Problem protecting against leakage from stolen laptop

Discussion in 'privacy general' started by specsav, Sep 19, 2006.

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  1. specsav

    specsav Registered Member

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    Sep 19, 2006
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    Hi, some time ago a friend of mine had his personal laptop stolen. He had all his private data encrypted with both Rijndael(AES) and Twofish encryption in a container, but he had bought software which he used on his laptop and a lot of these licenses needed to have either or both the name, email and registration key to be activated. When the laptop was stolen the licenses where not on it, not even in the encrypted container, but the software which had been registered with the licenses where installed. After an incident he googled his name and to his amazement when googling his full name (he has sort of a rare name), he found on the bottom of the first search page a crack site which offered his name, email and serial as a mean to register a software illegally. After more research he found out several of the licenses he had purchased was available online for people to register software illegally. Luckily nothing that was inside the encrypted container leaked so it seems they weren't able to gain access to its content. Some of the software he used had the name, email and serial shown in the about box (window) while others did not show any information, yet the information from both types of software were leaked, so this means that the people that got a hold of the laptop searched through the registry and files and tried to get as much as possible out of the laptop. Considering that my friend is an unemployed student just out of school, they couldn't have been looking for something specific such as industrial secrets. The effect of this is not only that he lost his licenses and have to repurchase most of them, he also now has a harder time finding a job, because many of the people hiring here in this area usually googles the candidates they are considering hiring. Because of his rare name they see his name connected with warez and automatically takes him of the list. He is so desperate that he is even considering changing his name legally so that he doesn't have this haunting him.

    Now I am in a very similar situation, I have an older personal laptop which I have important information encrypted inside a container and software I have bought is installed and registered on it. I also have a rare name and am looking for a job. My concern now is that I could end up in the same situation as my friend so I am looking for a solutions to this problem. I have been looking at some alternatives such as encrypting the whole HDD, but the problem is that I dual-boot between Windows and Linux and I also resize the partitions between them often depending on where I need the space. Another issue is that I make images of the HDD very often since I test different things and want to be able to revert back to a working configuration if necessary. These if I understand correctly cant be done if the whole HDD is encrypted except for making an HDD image, but it will take as much space as the size of the HDD, which I don't have available. I've read about Seagate and that they are going to come out with a new HDD that does encryption at the hardware level, requiring a password before any access to the HDD. Unfortunately this is going to get released in the first quarter of 2007 sometime so there is still some time before I might get one of these and I haven't found any other HDD manufacturer that offers something like this in a laptop HDD. Secondly I do not know if encryption by the HDD is going to fix the problems with dual-booting, resizing and imaging. I think it would because once the password is entered you gain full access to the HDD, but I am not sure and would appreciate if someone could enlighten me on this issue. Now full HDD encryption is not necessarily what I want to do, I am just looking for a way to secure myself so that I don't end up as my friend. If there are other solutions out there that are better and allows me to continue to use my laptop as before, then I would like to hear about them.

    What are your opinion on this? And what do you suggest I do to protect myself?
     
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