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What is encryption? Encryption is the most effective way to achieve data security. The transformation of data into a form unreadable by anyone without a secret decryption key is widely used to ensure Confidentiality and Integrity of data. We use encryption to ensure privacy by keeping the information hidden from anyone for whom it is not intended, even those who can see the encrypted data. To decrypt you have to have access to a secret key or password.


The process of encoding data to prevent unauthorized person(s) from viewing or modifying your data is the main feature of data encryption.

  • Confidentiality: Prevents unwanted (unauthorized) access to document(s) and e-mail message(s).
  • Integrity: The use of strongest levels of encryption are very difficult to break.

Process and Types

There are certain steps in which the process of data encryption takes place. The basic process takes the data and passes it through a mathematical formula called an algorithm, which translates that plaintext data into a random and meaningless ciphertext. Decryption is the process of converting ciphertext back to plaintext. There are two types of encryption: Asymmetric and Symmetric.


Encryption has long been used by military and governments but it is now more commonly used in protecting information within many kinds of civilian systems, such as banking, financial institutions, and even higher education.

Weber State University requires the use of Encryption where ever sensitive data is stored or transmitted.
Encryption can be applied either to an entire device, or specific file(s). Full devices encryption should be used on devices that regularly store sensitive information. Contact service desk for assistance.

PPM 10.1 states "Encryption technology will be utilized for local, portable or central storage and transmission of Sensitive Information."

University colleges and departments that collect and store sensitive information on computer systems including such data as Social Security Numbers, driver’s license information and individual financial information (such as credit card numbers, bank account numbers, or financial statements), should have security controls in place to maintain data integrity and confidentiality.

This site provides additional information on Protecting Sensitive Information with encryption and more.

Full Disk/Device Encryption

Note: Contact the Service Desk or your assigned CTC before you ever attempt to do a Full Disk Encryption.

Individual File Encryption and Decryption

Note: The first time you encrypt a folder or file, an encryption certificate is automatically created. You should back up your encryption certificate. If your certificate and keys are lost or damaged and you don't have a backup, you won't be able to use the files that you have encrypted. For more information, see Back up Encrypting File System (EFS) certificate.


  • Right-click (or tap and hold) a file or folder and select Properties.
  • Click Advanced in the General tab.
  • Select/Deselect the Encrypt contents to secure data checkbox.
  • Select OK to close the Advanced Attributes window and then click OK again.


  • Place the files to encrypt in a folder
  • Open disk Utilities
  • Go to the File menu
  • Choose "New Disk Image from Folder"
  • Select the folder that you want to encrypt
  • Choose the encryption method

More Information


Ubuntu includes built-in support for encryption, as do many other distributions.

You should be able to find distribution specific encryption instructions in the distribution documentation.


The process of enabling encryption will depend on the mobile platform and version. Please refer to your platform documentation for information on how to enable encryption.