Do laptop encryption programs like ZoneAlarm Datalock, really work?

By bit24sh0cker ·
Do laptop encryption programs like ZoneAlarm Datalock, really protect the data and files on your laptop from a thief being able to access the data and use it for id thief or put it on the web for all to download?

I am traveling more, and if my laptop gets stolen, I don?t want my data to be readable. ZoneAlarms Datalock laptop data encryption software seems to be what I want.

It does a pre-boot authentication with a password. This seems to be a general deterrent for non-technical users, correct?

Is this preboot feature important?

Datalock encrypts all the data going on the hard drive, so it they can read the drive, they can?t decode the encryption, correct?

What encryption level does Datalock use?

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Well a simple answer to your question is

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to Do laptop encryption prog ...

Yes they do work as most of these things encrypt the entire HDD and to access the drive you need to enter the correct Password.

But just like everything it's only as secure as the password is strong. So if you use a Easy Password it's more likely to get broken and then your data is readable.

It does a pre-boot authentication with a password. This seems to be a general deterrent for non-technical users, correct?

Yes that is correct though it is also a single point of attack by someone who knows what they are doing.

Is this preboot feature important?

Yes it's important as the entire HDD is encrypted so without it you can not access even the base Operating System.

Datalock encrypts all the data going on the hard drive, so it they can read the drive, they can?t decode the encryption, correct?

Well sort of here the entire HDD gets Encrypted so if they are unable to boot off the HDD they can not read the data. If they remove the HDD from the computer fit it as a slave the data is still encrypted and to all intents and purposes unreadable.

What encryption level does Datalock use?

I'm not really sure as it doesn't say on the Zone Alarm Web Site but most of these programs use 256 Bit Encryption.

In addition to the above I should advise that you should not rely on the Password Recovery Provided by Zone Alarm. It may recover your ability at a pinch but it just as easily may not so there is no substitute for Solid, Regular Backup's and you should also backup your Encryption Key and not carry it with the NB.

But be aware that places like Zone Alarm and others of their ilk provide Encryption Breaking Tools to the Authorities to prevent their software being used for anything unwanted by that Government. So if you are into Kiddy Porn Encrypting the HDD isn't going to keep the Authorities out and you out of prison. This type of software will only keep the armatures out of your data and if you where to travel Overseas it's quite possible that you may be required to hand over your Encryption Key so that the Authorities can look at what the computer contains. If you do not comply with this request for the Key they can seize the computer and then at their leisure look at the contents of the HDD.

Other products that you can look at are things like True Crypt


Win Magic

Safe House

Secure Star


All of the above work in a similar manner.

Then there are applications like Prey which can be used to track a stolen NB.

There are other applications like this but the Pay For services are on a retainer where the Stolen NB phones home and tells mommy where it is along with a Picture from the Web Cam if there is one fitted. You pay to have the Monitoring Site there in case your NB gets stolen.

They are just a small sample of what is available but they all need to be setup before the NB gets stolen.


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The encryption is just a part of the equation

by TobiF In reply to Do laptop encryption prog ...

There are many encryption solutions you can choose from.

Nowadays, you often get something included when you buy a new computer, either as a piece of threwn in software, or as a BIOS feature. There are even drives with hardware encryption. Even some versions of Windows has some "bitlocker" included.

You can either protect the whole drive, which should then require a password for the computer to start at all.
Or, you can set up your computer so that the system and installed programs are unencrypted, but you store some or all your user data encrypted.

Personally, I'd prefer to encrypt just the data, but leave the system itself out. This would make the system more robust, stable and serviceable.

Oh, by the way, before you pay for something, have a look if the open source project TrueCrypt would fit.

BTW, TrueCrypt for sure, and several other systems as well, use one long key for the very encryption. This key is then stored, encrypted by the user password, somewhere on the hard drive. So if the user password is "password" or "123", then the whole idea is rather pointless. And note: If you have a multi-user solution for a whole disk with several passwords, then this would apply to the weakest of these passwords.

With these solutions, secure back-up becomes very important both of the data itself, but also of encryption keys and/or passwords. (For Truecrypt, you want to back-up the "header" along with a note of a matching password, check their manual).

Remember, when the protected information is mounted into the system, then the encryption key has to be stored in the computers memory and the protected information is readily available. The data is protected if your computer was off when it was stolen.

But, just in case, double check what happens in case of hibernation. If your encryption key is written to the hard drive together with the rest of the RAM, then you may have an issue.

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Both of you

by santeewelding In reply to The encryption is just a ...

Have just been sucked in.

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Yes, but make sure they are Common Criteria EAL certified

by robo_dev In reply to Do laptop encryption prog ...

And obviously, don't keep the password in the laptop bag.

Laptop disk encryption can be a VERY BIG DEAL since it may determine whether a US company would have to report a data breach or not.

If your laptop contains customer private data and it's stolen, your company has to report it, and it may get reported on CNET, or even CNN. (CEOs just LOVE that kind of press coverage :) )

If the disk is encrypted, and you can prove to your legal team that it was a good product, and that you set a good password, then the company does not have to report it, under most circumstances.

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