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Old 26th November 2018, 07:57 PM   #1
bigred
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Good external HD data protection (eg password apps, lockouts, etc)

Have an external HD which I brought to work for reasons not worth explaining and forgot it. It was not really in plain sight and all is well but got me thinking, if this was stolen, I'd like to have some kind of lockout or password/etc software so it would be as difficult as possible for someone to access. Internet search didn't turn up much beyond generic password protection stuff. Ideally a good one which is freeware would be great, but I'd fess up a modest amount if another was good enough. Anyone?
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Old 27th November 2018, 04:59 AM   #2
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How about encrypting the drive? I found Veracrypt easy to use and it's free
https://www.veracrypt.fr/en/Home.html
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Old 27th November 2018, 04:08 PM   #3
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I think most people with a computer should buy an external hard drive, backup everything onto it and then take it somewhere like work and leave it there. Once a week take it home update the backup and then take it back the next day. If this is not possible then buy two external hard drives. Keep one at work and the other at home. Sometimes swap them and while the HD is at home update the backup.

The only people who need not do this are people who do not care if all the information on their hard drive is lost.
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Old 27th November 2018, 04:20 PM   #4
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I like the backup drives that communicate over WiFi; I just automatically backup every hour on a hidden Time Capsule in a locked cabinet about 100 feet away from my computer where a thief would be unaware of it.

Of course that would be useless if my office burns down. But luckily at work I also can do a periodic backup over the network to a physically distant Drobo setup.

What is peoples' experience doing backups on Cloud-based services?
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Old 27th November 2018, 04:20 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by rjh01 View Post
I think most people with a computer should buy an external hard drive, backup everything onto it and then take it somewhere like work and leave it there. Once a week take it home update the backup and then take it back the next day. If this is not possible then buy two external hard drives. Keep one at work and the other at home. Sometimes swap them and while the HD is at home update the backup.

The only people who need not do this are people who do not care if all the information on their hard drive is lost.
I have a backup drive, but I don't use it. I keep nothing important on my computer. Cloud storage is both more secure and more convenient.
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Old 27th November 2018, 06:24 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Wudang View Post
How about encrypting the drive? I found Veracrypt easy to use and it's free
https://www.veracrypt.fr/en/Home.html
Thx but if I have a lot of data which I want to access frequently, wouldn't that put a huge crimp in timeliness/performance? I'd consider it but far prefer something which as soon as you plug the sucker in and try to read it, up pops a credentials window, you enter your stuff, and it's business as usual.
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Old 27th November 2018, 07:18 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by bigred View Post
Thx but if I have a lot of data which I want to access frequently, wouldn't that put a huge crimp in timeliness/performance? I'd consider it but far prefer something which as soon as you plug the sucker in and try to read it, up pops a credentials window, you enter your stuff, and it's business as usual.
Once upon a time I would have recommended TruCrypt. Sadly it doesn't exist anymore. If I don't completely misunderstand you, it would have fully satisfied your needs.

Now I have never used Wudang's VeraCrypt. But as it is a fork of TrueCrypt, I recommend for you to have a look at it.

You could try it out by encrypting a thumbdrive e.g. As it's free this wouldn't cost you anything but some time.
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Old 28th November 2018, 09:12 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
I have a backup drive, but I don't use it. I keep nothing important on my computer. Cloud storage is both more secure and more convenient.
You should backup that cloud data to your backup drive every once in while just in case the cloud provider loses it (nearly all cloud storage provider's terms of service say they can not be held responsible for lost data).
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Old 28th November 2018, 09:26 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by TheGnome View Post
Once upon a time I would have recommended TruCrypt. Sadly it doesn't exist anymore. If I don't completely misunderstand you, it would have fully satisfied your needs.

Now I have never used Wudang's VeraCrypt. But as it is a fork of TrueCrypt, I recommend for you to have a look at it.

