Do you encrypt financial/investment documents on your PC?

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills
Post Reply
Tamales
Posts: 1232
Joined: Sat Jul 05, 2014 10:47 am

Do you encrypt financial/investment documents on your PC?

Post by Tamales » Wed Jan 14, 2015 10:25 pm

Just wondering how many people use an encrypted drive or other means to safeguard your financial, investment, tax, etc. documents on your computer?

If so, what software/hardware do you use?

If not, why not?

davebarnes
Posts: 542
Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2008 7:06 pm
Location: Berkeley, Denver, Colorado USA

Who cares?

Post by davebarnes » Wed Jan 14, 2015 10:32 pm

Why?
I really don't care if someone sees my tax returns.
I send them to the IRS and they forward them to the CIA, FBI and NSA.
A nerd living in Denver

stan1
Posts: 5697
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 4:35 pm

Re: Do you encrypt financial/investment documents on your PC

Post by stan1 » Wed Jan 14, 2015 10:36 pm

I encrypt everything with the FileVault software that comes with Mac OS X.

I'm worried about theft of the laptop during a home burglary while we are out, theft from a hotel room, or accidently leaving it in an airport. I'm not worried about the NSA or FBI (would probably do something different if I was, but since I'm not in that situation I don't know exactly what I'd do differently).

User avatar
Toons
Posts: 12872
Joined: Fri Nov 21, 2008 10:20 am
Location: Hills of Tennessee

Re: Do you encrypt financial/investment documents on your PC

Post by Toons » Wed Jan 14, 2015 10:39 pm

I Never have encrypted them,never really gave it much thought or concern.
Tax files are backed up to external hard drive pdf.
I don't store any other financial documents on my computer.They are all stored on the providers (brokerage,bank,utilities,credit card)servers if I need to view them which is rarely. :happy
"One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity" –Bruce Lee

User avatar
zaboomafoozarg
Posts: 1943
Joined: Sun Jun 12, 2011 12:34 pm

Re: Do you encrypt financial/investment documents on your PC

Post by zaboomafoozarg » Wed Jan 14, 2015 11:06 pm

Nah. I don't save usernames or passwords on my machine, just documents. If someone did manage to get them, so what?

livesoft
Posts: 61944
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 8:00 pm

Re: Do you encrypt financial/investment documents on your PC

Post by livesoft » Wed Jan 14, 2015 11:13 pm

No, I do not encrypt things. Why would I need to? The information is more or less publicly available. For instance, if you know my address, then you can look up how much my house is worth and what the average income is and you can see my cars, etc. Everybody knows what I invest in nowadays, too. They can pretty much guess the amounts within a million dollars or so, too.

If someone steals my identity, it would be a hassle, but I don't think it would cost me anything.
Wiki This signature message sponsored by sscritic: Learn to fish.

DoubleClick
Posts: 370
Joined: Mon Oct 18, 2010 1:12 am

Re: Do you encrypt financial/investment documents on your PC

Post by DoubleClick » Wed Jan 14, 2015 11:52 pm

I might be more of the exception here, but I use full-disk encryption on my newer laptops. I don't put my financial documents or notes on other machines.

I also only upload encrypted versions to the cloud for backups.
Last edited by DoubleClick on Thu Jan 15, 2015 12:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

stlutz
Posts: 4614
Joined: Fri Jan 02, 2009 1:08 am

Re: Do you encrypt financial/investment documents on your PC

Post by stlutz » Wed Jan 14, 2015 11:57 pm

I started to, but then I realized that I keep hardcopy year-end records as a "fail-safe" backup, so that kind of defeats the purpose.

mrpotatoheadsays
Posts: 223
Joined: Fri Mar 16, 2012 2:36 pm

Re: Do you encrypt financial/investment documents on your PC

Post by mrpotatoheadsays » Thu Jan 15, 2015 12:36 am

Tamales wrote:
If so, what software/hardware do you use?
All information held in Microsoft Office documents use the internal password protection mechanisms. Other document are encrypted with AES Crypt.

