Using Software-Based Encryption

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Software-based encryption can encrypt individual files and folders, entire disks, removable media, mobile devices, and databases. If you’re planning on taking the Security+ exam, you should have a basic understanding of software-based encryption.

For example, can you answer this question?

Q. Bart copied an encrypted file from his desktop computer to his USB drive and discovered that the copied file isn’t encrypted. He asks you what he can do to ensure files he’s encrypted remain encrypted when he copies them to a USB drive. What would you recommend as the BEST solution to this problem?

A. Use file-level encryption.

B. Convert the USB to FAT32.

C. Use whole disk encryption on the desktop computer.

D. Use whole disk encryption on the USB drive.

More, do you know why the correct answer is correct and the incorrect answers are incorrect? The answer and explanation is available at the end of this post.

Security+ Practice Test Questions

SYO-401 Practice Test Questions Now Available

Over 440 realistic Security+ practice test questions

All questions include explanations so you'll know why the correct answers are correct,

and why the incorrect answers are incorrect.

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Multiple quiz formats to let you use these questions based on the way you learn.
  • Learn mode - randomized. View each of the questions in random order. Learn mode allows you to keep selecting answers until you select the correct answer. Once you select the correct answer, you'll see the explanation. Click here to see how learn mode works.
  • Learn mode - not randomized. View each of the questions in the same order. Use this if you want to make sure that you see all of the questions. Learn mode allows you to keep selecting answers until you select the correct answer. Once you select the correct answer, you'll see the explanation. Click here to see how learn mode works.
  • Test mode - randomized. View each of the questions in random order. In test mode, you can only see the correct answers and explanations after you complete the test. Click here to see how test mode works.
  • Test mode - not randomized. View each of the questions in the same order. In test mode, you can only see the correct answers and explanations after you complete the test. Click here to see how test mode works.
  • Test mode - 100 random questions. View 100 random questions from the full test bank similar to how the Security+ exam has a potential maximum of 100 multiple choice questions. In test mode, you can only see the correct answers and explanations after you complete the test. Click here to see how test mode works.

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INCLUDES QUESTIONS TO HELP YOU PREPARE

FOR THE NEW PERFORMANCE BASED QUESTIONS 

Bonus - Performance Based Questions

Additional Security+ questions to help you prepare for the new performance based questions. These are included with the full bank of Security+ practice test questions and are divided into different sections. For example, you'll have access to the following links:

- Performance Based Question - Set 1

You'll see a graphic explaining what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match different types of security to mobile devices and servers in a data center. You'll then have two questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This question also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 2

You'll see a graphic explaining what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match different types of attacks with the name of the attack type. You'll then have five questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This question also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 3

You'll see a graphic showing a network with computers and servers separated by a firewall. The firewall is used to control traffic between the computers and users using rules within an access control list (ACL).  You'll have three questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly identify the relevant components of the rule. The incorrect answers and explanation provide you with insight into how to correctly answer this type of question on the actual exam.

- Performance Based Question - Set 4

You'll see a graphic explaining what you might be required to do on the actual exam related to what a forensic analyst would do during an investigation. You'll then have two questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This question also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 5

You'll see a graphic explaining what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match protocols and ports. You'll then have seven questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This question also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 6

You'll see a list of security controls along with a graphic showing devices and locations within an organization, along with instructions on what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match the controls with the devices and locations. You'll then have four questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This question also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 7

You'll see a list of authentication methods and authentication factors along with instructions on what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match the authentication methods with the authentication factors. You'll then have six questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This set also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 8

You'll see a graphic explaining what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match different types of attacks with the name of the attack type. You'll then have five questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This is similar to Set 2 but expands on the possibilities. The set also includes a link to a page showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

New - Performance Based Question - Set 9

New questions recently added using a different testing engine. See a demo here. This set includes drag and drop and matching questions on ports.

New - Performance Based Question - Set 10

A random set of 20 performance-based questions using drag and drop, matching, sorting, and fill in-the blank. This set includes performance-based questions on RAID.

Get the full bank of Security+ Practice Test Questions Here

Get the full bank of Security+ Practice Test Questions

Although software-based encryption is slower than hardware-based encryption, it is secure when using strong encryption algorithms.

File-Level Encryption

Many operating systems support file- and folder-level encryption. Linux systems support GNU privacy guard (gpg), which is a command-line tool used to encrypt and decrypt files with a password. Microsoft NTFS includes Encrypting File System (EFS), available in Windows Explorer. Users can right-click any file or folder, select Advanced, and select Encrypt Contents to Secure Data. An attacker will have a more difficult time accessing these encrypted files.

 Software-Based Encryption

A benefit of file- and folder-level encryption is that you can encrypt individual files without encrypting an entire disk. For example, a server may store files accessed by users throughout the company. Access controls provide a first level of protection for these files, but administrators may be able to bypass the access controls. Imagine that a company stores payroll data on the server and wants to ensure that a malicious insider with administrative privileges can’t access the data. Using file encryption provides an additional level of protection.

One of the challenges with file-level encryption is that the encryption can be lost if an authorized user copies encrypted files to another disk that doesn’t support encryption. For example, imagine that Bart encrypts a file on his system using NTFS and then copies the file to a FAT32-formatted USB drive. Because FAT32 doesn’t support NTFS encryption, the system decrypts the file before copying it onto the drive. The solution to this is to use USBs with whole device or full disk encryption.

CompTIA Security+ Study Guide (SY0-401)

The 401 Version of the Study Guide is Now Available

SY0-401 Study GuideThe CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-401 Study Guide is an update to the top-selling SY0-201 and SY0-301 study guides, which have helped thousands of readers pass the exam the first time they took it.

