Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

May 19, 2016
File Vault is the ultimate tool in disk data protection

Many people go to great lengths to protect their data from hacker’s intrusions and El Capitan’s FileVault is one of the tools they use to defend their Mac. It almost sounds like a war doesn’t it? It is a war.

I don’t believe this is a startling prediction, but I believe hacking and stealing of our data will increase in the years ahead and protecting our data will become more difficult. FileVault makes it very easy to securely protect every piece of information on our Mac. Go ahead, select the Apple at the top-left and then select System Preferences. Next, select Security & Privacy and then open the FileVault tab at the top of the box.

FileVault is a feature that automatically encrypts the data on your Mac’s disk. To encrypt means to change data using a code or mathematical algorithm making it unintelligible to others.

However, there is a warning issued by Apple about using FileVault. This is word for word from Apple: “Warning: You will need your login password or a recovery key to access your data. A recovery key is automatically generated as part of this (FileVault) setup. If you forget both your password and the recovery key, the data will be lost.” It is crucial you remember your password or the recovery key to have access to your data. I do not recommend you write down your Apple ID password, mainly, because it defeats the purpose of encrypting your data. You can choose to have Apple store your recovery key, making it easy to retrieve. I’ll cover this in a moment. IF YOU ARE UNCOMFORTABLE WITH ANY PART OF THIS PROCESS, DO NOT ENABLE FILEVAULT.

To use FileVault, your Mac needs to be running OS X Lion or later and OS X Recovery must be installed on your startup disk. In most cases, OS X Recovery is installed on your Mac if you are running the latest operating system. If it isn’t installed, you will be notified during the procedure.

To turn on FileVault, click the lock in the lower-left corner, enter your Apple ID and Password and then click Unlock. Next, select the button: “Turn On FileVault.”

After you click “Turn On FileVault,” if you have more than one user account, you will be asked to select the user accounts you want to allow to unlock the encrypted drive. Each user will need to enter their password to have the ability to unlock FileVault. Keep in mind, when you unlock your Mac, if you walk away from it and leave it unlocked, all users will have access to the data. After your Mac is unlocked, the drive will remain unlocked until you restart your computer.

Once you determine which users can unlock the disk, you will be shown the recovery key. You can write this recovery key down, print it out or even email it to yourself using any webmail such as Gmail, iCloud, Outlook or any other email that you access through the Internet. Don’t save it on your Mac because if it becomes locked and you don’t remember it, you will be in a very difficult spot. The most important thing is to keep it secure so it can’t be discovered easily.

Once you are shown your recovery key, you will have the opportunity to have Apple store it for you. Select “Store the recovery key with Apple” and select Continue. You will be asked to choose three answers to three questions. Be sure to choose questions and answers that you will not forget. I must emphasize this, you need to remember these answers with exactness. This information is encrypted so not even Apple will be privy to your selections. After you make your choices, select Continue.

After you setup FileVault, you will be asked to restart your computer. Once it restarts, the login screen will appear asking you to select your account name and enter your password. This will unlock the disk and then you will see the Apple logo as your Mac continues to start up.

For 14 years, Scott Lindsay has helped tens of thousands of people better their skills, publishing more than 400 articles about Microsoft and Apple software, the computer and the Internet. You can reach Scott for comments or questions at ScottLindsay@live.com.

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