User avatar
JaneyLH
Posts: 383
Joined: Wed Oct 16, 2013 7:16 pm

Re: Do you encrypt financial/investment documents on your PC

Post by JaneyLH » Thu Jan 15, 2015 12:41 am

I think people are needlessly paranoid about this stuff. I'm having the hardest time getting Vanguard to allow me to transfer money out of my accounts into my bank. I'd be really surprised if anyone could figure out how to get any money out of my accounts with just my account numbers. They would then need to get my bank to notarize their signature as being the same one as on my bank account. Good luck. If they did, I'd have redress against the bank.

My nextdoor neighbor shreds everything that has his name and address on it. He thinks he's the center of the universe.

Erwin
Posts: 1929
Joined: Fri Apr 27, 2007 11:16 pm

Re: Do you encrypt financial/investment documents on your PC

Post by Erwin » Thu Jan 15, 2015 12:49 am

i have all my passwords, CC numbers, and other confidential information stored in my computer in SAFE HOUSE, an Encryption Software. I hope that it is safe, but do not know. Anyone using it?
Erwin

User avatar
tc101
Posts: 2994
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 3:18 pm
Location: Atlanta - Retired in 2004 at age 54

Re: Do you encrypt financial/investment documents on your PC

Post by tc101 » Thu Jan 15, 2015 1:03 am

No I don't encrypt them
. | The most important thing you should know about me is that I am not an expert.

IPer
Posts: 1639
Joined: Sun Jul 28, 2013 8:51 pm

Re: Do you encrypt financial/investment documents on your PC

Post by IPer » Thu Jan 15, 2015 1:19 am

No, if anyone sees them and understands them it might help them.
Read the Wiki Wiki !

Mudpuppy
Posts: 5889
Joined: Sat Aug 27, 2011 2:26 am
Location: Sunny California

Re: Do you encrypt financial/investment documents on your PC

Post by Mudpuppy » Thu Jan 15, 2015 1:21 am

I have an encrypted partition on which I store my financial documents, particularly those that list sensitive information like the tax return files from the tax software. The encryption is supported by my operating system (Linux) and doesn't cause any other problems than having to type another password when I boot. Should someone break into my running machine (e.g. malware, hackers, etc.), they would be able to access the files.

But I am more concerned about a burglar making off with my electronics and finding a little treasure trove of data to boot, which is why I encrypt. Maybe you get hit with dumb thieves that don't realize the extra monetary value in the data on the electronics, but what if the person they fence the electronics to is a bit more savvy? With modern processing power and operating system support, it really isn't that hard to do even whole drive encryption these days and it eliminates that possibility.

ccieemeritus
Posts: 555
Joined: Thu Mar 06, 2014 10:43 pm

Re: Do you encrypt financial/investment documents on your PC

Post by ccieemeritus » Thu Jan 15, 2015 2:56 am

+1 FileVault on Mac to prevent data loss from stolen computers. It's imcluded with the OS.

My passwords are further encrypted with 1password. I use 2 factor authentication for most financial accounts.

crg11
Posts: 411
Joined: Sat Jan 04, 2014 8:16 am

Re: Do you encrypt financial/investment documents on your PC

Post by crg11 » Thu Jan 15, 2015 8:05 am

I encrypt my entire hard drive using FileVault 2 (part of recent Mac OS X releases). Works perfectly fine and with no issues. I store the recovery key in a safe place just in case something bad were to happen and me (or a family member) can't get into the computer.

I additionally store all of my passwords and important stuff like account #'s, codes, etc. in 1Password, which is also encrypted.

Jack FFR1846
Posts: 7427
Joined: Tue Dec 31, 2013 7:05 am

Re: Do you encrypt financial/investment documents on your PC

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Thu Jan 15, 2015 8:24 am

All my stuff is coded and only store on a flash drive or on paper. If my account password is zsGg65&LLL, my password key lists it as "z". If the account number is my ss number, I have a code like an animal name. So if 3 institutions use my ss as an account #, then one might be cat, the second fish and the third black cap chickodee.

