Data Privacy Day

So I’ve been told that today is Data Privacy Day. In honor of that, I… got a haircut and cleaned my bathtub today. Seriously, I’ve had a lot of fairly mundane things to take care of today. But I did also want to do some computer maintenance, so I thought I’d try to continue with my effort to encrypt the hard drives on all my computers.

A few weeks ago, I turned on FileVault on my MacBook. That’s working well. It hasn’t noticeably slowed it down, nor has it gone horribly wrong and destroyed all my data.

So I thought that today, maybe I’d try to enable BitLocker on my ThinkPad. I didn’t get too far with that. Apparently, you need a TPM chip to use BitLocker, and I don’t have one of those. I did a little research, and you can enable it on a computer without TPM, but you need to store an encryption key on a flash drive, and insert it every time you boot up the computer. I don’t think I want to do that. It seems pretty risky and inconvenient. So I guess I’m going to put that idea aside until my next laptop.

I’ve also thought about enabling BitLocker on my desktop PC. That’s new enough that it probably has a TPM chip. But it also has a regular hard drive (not an SSD), and it’s a desktop PC. So there’s not as much risk of the drive being stolen, and there’s more of an issue with performance. So maybe I’ll put that idea aside too, at least until I replace the drive with an SSD (which I’m probably going to do at some point this year).

Meanwhile, I’ve been thinking about anti-virus software a bit more. Both of my PCs are now running with just Windows Defender. I’m a little uncomfortable with that. It’s still kind of hard for me to accept that I probably don’t need third-party anti-virus software anymore. One thing that’s made it a little easier to accept is this blog post from a former Firefox developer, and some discussion about it on Slashdot and Hacker News. It’s really sounding like the consensus is that the MS anti-virus software is not only “good enough,” but probably better in many ways than the third-party options.

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