Alec the Geek Handy Hack:Improving Laptop Security
I have always liked having my laptop BIOS boot password on
After my last post Dave Hall made some excellent points on the shortcomings of BIOS passwords (which in this instance did not not bother me too much) and also made a reference to disk encryption. I've thought about the idea of disk encryption for some time(if you run Windows or OS/X I'm not sure what options you have) but I've always been concerned about arousing the suspicion of the TSA when travelling to the US; plus I never has the correct install DVD with me when I was re-installing my Ubuntu GNU/Linux system.
By a strange coincidence a few days after Dave's comment I managed to corrupt my hard disk partition and decided to implement disk encryption as part of the re-install. So whilst waiting to verify my backups I downloaded the Ubuntu 9.04 Alternative ISO. When installing Ubuntu it's a simple matter of selecting yes to disk encryption and entering a pass phrase.
After the installation was complete Ubunto now prompts me for my pass phrase at boot time, so I switched off the BIOS password.
N.B. Implementing this has required me to make a policy decision that I will freely disclose my pass phrase to any legal request from law enforcement authorities wherever I may be.
I'm delighted to say that I have noticed NO performance penalty after implementing this.