The idea is that I assume that someone trying to steal my identity breaks into my house and gets the flash drive and paper key. They still have nothing useful.
Bogle: Smart Beta is stupid

Drifting Along
Posts: 29
Joined: Mon Apr 08, 2013 11:28 am

Re: Do you encrypt financial/investment documents on your PC

Post by Drifting Along » Thu Jan 15, 2015 8:42 am

Seriously? People keep this information unprotected? What a heartache if you lost control of your financial data. All those passwords to change, credit card companies to call, or do you just hope the thief doesn't notice what's on your computer?

We have used TrueCrypt for many years but TrueCrypt has been recently orphaned by its developers. I am in the market for a new encryption tool to replace TrueCrypt.

tibbitts
Posts: 7824
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 6:50 pm

Re: Do you encrypt financial/investment documents on your PC

Post by tibbitts » Thu Jan 15, 2015 8:54 am

I encrypt my few files containing account numbers, passwords, etc. I'm reluctant to encrypt entire drives or filesystems due to my computers being older, and/or low-powered even for their era.

I've had the experience of losing data to encryption, so that may somewhat limit my enthusiasm.

User avatar
JPH
Posts: 775
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2011 8:56 pm

Re: Do you encrypt financial/investment documents on your PC

Post by JPH » Thu Jan 15, 2015 9:07 am

I don't currently encrypt, but I've been thinking about this too. I have a bright red icon on my desktop labeled "In Emergency Look Here." It leads to a Word file that contains all our personal information, including passport numbers, driver's license numbers, SS#, CC account numbers, etc. It seems very exposed, but if I encrypt that, it would seem to defeat my purpose.
While the moments do summersaults into eternity | Cling to their coattails and beg them to stay - Townes Van Zandt

Caduceus
Posts: 1647
Joined: Mon Sep 17, 2012 1:47 am

Re: Do you encrypt financial/investment documents on your PC

Post by Caduceus » Thu Jan 15, 2015 9:37 am

If you take some time (a couple of hours at most) to set up the systems in the beginning, it's really quite simple. Windows BitLocker has full disk encryption. If you save your documents on flash drives that come with hardware-based encryption, all it takes is just one password to lock and unlock it - again, not too much time or effort. (Actually, close to zero effort.)

Set options to receiving paperless statements, which for many financial institutions means the statements will be available for viewing or download in their sites, not that they will actually send you a digital copy to your inbox, so nothing paper-based to shred, or electronic to delete. And none of your mail mistakenly sent to wrong addresses, or stranded if you ever move.

Periodically clear your inbox (you can use the search function) for emails that contain personal information you wish to stay private. I don't think email is a particularly secure or private form of communication, and if I were ever to use a CPA (I've always done my own taxes so far), I would not send them unencrypted tax documents over email.

Some of the responses are interesting. There's more personal data on your computer, in your inbox, and from your paper documents than in your financial accounts. So it doesn't seem consistent to want to protect your financial information only insofar as your login and password are concerned, but not care about the other things.

OpenRoad
Posts: 95
Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2014 2:09 pm

Re: Do you encrypt financial/investment documents on your PC

Post by OpenRoad » Thu Jan 15, 2015 9:47 am

No. but I really don't store anything on my PC that I would worry about.

User avatar
BolderBoy
Posts: 3984
Joined: Wed Apr 07, 2010 12:16 pm
Location: Colorado

Re: Do you encrypt financial/investment documents on your PC

Post by BolderBoy » Thu Jan 15, 2015 9:55 am

Mudpuppy wrote:But I am more concerned about a burglar making off with my electronics and finding a little treasure trove of data to boot, which is why I encrypt. Maybe you get hit with dumb thieves that don't realize the extra monetary value in the data on the electronics, but what if the person they fence the electronics to is a bit more savvy? With modern processing power and operating system support, it really isn't that hard to do even whole drive encryption these days and it eliminates that possibility.
+1 This. Nothing leaves my house absent encryption.

