Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


Full Disk Encryption effective against hackers or not?

  1. #1


    Posts : 16
    Windows 8.1 Pro

    Full Disk Encryption effective against hackers or not?


    I get conflicting information when I search Google. I understand that, if a disk/partition (in this case system partition) is encrypted with Bitlocker, any hacker who's gained access to the PC while I'm logged in will see everything.

    What I'd like to know is whether the same is true when using TrueCrypt/VeraCrypt or not?

    TIA!

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


    Posts : 446
    Win 8 64-bit


    ...I understand that, if a disk/partition (in this case system partition) is encrypted with Bitlocker, any hacker who's gained access to the PC while I'm logged in will see everything.
    Correct.

    What I'd like to know is whether the same is true when using TrueCrypt/VeraCrypt or not?
    Yes it is.

    Have a read through here:
    https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2...top-like-mean/

    And here, which is more Bitlocker specific:
    https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2...sk-encryption/
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    Like any security measure full disk encryption is not a complete security solution. No single security measure could be.
    If your computer is booted with an alternate OS, such as a live Linux CD, or the hard drive removed and connected to any computer where the thief has admin access all unencrypted files are fully accessible. With full disk encryption your data is secure.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4


    Posts : 16
    Windows 8.1 Pro


    Thank you ARC1020 and LMiller7 for you valuable replies. While I'd suspected that an unlocked system would be as transparent with VeraCrypt as it is with Bitlocker, I had some hopes that the former's "on-the-fly" decryption would perhaps modify the risk.

    My system security is as strong as my current knowledge allows. While there's not a significant feasibility of my PC (or its drives) finding itself physically in the hands of anyone wishing to gain access to what it contains (I have, in any case, no sensitive data on my system), I've hoped for some form of security which would prevent the extensive, unauthorized changes to my OS, software and security settings.

    It's a profound frustration to be constantly aware that I'm not alone in my system, but it appears that there's not much to be done about it.


    Again, thank you for your help!
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


    Posts : 454
    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center


    Full disk encryption is protection against theft of the physical drive. Provided the computer is powered down or hibernated, it also protects against theft of the computer. However, if the computer is powered on and available with the drive mounted, or it was slept while the drive was mounted, the situation is no different than using an unencrypted drive.

    Note that if you don't have physical security of the computer at all times, even when it is shut down, you have no security. Google "evil maid attack" for an example of a targeted attack. That said, it's not going to be a concern for ordinary people who only have to worry about crackheads stealing their stuff. I believe it was this realization that led Microsoft to abandon the Elephant Diffuser in Windows 8 BitLocker, because it protected against a certain kind of targeted attack.

    If you're only using Windows, and you don't care about portability of encrypted volumes, plausible deniability, and other TrueCrypt (and I guess VeraCrypt) features, I strongly urge using BitLocker. It works better in several important ways. I wrote in some detail about that in this message:

    Are you using VeraCrypt as replacement to TrueCrypt ? | Wilders Security Forums
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6


    Posts : 16
    Windows 8.1 Pro


    Good article, thank you crawfish! As my only significant concern were my PC to be stolen (rather unlikely) would be the loss of the unit itself and of files important to me rather than any reason to wish to keep my files secret, there really appears to be no significant reason to bother with encryption in my situation. My system has been owned for quite some time now, but as encryption won't help the situation it appears to be something I'll just have to continue to live with it until some miracle prevention appears on the scene.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7


    To protect your files from loss you need to maintain backups. If your files are important to you this is not optional.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #8


    Posts : 16
    Windows 8.1 Pro


    Thanks LMiller1, always good to remind people of this. As a photographer I have 3TB of storage full of data in my closet backing up my work.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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