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Thread: data security for travel with laptop

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
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    data security for travel with laptop

    I'm going to be doing some backpacker-style travel, using public transportation, staying in budget lodgings, using public wifi networks, etc. For the first time, I'm going to have to bring along a netbook (Windows 7 / Ubuntu 13.04 dual boot) for work.

    I'm actually more worried about the data than I am about the hardware. Let me emphasize that the data on my computer isn't anything really high-value: I don't feel the need to make my computer NSA-proof or even determined-and-knowledgeable-hacker-proof.

    I will store the data I'm concerned about in the home directory on the Ubuntu partition.

    I use Dropbox to sync the data in the Dropbox directory (which is, of course, also in the Ubuntu home directory).

    I just want to be reasonably confident that if somebody should steal my computer, they won't be able to access the data without some serious effort, and thus would probably reformat the drive and reinstall the OS before selling it or whatever.

    So here's what I've done:

    1. Set a HDD pasword in the BIOS.
    2. Turned on encryption of the home directory when I installed Ubuntu.
    3. Set a login password.
    3. Chose strong (and different) passwords for all these things.

    Will this give me a reasonable level of protection?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    457

    Re: data security for travel with laptop

    teacherjeff,
    Should do unless you forget anyone of them due to excitement of travel. So, will you be carrying plain / clear text versions of these passwords / phrases with you?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
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    Re: data security for travel with laptop

    Use full disk encryption with a long password (>12 chars).

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2013
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    6

    Re: data security for travel with laptop

    Quote Originally Posted by teacherjeff
    I use Dropbox to sync the data in the Dropbox directory (which is, of course, also in the Ubuntu home directory).
    Others might disagree, but in my opinion this is an incredibly bad idea.

    http://money.cnn.com/2011/06/22/tech...ords/index.htm

    "For four hours on Sunday, a site glitch let visitors use any password to log in to customers' accounts."


    Quote Originally Posted by teacherjeff
    I just want to be reasonably confident that if somebody should steal my computer, they won't be able to access the data without some serious effort, and thus would probably reformat the drive and reinstall the OS before selling it or whatever.
    Remember not to leave your laptop in the sleep/suspend state when you are not around! The cold boot attack can render most of the encryption methods useless. In general, don't leave it where someone can gain physical access to it for a long period of time, if you can avoid it.

    Also something to keep in mind:
    https://www.schneier.com/blog/archiv...aid_attac.html
    Last edited by D7Gd; May 13th, 2013 at 04:01 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
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    Re: data security for travel with laptop

    Quote Originally Posted by tubbygweilo View Post
    teacherjeff,
    Should do unless you forget anyone of them due to excitement of travel. So, will you be carrying plain / clear text versions of these passwords / phrases with you?
    +1

  6. #6
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    Re: data security for travel with laptop

    Quote Originally Posted by HermanAB View Post
    Use full disk encryption with a long password (>12 chars).
    This will give you a higher level of security, but I think your original plan will do, according to what you described in the opening post.

  7. #7
    Soul-Sing is offline Chocolate-Covered Ubuntu Beans
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
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    1,374
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    Ubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtail

    Re: data security for travel with laptop

    Quote Originally Posted by HermanAB View Post
    Use full disk encryption with a long password (>12 chars).
    yep, consider it as a usb stick with private information.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    457

    Re: data security for travel with laptop

    teacherjeff,
    You mentioned a machine for work and I wondered if you may be travelling in or out of the US? If so then eff.org has a few pointers
    https://www.eff.org/wp/defending-pri...igital-devices. I feel these points should also be considered when crossing into countries if your kit is holding sensitive work or sensitive social data.

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