User avatar
zaboomafoozarg
Posts: 1943
Joined: Sun Jun 12, 2011 12:34 pm

Re: Do you encrypt financial/investment documents on your PC

Post by zaboomafoozarg » Thu Jan 15, 2015 10:04 am

Drifting Along wrote:Seriously? People keep this information unprotected? What a heartache if you lost control of your financial data. All those passwords to change, credit card companies to call, or do you just hope the thief doesn't notice what's on your computer?
Why would anyone save their passwords? Those are supposed to be memorized, not ever written down or saved anywhere.

ubermax
Posts: 1428
Joined: Tue Feb 11, 2014 2:19 pm
Location: Connecticut

Re: Do you encrypt financial/investment documents on your PC

Post by ubermax » Thu Jan 15, 2015 10:10 am

stan1 wrote:I'm worried about theft of the laptop during a home burglary while we are out, theft from a hotel room, or accidently leaving it in an airport. I'm not worried about the NSA or FBI (would probably do something different if I was, but since I'm not in that situation I don't know exactly what I'd do differently).
+1 Me too !!!

Haven't done it yet but I might keep the passwords on a stick instead of the HD , there's a concern about identity theft since SS numbers are on copies of tax forms but I haven't thought about it too much .

But no I don't encrypt !!! and I won't tell you where I live or reveal my IP address :happy

User avatar
backpacker
Posts: 1620
Joined: Mon Sep 22, 2014 2:17 pm

Re: Do you encrypt financial/investment documents on your PC

Post by backpacker » Thu Jan 15, 2015 10:23 am

Absolutely. Combination of FileVault and encryped disk imagine with its own unique password. :happy

JohnFiscal
Posts: 597
Joined: Mon Jan 06, 2014 4:28 pm
Location: Florida

Re: Do you encrypt financial/investment documents on your PC

Post by JohnFiscal » Thu Jan 15, 2015 10:44 am

I use full drive encryption (FDE) on my laptop. I take it on travels but I generally don't use it outside of family homes or hotels. I would never use a laptop without FDE.

I keep my real data and working files on an encrypted USB drive, backed up to the laptop.

I use TrueCrypt software, which has been discontinued. I still feel it is secure, the flap surrounding its closure notwithstanding. I may go to Diskcryptor in the future.

ETA, the full disk encryption produces no additional overhead on the system, all I have to do is enter an additional password on system boot. I also use a bios password. Then there's the Windows password.
Last edited by JohnFiscal on Thu Jan 15, 2015 10:47 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
FabLab
Posts: 1127
Joined: Mon Oct 18, 2010 12:15 pm

Re: Do you encrypt financial/investment documents on your PC

Post by FabLab » Thu Jan 15, 2015 10:47 am

Yes to encryption, but on external drives. Nothing on PC.
The fundamental things apply as time goes by -- Herman Hupfeld

rkhusky
Posts: 5263
Joined: Thu Aug 18, 2011 8:09 pm

Re: Do you encrypt financial/investment documents on your PC

Post by rkhusky » Thu Jan 15, 2015 11:00 am

zaboomafoozarg wrote:
Drifting Along wrote:Seriously? People keep this information unprotected? What a heartache if you lost control of your financial data. All those passwords to change, credit card companies to call, or do you just hope the thief doesn't notice what's on your computer?
Why would anyone save their passwords? Those are supposed to be memorized, not ever written down or saved anywhere.
I use 15+ digit randomized passwords with upper, lower, numbers, special characters. :wink: (not really)

I use OS X encrypted disk images to store passwords and sensitive documents. I use Excel and Quicken password protection for files outside the disk images (not sure if this is encrypted), mainly to keep the kids from messing stuff up. I back up to unencrypted hard drives, one of which is stored off-site.

Johno
Posts: 1883
Joined: Sat May 24, 2014 4:14 pm

Re: Do you encrypt financial/investment documents on your PC

Post by Johno » Thu Jan 15, 2015 11:24 am

Jack FFR1846 wrote:All my stuff is coded and only store on a flash drive or on paper. If my account password is zsGg65&LLL, my password key lists it as "z". If the account number is my ss number, I have a code like an animal name. So if 3 institutions use my ss as an account #, then one might be cat, the second fish and the third black cap chickodee.