You could try it out by encrypting a thumbdrive e.g. As it's free this wouldn't cost you anything but some time.
Only rumors exist as to why TrueCrypt really closed down, the announced reason, because Microsoft Bitlocker exists, made no sense considering the cross platform nature of TrueCrypt. The most probable rumor is that government officials in the developers home country mandated a back door and mandated silence due to national security so the developers closed shop instead.

VeraCrypt is literally TrueCrypt's source code moved to a different country where there are laws preventing mandated encryption back doors. VeraCrypt has now gone through multiple security audits of its source code by independent organizations (some started while it was still TrueCrypt) and has passed or been patched.
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Old 28th November 2018, 10:14 AM   #10
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Windows bitlocker.
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Old 28th November 2018, 04:12 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by paulhutch View Post
You should backup that cloud data to your backup drive every once in while just in case the cloud provider loses it (nearly all cloud storage provider's terms of service say they can not be held responsible for lost data).
Literally their entire business model is based around providing reliable access to data. Sure, they have a disclaimer - that's just good legal practice - but that doesn't mean their whole business is suddenly going to fail without warning. If the company goes into administration, I'll have plenty of warning and time to move my data, but honestly I don't see that happening.
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Old 28th November 2018, 05:11 PM   #12
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I use datalockers for my data for work and at home. You have to know the passcode to access the data and if you try multiple times, the drive will erase. Also, the number pad changes every time so you can't follow the fingerprints.
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Old 29th November 2018, 04:39 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Literally their entire business model is based around providing reliable access to data. Sure, they have a disclaimer - that's just good legal practice - but that doesn't mean their whole business is suddenly going to fail without warning. If the company goes into administration, I'll have plenty of warning and time to move my data, but honestly I don't see that happening.
I'm not talking about a company closing down, I'm talking about failures in their systems and backup systems that lead to some data loss. IIRC it's happened with Microsoft and Google (Google's was due to an unusual multiple lightning strike situation in 2015). When only a minuscule number of customers lose their data it won't impact the business but those customers are severely impacted (10ppm of 10e6 customers, a tiny cloud provider, is 100 people losing their data).

If you can afford to lose your data then fine, but if like me your data is important then you should backup your data multiple ways for safety. At a minimum have the cloud data automatically synchronize with a computer.
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Old 29th November 2018, 05:00 AM   #14
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What paulhutch said. They will have a cost/benefit matrix for the cost of providing 99.9% redundancy versus 99.99% and if this involves losing a tiny percentage of customer data it's still a win for them.
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Old 29th November 2018, 07:17 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by ServiceSoon View Post
Windows bitlocker.
I was about to suggest this. The advantage is that when you plug it in, it will check the credentials of your login automatically.
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Old 29th November 2018, 07:25 AM   #16
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Off topic, but do you know of Paul Le Roux, who apparently wrote TruCrypt.
Someone should make a movie.
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Old 29th November 2018, 03:12 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by paulhutch View Post
I'm not talking about a company closing down, I'm talking about failures in their systems and backup systems that lead to some data loss. IIRC it's happened with Microsoft and Google (Google's was due to an unusual multiple lightning strike situation in 2015). When only a minuscule number of customers lose their data it won't impact the business but those customers are severely impacted (10ppm of 10e6 customers, a tiny cloud provider, is 100 people losing their data).

If you can afford to lose your data then fine, but if like me your data is important then you should backup your data multiple ways for safety. At a minimum have the cloud data automatically synchronize with a computer.
It does. That's how cloud services work.

And honestly, I can't imagine what kind of data I might be keeping that would destroy my life if I lost it. And you know what? I've got a full 1tb drive that I used to use for backup as well as general storage, and the number of times I've gone back to it to get a file is exactly zero. I don't even remember what's on it.

So I'm not losing any sleep over backups.
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Old 30th November 2018, 07:12 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by bigred View Post
Thx but if I have a lot of data which I want to access frequently, wouldn't that put a huge crimp in timeliness/performance?
Anyone?

