Do you know if the data on your devices is encrypted? How does encryption work? Does it really matter? These are all valid questions in today’s society where our data is one of our most valuable assets and something we must safeguard from hackers and data sellers. If you want to learn how to encrypt your tablet or any other device for that matter, it is first beneficial to understand what encryption is and why it is important.
What is Encryption?
While encryption does utilise complicated math in its process, it isn’t difficult for the user to both understand and implement on their own electronic devices. To summarise, encryption is when your files are locked and only accessible via a secret code, to everyone else the files are nonsensical.
In order to make sense of the encrypted data, you will need the access code, which in most cases is the assigned PIN you have allocated for your device. Once you have keyed in your pin code on the lock screen, your files will unlock from their scrambled state.
There are varying types of encryption algorithms, each with individual purposes and various complexities and speed. Although, in most cases, you won’t have to worry too much about the type of encryption you are using as you will only have one option to choose from, depending on your device.
While we won’t bore you with the details of how data travels between devices, it is important to note that encryption also applies to this process and helps to prevent someone intercepting and interpreting the data that goes from one computer to another. A lot of apps are now encrypted by default, as well as HTTPS sites. Also making sure you are on password protected Wi-Fi connections helps to encrypt the data moving across; should you need to use public Wi-Fi, you may want to consider installing a VPN to encrypt the data.
Why is Encryption Important?
Without encryption, your data is open to anyone who has access to your device. With encryption, accessing this data becomes increasingly difficult for hackers (although not entirely impossible if they can harness other security loopholes).
Any device you own has a wealth of information about you, from browsing history to contacts and even stored passwords. The sad truth is that people underestimate how much this type of data is worth to criminals and what it could do if it fell into the wrong hands. Bruce Schneier, security expert and Chief Technology Officer, wrote “Encryption should be enabled for everything by default, not a feature you turn on only if you’re doing something you consider worth protecting.”
How to Encrypt
Luckily, because of the importance of cybersecurity, encryption has become default on most devices, so you may not need to do anything to keep your data protected.
iOS and macOS devices have been encrypted by default for years. To check that your iPad, iPhone or Mac is encrypted, open System Preferences, select Security & Privacy and open the FileVault tab. In the rare instance that encryption is not enabled, you can find how to start the process here.
By default, most iPads will automatically encrypt data once a passcode is set. To make a passcode, head to Settings, select General and click the option: Passcode Lock to enter a memorable, four-digit code twice. Should you want to add another level of security, you can deselect the Simple Passcode option to use a longer code – just as long as you feel you will be able to remember it! In these settings, don’t forget to set the Require Passcode for no more than 15 minutes and set Erase Data.
The great thing about iOS devices is that the modern version comes with a second layer of encryption by design, called Data Protection. While the initial encryption, activated by passcode protection, can safeguard the data on the device, there are chances that jailbreaking can bypass the simple level of encryption. Data protection works to encrypt your emails and attachments even when the jailbreaking process strips a passcode.
Most Android devices also encrypt by default now, just as long as they run on Android 6.0 Marshmallow or later. If you find your device is not encrypted, you can start the process following the instructions below.
To begin the encryption process, apply a screen lock to your device, either by PIN or password. We would recommend ensuring your tablet is fully charged or plugged into the wall before beginning the encryption set-up as it can take a while to complete.
Open the Settings menu to find Security (please note that on some Samsung tablets that you may have to access Security via Lock Screen or that Security may be under the General tab). Next, choose the Encrypt Tablet, Encrypt Device or Encrypt SD Card option. Proceed with the process by selecting the button entitled Encrypt and wait while the encryption completes.
Any device with Windows 10 as its operating system usually are encrypted by default, as long as they are set up and signed into a Microsoft account. If you want to check this, head to Settings and access the System menu where you will find the option to find out more about the tablet under the About tab. If the device is encrypted you will be able to see via the Device Encryption section at the bottom of the menu.
For older Window devices, you will have to use the custom-made BitLocker encryption software which requires a longer encryption process. You can find more information via the Microsoft support page.
It's important to finalise that nothing can keep your devices 100% protected, yet applying all the security measures available, you can help to keep your data safer from predators. In other words, encryption is not the only safety precaution you need to think about when using your tablet. For example, consider using our Privacy Plus screen protectors to prevent hackers from being able to steal your data when looking over your shoulder when you use your device in public. These screen protectors work by providing a four-way filter that blacks out the screen from various angles, stopping onlookers being able to read your screens, even when the device is horizontal or vertical! We stock a range of Privacy Plus screen protectors for a host of branded tablets, phones and laptops, so what are you waiting for? Purchase yours today to add an extra level of security to your beloved devices.
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