Ask Leo! #614 – Encryption, Encryption, Encryption, and more…

Ask Leo! Live!

Thanks for all the feedback on the Ask Leo! Live survey from last week. I haven't read through all the comments yet (see the "PS" below), but I've already learned a lot from the tabulated results....

For example you may remember my previous "Facebook Fan Friday" psuedo-live comment-based Q&A sessions. Turns out that Friday comes in dead last as a day of the week preference. Lesson learned: ask first. Wednesday morning seems to be leading the pack right now, but based on the results I may also see if I can't change it up from time to time to accomodate more.

In terms of a venue ... I may need to ask again later. Quite literally the day after I sent out the survey Google changed how they do some things, and YouTube Live may be an option I'd not considered. More on that in the weeks ahead.

Thanks again!


PS: No video this week, I'm afraid. I'm travelling as I write this (doing amateur radio support for Bike MS in Montana), and the video I shot in my hotel room ... well, let's just say it wasn't up-to-snuff. Smile


How Do I Encrypt a File?

Sending an encrypted document as an attachment is a pretty reasonable approach to sending information securely in what is otherwise an unsecure medium – email. Even though there are approaches to encrypting email, they're either obscure or complex, and not as ubiquitous as we'd like.

Encrypting individual files can also be an important step to your own secure data management.

I'll look at two approaches to encrypting a single file which can be sent securely in email, yet typically, decrypted easily by just about anyone.

I'll also take special care to call out the weakest link most likely to allow your encryption to be cracked. It may not be what you think.

Continue Reading: How Do I Encrypt a File?

How Do I Encrypt a Folder?

Sometimes encrypting a single file isn't enough. Sometimes you want to encrypt all the files in a folder, and often the sub-folders as well.

As you might imagine, there are several different solutions, depending on your particular needs.

I'll review some of the alternatives, as well as their pros and cons.

Continue Reading: How Do I Encrypt a Folder?

How Do I Encrypt a Disk?

Whole-disk encryption is an important aspect of security for many people. If you encrypt a disk properly, and your computer falls into the wrong hands, those hands won't be able to access your data.

While the average computer user may or may not need to use whole-disk encryption (it depends on the type of data they store, as well as their own level of concern), it's an important tool for business, government, and particularly for portable computers, such as laptops and tablets.

I'll review a couple of my recommended approaches to encrypting a disk completely.

Continue Reading: How Do I Encrypt a Disk?


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Glossary Term

encryption - public key

Public-key encryption is a special case of asymmetric encryption in which one key of a key pair is made public, while the matching key remains private or secret.

In asymmetric encryption, data encrypted with one key of a key pair can only be decrypted with the other key of that same pair.

Keeping one key of the pair secret and allowing the other to be public enables you to do two very interesting things:

  • If you know someone's public key (click here to see an example PGP key), you can encrypt data using that key, thus guaranteeing that only the person who holds the secret key can decrypt the data. This becomes a secure way to send digital data only to that person.
  • You can verify that data encrypted with a private key originated from a specific person by successfully decrypting it with their public key. The decryption would only be successful if it had been encrypted with the matching private key. This actually forms the basis for digital signatures.

Glossary Terms are featured selections from The Ask Leo! Glossary.
Have a term you'd like defined? Submit it here.

Featured Comments

Is It Time To Remove GWX Control Panel?

T.Toth writes:

I totally agree with You Leo, I think Microsoft has burned the Bridge of Trust forever, I downloaded GWX after your recommendation but Windows 10 was already sitting on my W-7 machine . The fact that we had to go to the extent to download a software just to protect our self from Microsoft tells volumes about their attitude.

And yes GWX will stay on my computer as long as I have it and I will never go back to automatic updates either.

Alan writes:

I installed W10 with 2 days to go and had no problems, so I uninstalled GWX. Since had 2 driver problems (WiFi and Bluetooth) but thanks to the internet community all fixed, so no regrets. Happy to have had GWX to protect me meanwhile.

paulbasel writes:

I had read over the past year that some people were installing GWX to prevent or delay the update to Windows 10 but I personally could not understand the reasons why people refused to install it, and still do, particularly now that it is no longer free. My experience with Microsoft has always been positive and I go back to 1981 when I purchased an IBM PC running MS-DOS. I have updated the OS every time a new update and purchased new versions when they came out (except for the silly ME and SE). In all those years I have never had a problem with updates or new installs and most of all, have never had any reason to mistrust Microsoft for any reason.

I helped (actually, just hand holding) 8 of my friends to install Windows 10 over the past year and recently to alert them to the Anniversity update. Not one had any problem at all with either the install or the update. In one case, I scheduled a day with one of the least computer literate friends to help him install the new Windows 10 and he thought that he would help out by at least downloading the update the night before we met. He went to bed and the next morning there was Windows 10 waiting for him to use, fully installed. Not bad if you ask me. All of my friends agree that their systems start up faster, run faster and that there is not much difference (at least for their needs) between 7 and 10. I installed Classic Shell on about half of them just simply for cosmetic reasons and the fact that they like the Win 7 interface better.

Why Don't I Get Sound from My Computer? (A Checklist)

Drew writes:

Notice since the Anniversary update (Aug 2) when you click on the volume icon now there will be an ? in the top right corner.

Click on the ?, here you need to select the driver. Also if you have ever used both headphones and speakers, be sure Speakers is selected.

Leo writes:

That may appear only if you have multiple output devices, but good point.

Leo's Books

Backing Up 101 Saved! - Backing Up with Macrium Reflect - 2nd Edition Saved! Backing Up With EaseUS Todo
Saved! - Backing Up with Windows 7 Backup Saved! - Backing Up with Windows 8 Backup
Just Do This: Back Up! The Ask Leo! Guide to Internet Safety The Ask Leo! Guide to Routine Maintenance Maintaining Windows XP - A Practical Guide

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