Appreciate the info/suggestions regardless.
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Old 30th November 2018, 08:18 AM   #19
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I honestly can't tell you. I used VeraCrypt a little for 2 days until I was told it wasn't suitable for the new live data coming in as that data required strict access rules including 2FA. I didn't notice performance issues on some big data files but probably doesn't match what you're doing.
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Old 30th November 2018, 02:28 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by bigred View Post
Anyone?

Appreciate the info/suggestions regardless.
Back in the days I used TrueCrypt on thumbdrives and didn't notice any performance degradation even with old processors. But that was flash memory.

A harddisk is a different thing. Maybe it's even on USB 3. But I was told some time ago that with modern processors the encryption overhead is negligible. It certainly won't be huge. But you'd have to find out for yourself.

In terms of convinience VeraCrypt is more or less like bitlocker.only it's crossplatform (I think).

Anyway to secure your drive from unauthorized access there is no way around encryption I can see. Everything else is broken easily, and sometimes very easily. So you either have to live with some performance degradation (I'm not sure actually exists) or you just have to abandon trying to secure your drive.

I think in corporate enironments it's just routine today to encrypt mass storage in laptops etc. and they seem to be okay with it.

Oh and with VeraCrypt you can also encrypt files in a container on your internal harddisk. That way you could try out if access is any slower.

Last edited by TheGnome; 30th November 2018 at 02:33 PM.
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Old 30th November 2018, 04:05 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by paulhutch View Post
I'm not talking about a company closing down, I'm talking about failures in their systems and backup systems that lead to some data loss. IIRC it's happened with Microsoft and Google (Google's was due to an unusual multiple lightning strike situation in 2015). When only a minuscule number of customers lose their data it won't impact the business but those customers are severely impacted (10ppm of 10e6 customers, a tiny cloud provider, is 100 people losing their data).

If you can afford to lose your data then fine, but if like me your data is important then you should backup your data multiple ways for safety. At a minimum have the cloud data automatically synchronize with a computer.
I have my stuff backed up on 3 different cloud providers, I think the chances of all 3 going down at the same time as I need a restore is quite remote! (And yes I have checked that they aren't all leasing storage/bandwidth from the same company.)
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Old 1st December 2018, 11:52 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by bigred View Post
Have an external HD which I brought to work for reasons not worth explaining and forgot it. It was not really in plain sight and all is well but got me thinking, if this was stolen, I'd like to have some kind of lockout or password/etc software so it would be as difficult as possible for someone to access. Internet search didn't turn up much beyond generic password protection stuff. Ideally a good one which is freeware would be great, but I'd fess up a modest amount if another was good enough. Anyone?
Does the drive have a Kensington or similar slot.
Also I'm surprised your employer permits this; connecting an unapproved storage device is usually prohibited.
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Old 3rd December 2018, 06:52 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
It does. That's how cloud services work.
Actually many people do not use cloud storage services that way and your previous posts led me to believe you where one of them. They delete the originals to save space on their device once the files are in the cloud.

Also keep in mind that when synchronization is active any mistake you make with handling the file is rapidly synchronized. This is why cloud synch providers are very clear to tell their users that cloud synch is not a replacement for backup.

Glad to see you now admit you don't really care about your data files, probably because you are not a content creator, so in that case you really don't need a backup strategy and probably should not advise people who do need a backup strategy.
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Old 3rd December 2018, 06:53 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
I have my stuff backed up on 3 different cloud providers, I think the chances of all 3 going down at the same time as I need a restore is quite remote! (And yes I have checked that they aren't all leasing storage/bandwidth from the same company.)
Yep, that's a good way to do it, defense in depth.
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Old 3rd December 2018, 07:36 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Literally their entire business model is based around providing reliable access to data. Sure, they have a disclaimer - that's just good legal practice - but that doesn't mean their whole business is suddenly going to fail without warning. If the company goes into administration, I'll have plenty of warning and time to move my data, but honestly I don't see that happening.
And yet even Azure suffers outages.
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Old 4th December 2018, 09:39 AM   #26
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How a conversation about encryption got to backups is kind of funny, but a little confusing.

