would go with and tell us what they liked about their choice."
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Whole Disk Encryption For Vista?

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  • No Comparisons? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by toleraen (831634) * on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @04:59PM (#24502815)
    You could always, you know, type it into Google. [google.com]
  • Fourth option (Score:5, Informative)

    by mvdwege (243851) <mvdwege@mail.com> on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @04:59PM (#24502819) Homepage Journal

    There's a fourth option: SafeBoot. I recently got the basic Administrator training for the product, and it is very nice. Integrates well with enterprise directory services like AD and LDAP, for central deployment of configs, uses decent well-documented standard crypto algorithms and key exchange protocols, and is very transparent in use. All that you see of the encryption is a password entry on boot, everything else is completely transparent.

    Mart

    • Re:Fourth option (Score:5, Informative)

      by Nos. (179609) <andrew@@@thekerrs...ca> on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @05:38PM (#24503369) Homepage

      We went with Safeboot also, but given the submitter's description, I wouldn't recommend it. Safeboot is nice for an enterprise type rollout, not for one laptop. You really don't want to support the backend infrastructure for one machine.

      Go with TrueCrypt or BitLocker for a one-off.

    • Re:Fourth option (Score:4, Informative)

      by Vancorps (746090) on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @05:51PM (#24503517)

      There is also VMWare's ACE which gives you all sorts of options. Additionally there are Virtual desktop scenarios which means that all your work data is done in the VM where everything is encrypted. That leaves the host OS for guests to use. If the laptop is stolen then the user only loses the work that they did between the time they were last plugged into the network, VPN connectivity even counts.

      HP and Lenovo both have whole disk encryption options that work at the enterprise level. My primary experience is with HP which allows me to keep a backup key on a couple of USB thumb drives which can be stored in separate locations. Truecrypt as this same ability and both options are transparent to the OS for the most part.

      • And that means she could run VMWare on a Mac, which is only a grillion times more secure for starters. Plus, it's sexier, and accessorizing is everything... Running VMOSX on a screaming AMD and VMXP on a Mac.
        • by Vancorps (746090)

          VMWare in an ACE environment is just as secure on Windows as it is on any client down to Windows CE or SUSE Enterprise Desktop, that's the beauty of it. Run whatever you want on whatever base OS you want. The security is the same as you still have your AES or blowfish or whatever encryption method of choice protecting the VM image.

          All you need after that is two factor authentication and you're pretty damned secure and you dont have to worry about the host OS as much regardless of your platform of choice.

      • by Wolfrider (856)

        --When I did support work for $Major-US-based-Tax-Company, whenever we had a PGP W.D.E. call (Passphrase not working, etc) == REIMAGE THE BOX.
        Hope you have good backups!

        --I do think the Vmware ACE suggestion above would be worth looking into; Vista as Host + XP as Guest is not the ideal, but as long as you don't try Vista + Vista it might work pretty well.

  • Just truecrypt the saved data.
    • Re:Why whole disk? (Score:4, Informative)

      by dlcarrol (712729) on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @05:03PM (#24502877)
      Hibernation would leave stuff that is in memory open to inspection.
    • Or, you know tell her that she should not be storing ANY data on her computer. ALL data is to be saved to the network shares for backup control and security. If she needs to access something on the road, use VPN.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by compro01 (777531)

        Which assumes she has access to an adequately fast connection. 14.4k dial up + multi-meg files = not getting anything done.

        • by shaitand (626655)

          14.4k? At least use an example that someone has used this decade. 56k dial-up is extreme enough for an example of a slow connection.

          • Re:Why whole disk? (Score:4, Informative)

            by compro01 (777531) on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @05:32PM (#24503283)

            In the last decade? Try in the last week. I regularly deal with people with that kind of connection (often CDPD with a high-gain antenna). Far north conservation officers, for example.

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by shaitand (626655)

              Thats very depressing my friend, very depressing. How could it possibly make more sense to work around the limitations of 14.4k than to use a sat link?

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by petermgreen (876956)

            There really are folks stuck on connections that slow or even slower.

            Conventional GSM dialup for example is only 9.6kbps. Sure there is HSCSD and GRPS but I don't think they are universally supported.

            and I don't think I've ever seen a 56K dialup connection. In my experiance called 56K modems connect at fourty something at best and on crappy lines much much slower.

            And of course there are people stuck with no connection (or no affordable connection) at all.

