As computer users across the globe are aware, digital privacy and data security important for everyone, from the average person to the largest corporation. The ability to prevent data from falling prey to theft or interception is critical for even the average person, and even more so for those who wish to protect sensitive data. Most people use encryption to secure data online daily whether they know it or not, but what about your personal computer, and the treasure trove of information held therein?
The digital answer for those who wish to secure their data against theft and prying eyes is encryption, and there are many tools designed specifically for that purpose. Encryption is the use of complex mathematical formulas to make digital data unreadable to anyone that does not have the proper passkey. Fortunately for users, there are many tools available to make encryption very user friendly. Unfortunately, there is a great deal of incorrect information on many of these tools and their proper use. I will attempt to simplify the technical aspects, while providing the reader with a moderate understanding not only of how to use some common tools for proper data security, but also to understand the methodologies behind them and why they do, or don’t in some cases, work against particular threat models.