A standard user doesn't need multiple backup locations, multiple hard drives, and all of that ****. Just hook an external up and schedule a batch to robocopy whatever stuff is important. Done and done.

As far as encryption goes, I don't think you're going to get much that you don't have to pay for. There are some options, but the main rule to remember when you're doing anything with technology is security and convenience are directly opposite of each other. You are never, ever going to make something more secure than you currently have it while keeping the exact same level of convenience.

If you just want to keep the data and don't care about recovery times, check Amazon's storage. Cheap, but slow.

Are you accessing your hard drive regularly? If you do I'd suggest not keeping it on a mobile hard drive, keep it on your computer and just do backups that encrypt as they backup. If you could clarify what you're doing with the data and how you use it there could be other options people think of.
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Old 8th December 2018, 11:17 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by plague311 View Post
Are you accessing your hard drive regularly? If you do I'd suggest not keeping it on a mobile hard drive, keep it on your computer and just do backups that encrypt as they backup. If you could clarify what you're doing with the data and how you use it there could be other options people think of.
It varies. Ran out of room on the ol C: drive, hence the external HD which is largely but not only a backup.

I'll check Veracrypt; thx!
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Old 9th December 2018, 04:11 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by bigred View Post
It varies. Ran out of room on the ol C: drive, hence the external HD which is largely but not only a backup.

I'll check Veracrypt; thx!
If you ran out of room on the C drive suggest you install another drive within the computer. If the computer is more than 5 years old consider buying a new computer with plenty of hard drive.
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Old 9th December 2018, 09:17 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by paulhutch View Post
Actually many people do not use cloud storage services that way and your previous posts led me to believe you where one of them. They delete the originals to save space on their device once the files are in the cloud.
Well that's dumb. They're not using it properly.

Originally Posted by paulhutch View Post
Also keep in mind that when synchronization is active any mistake you make with handling the file is rapidly synchronized. This is why cloud synch providers are very clear to tell their users that cloud synch is not a replacement for backup.
If I make a mistake when "handling a file" (whatever you mean by that), then I fix it and then the fix is also rapidly synchronised.

Originally Posted by paulhutch View Post
Glad to see you now admit you don't really care about your data files, probably because you are not a content creator, so in that case you really don't need a backup strategy and probably should not advise people who do need a backup strategy.
Actually as it turns out I'm writing the first draft of my novel entirely in longhand, so it doesn't come up. But yeah, I certainly acknowledge that some will have different needs, and I would like to remind you that I never "advised" anybody to do anything, but instead merely reported what I do in response to someone else advising people what they should do.

Originally Posted by catsmate View Post
And yet even Azure suffers outages.
They all do, from time to time. But it comes back quickly in most cases, and I can say that of the three cloud platforms I regularly use (google, dropbox, icloud) I have never been unable to access my files.
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Old 10th December 2018, 08:39 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
If I make a mistake when "handling a file" (whatever you mean by that), then I fix it and then the fix is also rapidly synchronised.
As long as you are using a recycle bin so that you can recover from accidental deletes and version control to recover from accidental file content deletes you're set.

Unfortunately many people disable recycle bins or empty them immediately so an accidental delete deletes the file everywhere and permanently. Most people don't use version control so when they accidentally delete content from a document it is auto-saved and rapidly synchronized so the content is lost.
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Old 10th December 2018, 04:55 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by paulhutch View Post
As long as you are using a recycle bin so that you can recover from accidental deletes and version control to recover from accidental file content deletes you're set.
Well, yes, obviously. I don't recall ever having accidentally deleted a file I didn't want to, but perhaps it's happened.

Originally Posted by paulhutch View Post
Unfortunately many people disable recycle bins or empty them immediately so an accidental delete deletes the file everywhere and permanently. Most people don't use version control so when they accidentally delete content from a document it is auto-saved and rapidly synchronized so the content is lost.
Okay, well again, unfortunately many people are dumb. Never empty or disable your recycle bin. It's there for a good reason.
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