            • by shaitand (626655)

              The fact that you can get a connection that is that slow is no reason to use it. I feel bad enough for my customers that I have to convince to finally get rid of 56k.

              If you are in the last mile there is a broadband option for you, it sucks, but its a hell of alot better than dial-up. There are a couple companies that will offer you a connection via small dish sat link and AFAIK you should be able to get coverage pretty much anywhere in the US.

              As for the rest of the world, well for all intents and purposes t

              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by slaker (53818)

                There are small towns all over the US for which there is nothing but dialup available, sir. Hell, there are small towns where cable TV isn't even available. I realize this may be news to you, but not everybody lives in urban or suburban areas.

                My uncle is director of Public Health for a county in Illinois. The *only reason* which the BFE Small Town near where he lives has even partial DSL access is that his status as a Homeland Security First-Responder was enough to get Verizon off its ass and build a LEC ju

                • by shaitand (626655)

                  This may be news to you but the satellite internet to which I referred is available in small rural towns in Illinois just as surely as it is available in urban and suburban areas where nobody would want it.

                  I know it is because I lived in rural central Illinois and had a number of customers I serviced who had those lousy satellite internet connections.

                  • by slaker (53818)

                    Satellite isn't necessarily always available. Tree lines, ridges and valleys can determine whether or not an acceptable signal can even be delivered to any particular location.

                    Furthermore, satellite service is horribly expensive compared to DSL and often to cable as well. $70/month isn't exactly a bargain for service that doesn't even meet the FCC definition of broadband (don't be a pendant and talk about signaling, here; I'm using their terminology: 768k downstream is a "fast" connection) internet service.

                • by plague3106 (71849)

                  There are small towns in VT in the North Country that don't have electricity or indoor plumbing as well.

              • If you are in the last mile there is a broadband option for you, it sucks, but its a hell of alot better than dial-up. There are a couple companies that will offer you a connection via small dish sat link and AFAIK you should be able to get coverage pretty much anywhere in the US.
                Sure but this discussion is about people on the move. Most people would not want to lug a satalite dish arround (only practical if travelling by road) and align it every time they need internet access. Not to mention the high subsc

                • by shaitand (626655)

                  'Sure but this discussion is about people on the move. Most people would not want to lug a satalite dish arround (only practical if travelling by road) and align it every time they need internet access. Not to mention the high subscription costs'

                  Okay ya got me. If she needed to edit her spreadsheets while visiting Inca ruins to which she traveled by a plane that didn't allow luggage, she'd be forced to fall back.

                  As for subscription fees they really aren't that bad and are on par with what dsl ran pretty muc

      • Until the VPN concentrator goes down while she needs something very important. That's a horrible idea for anyone that could possibly need something urgent.
      • Re:Why whole disk? (Score:5, Informative)

        by apparently (756613) on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @06:30PM (#24503905)
        Or, you know tell her that she should not be storing ANY data on her computer. ALL data is to be saved to the network shares for backup control and security. If she needs to access something on the road, use VPN.

        Riiiiiiiiight. Because your solution works really well on airplanes, client-sites w/o internet access, or anywhere else where network access may not be available.

        Good job on coming up with novel solutions to difficult problems. Are you in middle-management by chance?

      • in addition to the connectivity problem there is also the same problem as with the "encrypt just the data files" soloution. As I mention in my post at http://ask.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=638067&cid=24508489 [slashdot.org]

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by spinkham (56603)

        The problem is that many programs store temporary working copies on the local disk no matter where you store the main file (Microsoft Office, I'm looking at you...).
        If you have data worth stealing, full disk + swapfile encryption is the only way to go.

    • Re:Why whole disk? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Nos. (179609) <andrew@@@thekerrs...ca> on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @05:40PM (#24503399) Homepage

      Just truecrypt the saved data.

      Because there are too many "gotchas" to not do FDE these days. Did you configure all your applications to only cache/auto-save/etc to the "secure" area of the drive? Did that last update to application Y override those changes? What about hibernation mode? The pagefile?

    • Just truecrypt the saved data.
      The problem is that data gets stored places other than where the user explicitly saves it. Swap space and the temp directory are the most obvious, but if the app is badly behaved there could easilly be other locations too.

      On *nix you can mount partitions with apps on read only and have all read-write areas encrypted but that isn't an option under windows. I guess you could use file permissions to a similar affect but you would have to be very carefull.

