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Encryption

What is Encryption and Why Do It?

Encryption essentially turns data and content into code that cannot be read without a corresponding decryption key. Encryption is the most effective way to ensure data security.

International Travel and Encryption

Encryption software is illegal in many countries. Before you travel, it is essential that you understand the encryption and export compliance laws of the countries you'll be visiting. See "International Travel With Encrypted Devices" on Travel for answers to frequently asked questions.


Additional Resources

Email Encryption

Digital credentials are available to all current KU faculty, staff and student staff. KU uses DigiCert certificates for email signing and encryption. Because the DigiCert root is widely distributed, you can digitally sign email to anyone—on or off campus—with no special setup required by the recipient.

To get your digital certificates for email encryption and digital signing, and to learn more about email security at KU, visit Email - Security/Encryption.


Whole Disk Encryption

Whole Disk Encryption means encrypting the hard drive of a computer, so the data on that machine is accessible only by the decryption key holder. Whole Disk Encryption is an essential step in protecting the data on laptops if the device is lost or stolen. It gives you and the University the ability to say with confidence that no data on the device can be accessed or disclosed. Whole Disk Encryption can turn a laptop theft into a far less traumatic event, reducing the need for difficult investigations and embarrassing disclosures.

KU IT requires whole disk encryption for all KU-owned laptops and offers whole disk encryption for desktop workstations. For more information about Whole Disk Encryption, contact the IT Security Office at itsec@ku.edu or 785-864-9003. Contact your Technology Support Staff to have your KU computer encrypted.

Whole Disk Encryption FAQs

Will I Have to Remember a Special Login for My Encrypted Computer?

No. You will log in to your encrypted computer as you do now, with your KU Online ID and password. You will not have to do anything differently on your encrypted computer. Once installed, the Whole Disk Encryption should be completely transparent to you.


I Already Have Encrypted Email. Do I Need This?

Yes. While both are encryption technologies, digital certificates only protect the email messages you encrypt. Whole Disk Encryption protects your entire hard drive and all the data on it.


I Never Carry Sensitive Data With Me. Do I Need This?

Yes. While many of us think we never access sensitive data, or store it on our computers, this is rarely the case. Think of Whole Disk Encryption as an insurance policy - your hard drive is protected, even if you think none of your data is sensitive.


Does This Mean the Data on My Computer Can Never Be Stolen?

No. While Whole Disk Encryption does stop a thief from pulling the hard drive out of your computer and downloading the data, malware can still infect your computer and steal data while you are using it. Whole Disk Encryption is just one layer of security we use to protect sensitive data.


I Have a Desktop Computer, But I Would Still Like to Have it Encrypted. Can I Do That?

While we are asking IT Support Staff to prioritize encrypting laptops because they are more vulnerable to theft, your IT Support Staff can encrypt your desktop computer’s hard drive at your request.


Reporting Unauthorized Computer Access

If you notice unauthorized computer access or other improper computer use, immediately report it to the KU IT Customer Service Center at itcsc@ku.edu or 785-864-8080.


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