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How to Secure Sensitive Data

If you need to save sensitive data to a file, make sure to secure it by limiting the number of people who can access it.  This can be done by

  • encrypting the file using an encryption program
  • compressing the file and using a password to lock decompression

The latter is useful if the file needs to be shared among people who need it’s contents.

Windows XP and other Versions

Windows XP has the built-in ability to encrypt files if the NTFS file system is used.  However, it is not currently recommended to use the built-in Windows XP encryption.  Other third-party encryption programs are available, such as GNU Privacy Guard (this is not an endorsement of the program).  However, SEASnet does not currently have any recommended encryption programs.

A compression program with encryption and a password can be used, but be sure to use a strong password.  Some compression programs that have encryption and a password are WinZip and WinRAR.   Please consult the program’s website for instructions on how to use the compression and encryption.