      Encrypting everything is t

  • by Gat0r30y (957941) on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @05:01PM (#24502861) Homepage Journal
    Hardware based encryption - have IT put in an FDE Drive. While software based encryption options are good, and most certainly better than nothing, the only really secure way to go is Hardware based.
    • by croddy (659025) * on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @05:25PM (#24503189)
      Except sometimes, the box says AES and instead you get XOR. [heise-online.co.uk] I'll take LUKS and dm-crypt over that any day of the week.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        That Heise article was unclear. The clustering in their plot doesn't necessarily indicate XOR with a fixed block. The same thing would show up if a block cipher (even a very good one) was being used in ECB mode.

        I note that after they assume XOR with a fixed block, and derive that block from one known plaintext sector, they say they could now decrypt the rest of the disk, but they don't say that they DID do that. Just that they could.

        They need to actually do that decryption of other blocks, to see if it r

    • by this great guy (922511) on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @11:41PM (#24506245)

      Nope. Whether the solution is software or hardware is absolutely irrevelant to the security of the cryptographic routines. Plus, the fact is that virtually all hardware products are proprietary and lack the peer-reviews that open standards or open source software enjoy. Just ask any decent cryptographer whether she would trust a black box (storage device with built-in encryption, proprietary "secure" protocol, etc), or peer-reviewed, open, standard solutions (TLS/SSL, IPsec, TrueCrypt, etc). BTW I look forward to the IEEE P1619 project coming up with a final standard.

      Just look up the numerous stories about USB keys with built-in encryption that have been cracked for example.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @05:02PM (#24502865)
    Didn't you hear? They found the laptop in the same locked room where they thought it was missing from. So there's really nothing to worry about.
  • by Toreo asesino (951231) on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @05:02PM (#24502867) Journal

    then Bitlocker will work fine. Otherwise you won't have it.

    In fact, on a active directory, you can configure bitlocker for your entire network to automatically encrypt volumes and backup the TPM recovery information to the Active Directory if you so desire - http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc766015.aspx [microsoft.com]

    Other than that, TrueCrypt works just as well for standalone machines.

  • drive crypt (Score:4, Informative)

    by ya really (1257084) on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @05:06PM (#24502919)
    They offer total 256bit AES disk encryption with DriveCrypt Plus Pack. It requires pre-boot authetication before you can do anything. It also comes with stronger container encryption, like 1344bit triple blowfish.
  • by Channard (693317) on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @05:07PM (#24502933) Journal
    ... do nothing and wait till your boss forgets about it or decides it doesn't need doing.
    • by T.E.D. (34228)

      Actually, that's the Wally option.

      I've taken to calling it the Wally Principle ("If you wait long enough, most problems take care of themselves"), but sadly few others know about it. Its easily more worthy of promotion than the "Dilbert Principle". However, for some strange reason, the Wally Principle's adherents aren't expending any effort to promote it. :-)

  • I've been happy with Truecrypt. It is easy to use and the performance impact seems to be not that bad. I just make sure to never use sleep mode or anything like that. Just power off and on anytime I use it. I also setup my windows login to automatically log me in. I got tired of typing in one password and waiting for the next password. I figure if someone is good enough to break my truecrypt password then my windows password wouldn't stand a chance, especially if they had decrypted the data.

  • One of my previous jobs used thinkpads, and they had stuff built in for security so needed 2 passwords just to get the laptops to start booting up. one secured the bios, the other did the hard drive I believe...

    so maybe get your boss to get all new laptops... security is expensive, but it's worth it to get a new PC...
    • by schwinn8 (982110)
      Yeah, like Thinkpads aren't crackable? Sure, it's not "easy" as you have to get access to the motherboard, but it's not that hard with the right hardware in hand. Do a Google search and find out just how easy it is.
  • Back when I was a kid, we used KoH and we liked it!
    • by KGIII (973947)

      I used my Cap'n Crunch decoder ring. Go on, you know the routine. Off of my lawn!

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by treeves (963993)
      Potassium Hydroxide?! The goal is to encrypt the disk, not destroy it!
      • by Deagol (323173)
        In case you're too young to remember or never heard of it, KoH was an encrypting virus [venona.com] of sorts. I recall playing with in in college in the early 90s. Was a pretty cool concept.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by treeves (963993)
          Thanks for the info. I'm more than old enough, but I was primarily a Mac user at the time when that virus came out, it turns out. Interestingly, the link you gave describes it as KOH, not KoH, and even calls it "the potassium hydroxide program"!
  • by Deathlizard (115856) on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @05:22PM (#24503143) Homepage Journal

    If the Laptop has a TPM chip (many Lenovo Systems do and some Dell's I beleive) Go with something that takes advantage of that hardware. Bitlocker and PGP support it. I'm not too sure about Truecrypt.

