Secure your sensitive data
In this article, you will learn about how to protect access to sensitive data on
your computer. Follow the tips below and your data is safe.
(1). Use a BIOS system password
One of the basic ways of securing your PC is to prevent it from even booting
unless a password is entered. This is achieved by assigning a system
password in the BIOS. Once you enter the BIOS, look for an option that says
Usually, you can either set a BIOS Password, which prevents open access to
the BIOS, or a system password, which allows booting only if a password is
entered. Assign a system password when prompted. Once the password has been
confirmed, you can save your settings and exit the BIOS. Now, when your computer
restarts, you will have to enter the password during booting. This can be your
first line of defence. However, the BIOS password can be reset by someone who
knows his way around the motherboard.
(2). The windows password
If your guest account is enabled in windows 2000 or XP, you may turn it off
so only registered users and Administrator can get into the windows. This
setting can be accessed by going to User Accounts in the Control Panel. This
should take care of most intruders except for the really determined ones who,
given enough time, can boot off a CD or USB drive and copy or read your files.
(3). Encrypting Files
Even if someone does get into your system, you can still prevent them from
opening your files, by using XP's encryption feature. Encrypted files can be
opened only by the user who encrypted it.
Even if the encrypted file is copied onto another machine, it is not possible
to open it without a Security Certificate imported from the computer on which
the encryption was done. The encryption feature works only with the NTFS file
To go to the windows encryption feature right click on File > Properties >
Advanced > Encrypt Files
(4). Passwords in MS office
If you want to protect you documents, you can assign a password to your MS
office and OpenOffice.org files from within the software. In MS office
applications, you can assign a password by going to File>SaveAs>Tools>Security
Here you can assign passwords for modifying or even viewing the file.
If you want to protect images which cannot be password protected then you can
add your files to winzip or winrar archive and assign password to it.
(5). Other Tips
Some people are not satisfied with all this and wanted to do more to protect
their data. Other then the tips given above you can change the extension of
file, rename it to make it look like a system file, change the date attributes
and then move it to windows folder where no one can identify it unless they know
the exact file name. File hiding software such as Magic Folders and Gate Keeper
offer encryption and hiding of files.
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