WikiLeaks crisis: Why is BitLocker important?

by Shijaz Abdulla on 01.12.2010 at 20:25

I read with interest news articles on MSNBC and Yahoo about Bank of America’s shares falling on WikiLeaks fears.

[A spokesman for the Bank of America] said that the bank was aware that Wikileaks claimed to have the computer hard drive of a Bank of America executive more than a year ago. "Aside from the claims themselves we have no evidence that supports this assertion," he said.

In an October 9, 2009 interview, Assange told Computerworld that WikiLeaks had obtained five gigabytes of data from a Bank of America executive’s hard drive.

"Now how do we present that? It’s a difficult problem. We could just dump it all into one giant Zip file, but we know for a fact that has limited impact. To have impact, it needs to be easy for people to dive in and search it and get something out of it," Assange told Computerworld.

Why is Windows 7 BitLocker important? BitLocker Drive Encryption is a full disk encryption feature included with the Ultimate and Enterprise editions of Microsoft’s Windows Vista and Windows 7. It is designed to protect data by providing encryption for entire volumes.

If a hard disk protected by BitLocker is lost or stolen, there is NO way for the data to be retrieved by an unauthorized person.

For more information on how BitLocker can help you organization protect its information assets, please speak to your Microsoft representative or a Microsoft partner.

Updating BIOS on a computer with BitLocker enabled

by Shijaz Abdulla on 02.01.2010 at 20:58

Before updating BIOS on a computer that has BitLocker enabled, make sure you suspend BitLocker encryption before you update the BIOS.

If BitLocker was not suspended, the computer will not accept your BitLocker key the next time your computer boots and the only way you can start your computer is with a recovery key. You will be asked to enter the recovery key every time you restart your computer unless you suspend and resume BitLocker.

In order to avoid having to get into this dilemma, you can suspend BitLocker before you run the BIOS update utility for you computer. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Go to Control Panel > System and Security > BitLocker Drive Encryption

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  2. Choose Suspend Protection and confirm it by responding Yes.

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  3. Go ahead and update the BIOS. Restart your computer.
  4. Resume BitLocker after the reboot, by click Resume Protection

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While we are on the subject of BIOS updates – a point worth noting – there is no need to update the BIOS if there is nothing wrong with your computer. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. 🙂

ScreenCast: Encrypting USB flash drives in Windows 7

by Shijaz Abdulla on 03.11.2009 at 14:50

Windows 7 comes with a cool new feature called ‘BitLocker To Go’, which is a disk encryption mechanism to protect USB flash drives.

USB flash drives are becoming ever so common thanks to their small size, ease of use and low cost. Users often carry critical or sensitive data on USB drives and carry it outside the organization. A lost USB drive containing sensitive could mean unimaginable implications for the organization, and this is where BitLocker To Go can help.

In this screencast, I demonstrate how you can encrypt a USB Flash Drive using Windows 7. I recommend you watch it in High Definition (HD) mode.

BitLocker “To Go” for removable drives

by Shijaz Abdulla on 14.03.2009 at 10:26

BitLocker, first introduced in Windows Vista, has become an important encryption method when it comes to increasing security of laptop computers by encrypting the hard drives.

In Windows 7 beta, you can take security one step further by making use of the BitLocker encryption feature for USB flash memory, external hard disks and other removable media.

All you have to do is right click on the drive to be encrypted and choose Turn on BitLocker…

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Organizations can also enforce all users to encrypt removable devices using this feature. IT administrators can manage this centrally via group policy that requires all USB drives to be encrypted even before files can be written to it.