    Also, if the Hard drive and laptop supports setting a password (Almost all modern drives do. Most laptops do as well) Set a password. Especially if the Drive itself supports native encryption. This adds an extra layer of protection over software Data encryption. Also keep in mind that Native Hard drive encryption is OS agnostic and is usually faster and better overall than many software encryption packages.

    Although keep in mind that every protection layer adds more complexity and reduces speed. This is especially true when it comes to data recovery. Make sure your boss understands that if something happens to the laptop, especially Hard Drive damage, The Data on the drive should be considered unsalvagable. Keeping a backup in a secure location (Say a Safe in the Main office also encrypted) is a very good idea.

  • by groffg (987862)
    Many options are available in addition to the 3 you've mentioned. The "best" choice depends on many factors, such as scalability, cost, and risk. TrueCrypt is free, but really isn't ready for enterprise use. As someone mentioned already, hardware-based FDE (like Seagate's Momentus drive) may very well be the most secure, but requires additional hardware acquisition and a time investment. BitLocker is an option, but requires upgrading to Enterprise or Ultimate (which can be done in-place, without a significa
    • by ratboy666 (104074)

      "not privy to"

      Of course we are -- the idea is new, inspired by reports of data theft. Obviously the organization is small; doesn't have a security officer for such matters. No real thought of security before, so someone who is not qualified (self admitted) has been made responsible.

      The good news? Its Vista, the security is there -- "bitlocker" and that can make use of tpm chips. Recommendation? Use it, but PUSH ALL SECURITY QUESTIONS TO MICROSOFT.

      The last point is critical. Say something like "Vista comes w

  • by Anonymous Coward

    You may consider Checkpoint Full Disk Encryption (formerly Pointsec).
    http://www.checkpoint.com/products/datasecurity/pc/index.html [checkpoint.com]

    • by compro01 (777531)

      If it's anything like their VPN software (secure client) I'd be avoiding it. That thing has got to be one of the most finicky pieces of software I've had the displeasure of dealing with.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by greichert (464285)
        I had the opportunity to deploy Pointsec on the site I was managing. It went really good, with only minor issues with 2 laptops (out of 20+ computers). They were resolved quite easily and without any loss of data. And BTW I never had any issues with their VPN client either :-) .
  • by Anonymous Coward
  • by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @05:38PM (#24503375) Journal

    Does she even fly at all?

    Customs, at least, has been known to demand the keys to a laptop, and having it obviously encrypted could delay travel significantly.

    Also, there are significant problems with at least some FDE products, currently -- the "cold boot" cracks, in particular. Does she shut her laptop down every time, or only leave it on standby? Does the software actually purge the key from RAM on shutdown?

    Other than that, well, do your own damned homework. [justfuckinggoogleit.com]

    I'd suggest BitLocker, mostly because it's built-in -- kind of like, "What would you suggest for unzipping files in Windows XP?" Well, probably the "Compressed Folder" feature, right?

    Under other circumstances, I'd recommend Truecrypt or dm_crypt, because you really should be using open source software for anything sensitive -- but you specifically asked for Vista, so that's fairly moot.

    But I haven't done my homework.

  • by mlts (1038732) * on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @05:39PM (#24503389)

    I use all three, PGP Whole Disk Encryption on one machine, TrueCrypt on another, and one server has a TPM, so it, and its RAID arrays are BitLocker protected.

    Each addresses slightly different security concerns. If you want to encrypt your disk with a password, and that's all you need, any of these will do the trick. If you want a hardware cryptographic token, so a thief can't obtain your encryption key by brute force, go with PGP Whole Disk Encryption, or BitLocker that supports a TPM with PIN functionality.

    BitLocker is probably the easiest to implement, as you just install it, run software to check and partition the root disk. Then, save the recovery key on a USB flash drive (well away from the laptop). You can also save the recovery key on a TrueCrypt volume too. Once Bitlocker is enabled, the security of the machine will be the user passwords (especially any user with Administrator rights.) Make sure you have a decently long (16 characters, preferably more than 20) password to log on with. If you use BitLocker with a PIN and the TPM, you can get away with shorter user passwords if you hibernate or shut down.