The idea is that I assume that someone trying to steal my identity breaks into my house and gets the flash drive and paper key. They still have nothing useful.
But do you just memorize the sGg65&LLL part, and is that the same for all passwords with different prefix? I'm looking to upgrade to an idea like yours, so curious.

Maybe I have a Luddite tendency but I don't like the idea of encrypting all the files. I use Windows laptop rather than Apple for certain obscure software still easier to get for Windows. But I passionately hate Windows pc's, all the slowing down and freezing up, so adding another bell/whistle when the basic set up doesn't really work, and never has for me for several computers in a row, just wouldn't do it.

My current system is just password list in a file with its own difficult password and a name and location that doesn't suggest what it is among thousands of other files. I don't think that's super secure, but I very rarely take the laptop out of the house, low crime area, so the compounded probability isn't high and the really sensitive PW's to change (where people could steal money from me) not that numerous. Otherwise there's nothing sensitive, to me, on my PC. I wonder what other people are thinking of that is to them.

Still, I'm interested in ideas like yours to make it a step harder to get the sensitive financial inst PW's without making it more likely I'll lose them, especially considering cognitive decline as a possibility not that far off anymore. :D

mchop
Posts: 62
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2013 12:42 pm

Re: Do you encrypt financial/investment documents on your PC

Post by mchop » Thu Jan 15, 2015 11:51 am

Keepass for passwords and personal info
TrueCrypt for storing all my personal files / documents on my laptop

takeshi
Posts: 1175
Joined: Thu Oct 03, 2013 10:02 pm

Re: Do you encrypt financial/investment documents on your PC

Post by takeshi » Thu Jan 15, 2015 11:52 am

I use TrueCrypt as my documents are in Dropbox. I'm not attempting to keep the NSA or similar out. Odds are they can get in and/or crack it if it they really want to. It just keeps my stuff out of the prying eyes of some who really don't need to see that stuff IMO.

As with anything, each needs to decide what he/she considers to be reasonable precautions.
zaboomafoozarg wrote:Why would anyone save their passwords? Those are supposed to be memorized, not ever written down or saved anywhere.
Again, one size does not fit all. Truly strong passwords are difficult to memorize -- especially as the number of accounts grows. I use a password manager.

User avatar
Ice-9
Posts: 1298
Joined: Wed Oct 15, 2008 12:40 pm
Location: Rockville, MD

Re: Do you encrypt financial/investment documents on your PC

Post by Ice-9 » Thu Jan 15, 2015 12:04 pm

Drifting Along wrote:Seriously? People keep this information unprotected? What a heartache if you lost control of your financial data. All those passwords to change, credit card companies to call, or do you just hope the thief doesn't notice what's on your computer?

We have used TrueCrypt for many years but TrueCrypt has been recently orphaned by its developers. I am in the market for a new encryption tool to replace TrueCrypt.
I've used TrueCrypt for the last few years. I keep one big encrypted container for all of our statements, and another big encrypted container for all of our tax information. Both are saved in one of the free online cloud service folders and automatically backed up once a week to both an external drive and a second free online cloud service using the Automator tool on my Mac. (I've gone paperless, so these PDFs are important.)

Since TrueCrypt was abandoned in May 2014, I've continued to use it, but am about to try VeraCrypt. This is a fork that actually started before TrueCrypt was dropped by its developers, has made some improvements to the code based on the audit of TrueCrypt, and recently became available for Mac and Linux as well as Windows. I plan to try it out (Linux and Mac) over the next week.

http://sourceforge.net/projects/veracry ... =directory
https://veracrypt.codeplex.com/

Also, the CipherShed project that started after TrueCrypt died appears to be making some progress and has an alpha.

https://ciphershed.org/
https://wiki.ciphershed.org/

I haven't tested CipherShed yet, but may try out the alpha, though I don't expect to notice too much difference from the last TrueCrypt except for the name and logo. However, if I try VeraCrypt and like it, I may not bother with CipherShed.

drwtsn32
Posts: 125
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2014 12:28 pm

Re: Do you encrypt financial/investment documents on your PC

Post by drwtsn32 » Thu Jan 15, 2015 12:15 pm

I encrypt sensitive data if I'm using a laptop. I will encrypt my profile folder and other folders where I may store documents.

