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Tales from the Crypt: Encrypting Laptops

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Chances are that right now you're reading this article on a laptop computer. Whether you're working at your desk or the local Starbucks, your laptop may just "take a walk" while you're not looking. If that happens, is the data on that machine - which is probably confidential, at least, and possibly crucial to your business - protected from the thief? Rick Cook explains some of the handy possibilities for encrypting your laptop and its data.

A Moveable Feast for Thieves

Consider the modern laptop computer: Powerful, compact, portable, nearly indispensable—and an ideal target for thieves. As a result, laptop computers are now a major headache to Windows administrators everywhere who have to cope with the effects of the spreading plague.

Laptop theft is exploding. From about 300,000 thefts reported in 1999, the number of stolen computers ballooned to about 3 million in 2005, according to the FBI. A significant portion of those stolen computers, perhaps most of them, were laptops.

The effects of laptop thefts are getting worse as well as laptops proliferate, the value of the data on them grows, and new laws require increased reporting of possible data compromises.

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