    Disadvantage of BitLocker -- Requires a TPM for decently secure functionality. TPM enabled laptops are rare, and desktops are rarer still, unless you explicitly buy a motherboard with one, or a "corporate" desktop.

    TrueCrypt is a very good solution. It is licensed at no charge (donations are recommended), and is very secure. However, its intended for a single user machine. Using multiple passwords with it is kludgy at best. However for a single user, its very secure once enabled, and you burn a TC recovery CD.

    PGP Whole Disk Encryption is the most versatile. It can use a TPM, USB flash drive, smart card, eToken, or none of the above, and use multiple ones in a list to authenticate for a hard disk to work. For example, my laptop has an eToken for hardware security, but as an emergency, I have a very long recovery passphrase if the eToken gets lost or someone locks it by too many guesses. Another example is a friend of mine who has a TPM on his laptop, but if that fails for some reason, he has two eToken keys as backup. PGP Whole Disk has a very good reputation, and is by far best solution for a business IT environment.

    You can't go wrong with any of the three listed.

  • I have used it in the past in the banking industry and it works well.

  • by BenEnglishAtHome (449670) on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @06:11PM (#24503713)

    I have useful experience with three products.

    SecureDoc from WinMagic [winmagic.com] is the software solution we use at my big TLA. As administration headaches go, this one isn't so bad. The recovery processes are workable but not (that I can see) hackable by any thief. The way we have it set up, users get 15 shots at screwing up their machine before IT has to get involved, thus allowing most bozos to eventually get it right while not giving infinite opportunites to thieves. It's administrable over the network (in some ways) and, thus, suitable for big organizations.

    At home, I still have one Windows machine and it's secured with PGP. [pgp.com] I've never used it in a big networked environment so I can't comment on how easy it is to administer. It has one feature that I think is neat, though. You can hit TAB before typing in your passphrase and it will be displayed in clear text. (Normally your pass isn't echoed on screen.) Scoff if you will but on those bad days when I've had little sleep and am, perhaps, a bit hung over, my 59-character passphrase can sometimes be just one hurdle too far. Seeing the text on-screen can be a big help for those times when my head just isn't in the game.

    Finally, hardware encryption is better. When my Windows machine was my primary (I now am almost entirely migrated to an Ubuntu installation that I installed from the alternate CD, enabling full disk encryption from the beginning) computer, I relied happily on Flagstone [flagstonesecure.com] drives. I still have one of their USB Freedom drives for backups. The login schtick is more severe; you get few chances and your data goes bye-bye if you screw up. However, I like the fact that they are a real product, not vaporware like some of the encrypted drives from major manufacturers. You can call them up, give them a credit card number, and actually get the hardware. If you talk to the home office in England, you'll converse with smart, helpful, courteous people. All in all, they're a joy to deal with. Downsides? Prices are high and capacities low, but that's part of the deal when it comes to certified hardware such as they sell. Truly irritating downsides? The documentation, unless they've revised it recently, is not all that it should be. Still, I don't hesitate to recommend them.

  • by ad454 (325846) on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @06:44PM (#24504031)
    At least WinVista and WinXP users have several full disk encryption options, including the opensource TrueCrypt.

    But Mac users are out of luck, since no opensource full disk encryption exists for the MacOSX. Neither TrueCrypt or Apple's FileVault support full disk encryption on MacOSX. The only option is the closed source Check Point Full Disk Encryption [checkpoint.com] product.

    But if it is not opensource, then I personally would not trust it not to have back doors, especially since multinational corporations left-right-and-center have been falling all over themselves to help the US and other governments spy on the general population.
  • After reviewing the costs of most commercial software for a mid size deployment we decided we could hack it out with truecrypt. I wrote a small database application that stores the recovery iso and the password for each machine (in case IT needs to get into the machine). So far truecrypt has worked great and is easy to install, we just drop an image then start the encryption process. Then we supply the end users with the password needed to unlock their machines (dynamically generated). We don't have to worr

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Now if we can just figure out how to prevent them from keeping the password written on a sticky note.

      This is exactly why we need two-factor authentication for the encryption to be secure. If the password is too complex/long, it will be written down. If it's too easy/short, the password can be brute forced.

