If someone steals your personal computer, laptop, or thumbdrive, can they read your files and data?

In most cases the answer is yes. Though you may have to log in to your computer or laptop to use it, your data itself is not normally protected. If the drive is moved into another system, all of your files can be recovered. If your thumbdrive does not ask you for a password when you use it, then it has no protection at all.

So what can you do to protect your data?

Some specific programs, like Word, Excel, and Quickbooks to name a few, offer features to password-protect their files. While the quality of this protection can vary, it is still an improvement over no protection.

Laptops and desktops offer a way to set a password on the hard drive itself. However, to aid in data recovery when the owner forgets their password and is locked out from their hard drive, the manufacturers have master codes that can unlock them. Many of these master codes have become known to the public, making this feature unreliable.

Encryption is the most effective method. A properly encrypted file cannot be read by anyone but you. Encryption can be used for laptops, desktops, and thumbdrives. However, it requires more effort to work with encrypted files, and in the event that the storage device is failing, it may be impossible to properly recover the data. Backups are even more essential, though the backups themselves should also be protected with encryption.

If you would like to learn more about how to protect your sensitive personal data, please contact Savvy Computers!