If you lose your laptop it is trivial for someone to clear your Windows password so they can log in and access unencrypted data. Encryption mitigates that risk. Don't forget about browser profiles! If someone accesses your Firefox profile for instance and you have saved cookies and or passwords they can have some fun with your accounts. Encrypting my profile also protects browser data. I use the standard built-in Windows encryption.

For a desktop, no, I don't bother with encryption.

I use device encryption on my Android phone and tablet, too.

Mudpuppy
Posts: 5889
Joined: Sat Aug 27, 2011 2:26 am
Location: Sunny California

Re: Do you encrypt financial/investment documents on your PC

Post by Mudpuppy » Thu Jan 15, 2015 12:17 pm

zaboomafoozarg wrote:
Drifting Along wrote:Seriously? People keep this information unprotected? What a heartache if you lost control of your financial data. All those passwords to change, credit card companies to call, or do you just hope the thief doesn't notice what's on your computer?
Why would anyone save their passwords? Those are supposed to be memorized, not ever written down or saved anywhere.
Perhaps this was sarcasm, but in case it was not... that is antiquated advice. Nowadays, security professionals realize the most memorizable passwords are also the easiest to crack for malicious attackers who steal hashed password files. They are typically short and follow certain common patterns (capital letter at start, numbers at end, symbols in the middle or at end, etc.). So the current advice is that it is more important to have long, random, unique passwords for every site, even if you have to use a password locker or write them down.

However, the advice also says to be careful about writing them down. Don't just leave a bunch of stickies on your monitor or under your keyboard with both the username and password. Keep the username and password separate (or use a personalized encoding method as already described). Store the list securely when not in use (e.g. put it in a safe). If using an electronic means, either use a password locker or an encrypted file with a strong master password that is long and unique (one long password to memorize is easier than 100 short ones).

User avatar
magellan
Posts: 3469
Joined: Fri Mar 09, 2007 4:12 pm

Re: Do you encrypt financial/investment documents on your PC

Post by magellan » Thu Jan 15, 2015 2:05 pm

IMO, the days of thieves and hackers not knowing their victims in intimate detail are very limited if not over. Imagine that the person who just got your data or hacked your computer has considerable skill, time, and other resources and is determined to learn as much as they can about who you are, where you work, who you know, where you bank, and how much you're worth. They'll use what they can learn from an automated 'victim assessment' that combines hacked or stolen data with online database searches to maximize their profit.

Aside from not becoming a victim in the first place, for most of us the best defense is to minimize the amount of data that's available in the case of theft or a hack. Personally, I'm wary of only using whole disk solutions that leave all data exposed if a computer is secretly hacked. I only need to view my tax files for a few hours each year, so it doesn't make sense for them to be exposed to any malware that installs itself on my computer all throughout year. The same is true for other sensitive files. if your computer is stolen, then whole disk encryption will do its job. Otherwise, keeping sensitive data encrypted in various silos that are only decrypted as needed will minimize your exposure.

DoubleClick
Posts: 370
Joined: Mon Oct 18, 2010 1:12 am

Re: Do you encrypt financial/investment documents on your PC

Post by DoubleClick » Thu Jan 15, 2015 2:29 pm

BTW, I use https://diskcryptor.net/ for full-disk encryption. Open source, free, fast, works great with Windows.

cheesepep
Posts: 772
Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2010 10:58 pm

Re: Do you encrypt financial/investment documents on your PC

Post by cheesepep » Thu Jan 15, 2015 2:48 pm

I store them on an encrypted disk partition on an encrypted disk.

Post Reply