      And they WILL write the password down.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Shihar (153932)

      Asking people to memorize a random 10 character password is pretty much futile. You make brute force attack harder, sure, but you just made social engineering attacks trivial. What is better, a user whose password is jesussaves1 or the user whose password is Dj7lasJ82k, but has it written on a piece of paper in his desk drawer? One requires a lucky guess or a detectable brute force attack, while the other just requires a janitor to open the desk drawer and copy the password.

      People in security get to obse

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by FictionPimp (712802)

        Actually the password generator I wrote makes 'speakable' password. These tend to be much easier to remember. so instead of 7yg$rt0 you get something like qB3r7! (ie qbert! short for the sake of the conversation).

        We do allow them to set their own password if the really throw a fit, but it has to conform to our password policy (min 8 characters mixed). We figure that is enough security for us.

        We did a testing rollout with our IT department first and then picked our worst users for a second test. Once we were

        • by Shihar (153932)

          Well, clearly it is your system, but I think you are just trading an improbable and hard attack (dictionary attack) for a trivial attack that your janitor can perform. If someone starts hammering away with a dictionary attack, you can detect it and respond.

          Telling people to remember qB3r7, while eliciting a lol from a l337 slashdot user, is just going to blow over the heads of the average idiot user. They will shrug, write it down, and leave it in their desk, making your biggest security vulnerability not

          • I understand your point, but unfortunately because of the way truecrypt works, the password can only be set by an admin users, so either, everyone has to call IT and set their password, or we have to program a function to allow them to do that.

            The only other option is to pay for software to do full disk encryption. So there are lots of trade offs. Although in terms of brute forcing, the idea is that they stole the laptop and are trying to brute force it. So there really isn't anything we do to stop them fro

            • I just had another thought. All of these people seem to have no trouble learning to memorize and use all that crappy texting/im slang. They know what wtfbbq means, how hard is it to learn the 'haxor' for those passwords?

              Gotta love selective learning.

  • As quoted from TrueCrypt, "System encryption provides the highest level of security and privacy, because all files, including any temporary files that Windows and applications create on the system partition (typically, without your knowledge or consent), hibernation files, swap files, etc., are always permanently encrypted (even when power supply is suddenly interrupted)"

    Implements a pre-boot authentication which means the TrueCrypt password has to be entered before the OS boots and can be installed and e

  • by rtechie (244489) * on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @06:57PM (#24504173)

    When evaluating these products it's very important to remember that while one of your laptops MIGHT get stolen, MANY of your users WILL forget the password for their laptop and WILL get locked out. So key recovery is BY FAR the most important feature of these products. This really can't be stressed enough.

    Which is why I'll tentatively recommend Bitlocker, since it's got the best data recovery capabilities (keys are automatically backed up to the AD server, etc.).

  • http://it.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/07/30/204241&from=rss [slashdot.org] Just reading that would make me gravitate towards PGP or TrueCrypt.
    • by weicco (645927)

      Oh for Pete's sake! If BitLocker prevents you from tampering with the boot-loader, it is somehow considered as bad? I'm really not sure where's the logic in that.

      • Some people consider not being able to retrieve their data when all they did was enable encryption on a dual-boot machine bad. And yes, I know that you can chainload GRUB with Vista's bootloader, but most of us would prefer GRUB as our primary bootloader, not Vista's. This isn't someone "tampering" with the bootloader. It's just someone using a non-Microsoft bootloader. And if your drive is encrypted, who cares if someone tampers with the bootloader? Your just saying, "It's not a bug; it's a feature!"
        • by weicco (645927)

          Well, I consider the validity of my bootloader to be more important than to be able to dualboot using bootloader X. And yes "it is not a bug; it is a feature" because malicious bootloaders are considered to be dangerous, neh?

  • I had such experience of making choice between FDE solutions half a year ago. TrueCrypt 5 had sucked on several Dell laptops. Vista just didn't boot normally, safe mode only. We stopped at PointSec, it's deployed very easily and performs perfect AD integration. But if you are planning to rovide PGP messaging services at the same time, then maybe PGP Desktop would be the better choice. Good luck!
  • Bruce Schneier and gang aren't impressed by truecrypts product [schneier.com].

    Also gotta look at this from a risk point of view - and as previous mentioned don't forget those border guards in the US!

    • by daveewart (66895)

      > Bruce Schneier and gang aren't impressed by truecrypts product .

      Their problem is relating to the deniability of the encryption. That's not an issue for many, I guess...

    • by dfn_deux (535506)
      Did you even read what you linked? Schneier isn't sayign the encryption is weak, just that the "plausible deniability" of TC's hidden volumes is questionable.
      • by martin (1336)

        yes and yes.

