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(ITS Staff only)
BitLocker is included with Windows 7/Windows 8/Windows Server 2012 and provides Full Volume Encryption. By encrypting the entire hard drive, the operating system can provide a much higher level of security against offline attacks. BitLocker uses HSU's Active Directory to store keys and help manage data protection.
Encryption is the transformation of data into a form unreadable by anyone without the secret decryption key. Its purpose is to ensure confidentiality and privacy by keeping the information hidden from anyone for whom it is not intended. When an entire hard drive is encrypted, all the data on the drive is protected from unauthorized access if the computer is lost or stolen. Encryption can also be used to protect sensitive files that are sent through email or sensitive communications sent over the network.
Computer viruses used to be very obvious - you'd know that your computer was infected because threatening messages would appear on your screen, or applications stopped working. Today's malware instead tries to be as secretive as possible - the goal is to get onto your machine and start stealing valuable information, not to show off programming tricks. Many of today's attacks come wrapped in a cloak of pseudo-legitimacy, appearing as a message or request for information from an official source, such as your bank, eBay, even the Humboldt State University Technology Help Desk.
The best way to protect personally identifiable or other confidential information stored on a computer is to encrypt it. However, encryption can negatively impact computer performance and make some applications harder to use, so it is sometimes necessary to use encryption less and instead add an element of hardware configuration into the mix to keep systems running at an optimal level.
Here are some of the ways hardware configurations may be combined with software tools to create a balance between security and usability.