How to Encrypt Your Computer

isit_encrypt_computerEncryption is vital for ensuring information security, in compliance with the British Columbia Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) and with UBC’s own policies to protect Personally Identifiable Information (see a Quick Overview of UBC Security Policies).

If your computer contains sensitive or personal information, which includes ANY information about students (student numbers, addresses, email addresses, full names, etc.) or UBC employees, you will be in violation of UBC policy if your computer is not encrypted. Any computer that stores UBC email must be encrypted. This applies to all teaching faculty, including sessional lecturers.

Why Should You Encrypt Your Data?

  • Your operating system’s login passwords do not protect your data; data on stolen computers is easily accessed by thieves.
  • McAfee Whole Disk Encryption (WDE) is supported by UBC IT and Arts ISIT. It is used by over 600 faculty and staff computers campus-wide.
  • Depending on the encryption method used, Arts ISIT will be able to reset your password if needed, but no one at UBC will be able to access your data.
  • Encryption does not interfere with any file sharing applications.

Getting Started

If you need to encrypt your computer, visit us at the Help Desk in Buchanan C113 or contact us using the web form below. Enabling the encryption software takes only minutes to complete.

Encryption Overview

  • The software takes 30 seconds to install per computer. This software has little to no noticeable performance impact on your computer. You can also use your computer as usual immediately after the installation. Restarting, sleeping, hibernating, and shutting down the computer with no impact on the encryption process.
  • We will need to change your computer name to a specialized format. This change will not affect how your computer functions. It may affect whether your computer is recognized on your home network, but Arts ISIT cannot support configuring home networks.
  • Once the software is installed, everything happens in the background, invisible to the user. You will be prompted to restart a few times. Please follow the instructions on the screen. Do not be alarmed by restarts.
  • Encryption may take up to 2 weeks to apply. You do not need to check on the progress. Please be patient.

Windows 7

  • You will notice a grey McAfee screen upon boot up. This is the encryption screen. It uses your CWL username for authentication. If this is your first time seeing the screen, you will be prompted to create a password, as well as three recovery questions and answers. You may enter a different password from the one you use for your CWL.
  • If you forgot your password, contact us to reset it.

Windows 8/8.1 encrypted before January 1, 2015

  • You will notice a grey McAfee screen upon boot up. This is the encryption screen. It uses your CWL username for authentication. If this is your first time seeing the screen, you will be prompted to create a password, as well as three recovery questions and answers. You may enter a different password from the one you use for your CWL.
  • If you forgot your password, contact us to reset it.

Windows 8/8.1 encrypted after January 1, 2015

  • You may notice a blue BitLocker screen upon boot up. This is the encryption screen. It uses a password that you created for authentication. If Arts ISIT encrypted your computer, we will have prompted you to create a password.
  • The blue BitLocker screen may not appear if you have a newer laptop with a “Trusted Platform Module” or “TPM.” Your computer will boot straight to Windows 8, and you will be able to log in with your Windows account as usual.
  • If you forgot your password, contact us to reset it.

Encryption Overview

  • The software takes 30 seconds to install per computer. This software has little to no noticeable performance impact on your computer. You can also use your computer as usual immediately after the installation. Restarting, sleeping, hibernating, and shutting down the computer with no impact on the encryption process.
  • We will need to change your computer name to a specialized format. This change will not affect how your computer functions. It may affect whether your computer is recognized on your home network, but Arts ISIT cannot support configuring home networks.
  • Once the software is installed, everything happens in the background, invisible to the user. You will be prompted to restart a few times. Please follow the instructions on the screen. Do not be alarmed by restarts.
  • Encryption may take up to 2 weeks to apply. You do not need to check on the progress. Please be patient.

OS X 10.8.2 and above

  • The log in process remains the same, you log in to your computer using your usual login username and password.
  • You will notice a red McAfee logo on the top menubar.
  • If you forgot your password, contact us to reset it.

OS X 10.8.1 and below

  • The encryption service does not support your Operating System.
  • Contact us to check if upgrading your Operating System is possible.