        Just pointing to an issue. Kinda muddie's their reputation. If there's problems with one part of the product and it's still an issue in the next release even after it being pointed out.

        "So we cannot break the deniability feature in TrueCrypt 6.0. But, honestly, I wouldn't trust it."

        • by dfn_deux (535506)
          The technical difficulty in providing a hidden and deniable filesystem is one seriously tough nut to crack. However providing full disk encryption is much simpler. I would agree that truecrypt has burned a little bit of their reputation, but I would hardly make the leap to not trusting their encryption technology since AFAICT it works well, is open source, has been subject to critical peer review AND has yet to have any cryptographic or implementation flaws found in it.
  • TrueCrypt is a good idea if this is essentially a one-off standalone machine. Just remember that, given you're talking about Vista, take care during the TrueCrypt installation: it will default to switching the swap file off, which is a good idea in many circumstances (although unnecessary for full-disk encryption) but will kill any Vista system with 1GB RAM.

    You can tell this happened to me, can't you? The Vista laptop I tried it on took about 30 minutes to boot with "only" 1GB of RAM and no swap file. ;-)

    • by imsabbel (611519)

      If you are running vista on a computer with 1GB ram, you are beyond help anyway.

      • by daveewart (66895)

        If you are running vista on a computer with 1GB ram, you are beyond help anyway.

        You could also argue that the RAM remark is irrelevant too ;-) Anyway, I was setting up this laptop for PHB: Lenovo ship Vista laptops with 1GB. I persuaded our supplier to upgrade it to 2GB on the grounds that 1GB/Vista "bordered on self harm". As he owed me a favour, he went along with that and sent the extra RAM :-)

  • The answer (Score:3, Informative)

    by duffbeer703 (177751) on Thursday August 07, 2008 @08:46AM (#24508579)

    Vista Bitlocker is good, but has some issues, as it uses Windows authentication, and not pre-boot. Its two-factor system is kinda weak. If you're a small business worried primarily about casual theft, it's a good solution.

    TrueCrypt has pre-boot authentication, which is much more secure. But its encryption implementation is not necessarily FIPS certified, and to my knowledge the system doesn't have common criteria certification. For a business user, the ability to recover a key/password is minimal... so use with caution.

    PGP/SafeBoot/Pointsec/WinMagic are all commercial FDE applications that work well, but have specific features that matter moer to some people. PGP is nice because its universal server can provide other services like email encryption as well. SafeBoot has robust management, particularly if you are a McAffee AV customer. Pointsec was the only solution that allowed you to force pre-boot authentication after hibernating the PC. They also have a (very expensive) small business option that doesn't require a server. WinMagic has excellent smart-card integration, and integrates well with PKI solutions.

  • At my work (a large fortune 500 company) we use Pointsec and it works pretty well. I haven't had any problems with it, but I don't know how much it costs, etc.

  • This is by no means a simple question. A simple google search may give you some options, but developing the criteria alone to make an effective decision on a solution that fits your environment is a difficult process.

    There are several factors to consider such as key management, removable media protection, cost, multiple user logons, and reporting/auditing. Do you want to deal with the VP that changed the pre-boot password so no one else could get their data, then forgot it the next day? If you are us

  • more info on hardware based encryption... http://www.scmagazineus.com/Crypto-chip-How-the-TPM-bolsters-enterprise-security/article/111865/ [scmagazineus.com] IMO best choice FDE drive, they come from Seagate, fujitsu and hitachi. Seagate has best "out of box" solution. FDE is faster, cheaper, easiest to use, easiest to manage. http://www.seagate.com/www/en-us/products/laptops/momentus/momentus_5400_fde.2/ [seagate.com] (Since your not managing large numbers you don't need the servers...if you did manage 10-100,000, the servers would be a
  • I'd suggest going with TrueCrypt.

    BitLocker might also be good, but I can't use it on my laptop, as it doesn't have a TPM in it. However, it appears pretty sound, and for laptops with a TPM it comes down to whether or not the user considers the T to stand for trusted or treacherous.

    TrueCrypt, on the other hand, doesn't require any particular hardware to work. It does its job completely in software, which could also make for easier recovery if the laptop itself gets damaged -- simply pop the HDD into another

  • I recommend SafeBoot [utexas.edu]. It is extensively deployed on all laptops in my client's company and it works great.

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