One of several compelling cases for hard disk encryption: laptop loss or theft.
I just did something really stupid: I carried two laptops onto a public bus, and then walked off with only one. Very careless of me. I am a little miffed by the monetary loss. The lost machine was my getting long-in-the-tooth laptop #2, my hot backup. (Happily it was not my newest machine that I lost.) But it is no big loss, #2 was within twelve months max of becoming #3, and then fairly irrelevant, and I bought it 2nd hand in the first place.
I am actually most irritated by the fact that I will now have to temporateily promote #3 to #2, which means I will have to swap an old hard disk into it and bring it up to a however-brief "hot backup" state. I AM NOT worried about the data on the lost machine because the disk was fully encrypted, and the passphrase is seriously non-trivial. I am 99.9999% confident that the data on the lost disk is safe.
I will not be staying up late tonight changing all (or at least the most important) of my passwords. I will not be changing all my digital keys. I will not be worrying about any of my client's servers being hacked while I sleep. I will not be worrying for the next two years about identy theft. Etc. etc. If you lose your laptop, can you say the same?
I do not know about the more commercial options, but with Linux hard drive encryption at install time is trivial. The only hard part is coming up with a good password that will not be forgotten. That takes a bit of effort, but today I have already been paid back several multiples on that effort.Share on Twitter Share on Facebook