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To encrypt or not to encrypt, that is the question…

There are currently many methods and programmes for encrypting hard drives and storage devices. Some external USB disks include their own programme. There are also operating systems with their own encoding programme and if we lose our laptop or hard drive, no-one can access our beloved data. These methods are based on one of the manufacturer’s own algorithms, but with the right tools we can recover the information if the hardware gets damaged, the OS is corrupted, etc.

As we attach greater value to our data, it is logical that we look for a way to protect access to our hard or pen drive. Over the last few months in Kroll Ontrack’s laboratory we have seen how the amount of encrypted devices we receive has increased. Nowadays many hard drives come with encryption as standard, even though the end user may be unaware of the fact. When these devices go wrong, regardless of whether they are internal or external hard drives, it can make the data recovery specialist’s job more difficult. The challenge of getting an exact copy of all areas of the broken device, as well as the need to know the correct validation key, means that recovery may take longer and it may be technically more complex to access the lost data.

None of the above means that encrypted data recovery is impossible. Although the processes involved are more demanding, we achieve excellent results in most cases in our laboratory thanks to our local team’s skills and our R&D.

However, a word of advice when it comes to data protection: if you don’t need to encrypt it, and you want to increase the likelihood of recovering your data in the event of loss, the simplest and cheapest way of protecting your device is with a password that only you know.

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