Information Services Division


Hard Drive Encryption using BitLocker

All staff Desktop @ UCL hard drives (laptops and desktops) are encrypted using BitLocker Drive Encryption technology.

What is hard drive encryption?

BitLocker is a data protection feature which protects a disk from being read if it is stolen, lost or inappropriately decommissioned. Data on a lost or stolen computer is vulnerable to unauthorised access, either by running a software-attack tool against it or by transferring the computer's hard disk to a different computer. BitLocker helps mitigate unauthorised data access by enhancing file and system protections. BitLocker also helps render data inaccessible when BitLocker-protected computers are decommissioned or recycled.

More technical detail (including information on suspending BitLocker and recovery key).

How can I encrypt my Desktop @ UCL machine?

All active Desktop @ UCL machines are encrypted and any new machine is automatically encrypted during the build process.

How can I tell that my machines is encrypted?

We constantly monitor our central administration systems to ensure all machines are encrypted, but you can also check yourself. In My Computer, your C: Drive should show a padlock symbol as in the image below:

Example screenshot of an encrypted drive…

If you don't see the padlock symbol on your C: drive, contact the ISD IT Services.

So, I'm totally protected?

Following encryption, the data on your machine will be protected from unauthorised access. It is very important to understand that it is ONLY the primary hard drive on your specific UCL machine that is protected.

  • If you copy data to a USB drive it will be held in unencrypted form.
  • If you attach files to an e-mail, these file will be transmitted in unencrypted form.
  • Encryption only applies to the specific UCL machine that you use. Do not assume that protection extends to any other UCL computer, or any computer you use outside of UCL.