CompTIA Authorized Quality Content (CAQC)After a comprehensive review by ProCert Labs, the SY0-401 version has been certified as CompTIA Approved Quality Content (CAQC) and covers every aspect of the SY0-401 exam.

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Over 400 realistic practice test questions with in-depth explanations will help you test your comprehension and readiness for the exam. The book includes:

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  • A 100 question post-test
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Each practice test question includes a detailed explanation to help you understand the content and the reasoning behind the question. You’ll be ready to take and pass the exam the first time you take it.

If you plan to pursue any of the advanced security certifications, this guide will also help you lay a solid foundation of security knowledge. Learn this material, and you’ll be a step ahead for other exams. This SY0-401 study guide is for any IT or security professional interested in advancing in their field, and a must read for anyone striving to master the basics of IT security.

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Full Disk Encryption

Full disk encryption programs encrypt an entire disk. For example, TrueCrypt is available on Linux and many other operating systems. It performs whole disk encryption for USB drives to protect the confidentiality of data if the device is lost. Users can access the data with a password, and TrueCrypt will decrypt and encrypt data on the fly without any other user intervention. It’s also possible to use full disk encryption on traditional hard disk drives.

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Software-based Encryption with Databases

Another form of software-based encryption is with databases. For example, many database applications such as Oracle Database or Microsoft SQL Server include the ability to encrypt data held within a database. Although it’s possible to encrypt the entire database, it’s more common to encrypt specific data elements.

As an example, imagine a database includes a table named Customers. Each record within the table has multiple columns, including customer number, last name, first name, credit card number, and security code. Instead of encrypting the entire table, administrators can choose to encrypt only the credit card number and security code fields within each record. This protects the sensitive data, but doesn’t waste valuable processing power encrypting data that isn’t sensitive.

Remember this

File- and folder-level protection protects individual files. Full disk encryption protects entire disks, including USB flash drives and drives on mobile devices. Database column encryption protects individual fields within a database.


 

Q. Bart copied an encrypted file from his desktop computer to his USB drive and discovered that the copied file isn’t encrypted. He asks you what he can do to ensure files he’s encrypted remain encrypted when he copies them to a USB drive. What would you recommend as the BEST solution to this problem?

A. Use file-level encryption.

B. Convert the USB to FAT32.

C. Use whole disk encryption on the desktop computer.

D. Use whole disk encryption on the USB drive.

Answer is D. The best solution is to use whole disk encryption on the USB drive.

The scenario indicates Bart is using file-level encryption (such as NTFS encryption) on the desktop computer, but the USB drive doesn’t support it, possibly because it’s formatted as a FAT32 drive.

The result is that the system decrypts the file before copying it to the USB drive.

Another solution is to convert the USB to NTFS.

Whole disk encryption on the desktop computer wouldn’t protect files copied to the USB drive.

See Chapter 5 of the CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-401 Study Guide for more information on protecting confidentiality with encryption.

Full Security+ Course

Full Security+ Course Now Available

Helping you Pass the First Time

Online access includes all of the content from the

CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-401 Study Guide

  • Introduction
  • About the exam (including types of questions and strategies for performance-based questions)
  • 100 question pre-assessment exam
  • Mastering Security Basics (full content from Chapter 1 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 20 practice test questions)
  • Exploring Control Types and Methods (full content from Chapter 2 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 20 practice test questions)
  • Understanding Basic Network Security (full content from Chapter 3 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 20 practice test questions)
  • Securing Your Network (full content from Chapter 4 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 20 practice test questions)
  • Securing Hosts and Data (full content from Chapter 5 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 20 practice test questions)
  • Understanding Malware and Social Engineering (full content from Chapter 6 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 20 practice test questions)
  • Identifying Advanced Attacks (full content from Chapter 7 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 20 practice test questions)
  • Managing Risk (full content from Chapter 8 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 20 practice test questions)
  • Preparing for Business Continuity (full content from Chapter 9 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 20 practice test questions)
  • Understanding Cryptography (full content from Chapter 10 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 20 practice test questions)
  • Exploring Operational Security (full content from Chapter 11 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 20 practice test questions)
  • 100 question post-assessment exam
  • Security+ Acronyms

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 Full Security+ Course Now Available


Test your readiness with these quality materials

Random 100-question tests

Random practice tests from the all of the practice test questions in the CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-401 Study Guide. All questions include explanations so you'll know why the correct answers are correct, and why the incorrect answers are incorrect.

34 Simulated Performance-based Questions

Eight sets of performance-based questions with multiple questions in each set. These questions help you understand and prepare for performance based questions.

22 Realistic Performance-based Questions

Two new sets of performance-based questions with a total of 22 questions. These new questions use a new testing engine that includes realistic drag and drop, matching, sorting, and fill in the blank questions.

Flashcard Set

  • 273 Security+ Flashcards to reinforce key testable concepts
  • 280 Security+ acronyms flashcards to help you master the required acronyms
  • 204 Security+ Remember This slides

Audio - SY0-401 Security+ Remember This Audio Files

Learn by Listening. Over one hour and 15 minutes of audio (MP3 downloads.)

Audio - SY0-401 Security+ Question and Answer Audio Files

Learn by Listening. Over three hours hour and 15 minutes of audio (MP3 downloads.)

Bonus #1

Audio from the end of chapter reviews from each of the chapters in the CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-401 Study Guide. Over one hour and 15 minutes of additional audio.

Bonus #2

Subnetting mini-tutorial that will help you answer two key question types:
  • Identify how many hosts a subnet supports
  • Identify valid IP addresses within a subnet

Bonus #3 

Access the study materials for a total of 60 days because sometimes life happens.

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