PGP Desktop - what are your thoughts?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Jethryn Freyman, Apr 9, 2009.

  1. Jethryn Freyman macrumors 68020

    Jethryn Freyman

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2007
    Location:
    Australia
    #1
    I've recently picked up a trial copy of PGP Desktop 9. I'm thinking about using the full disk encryption on my entire hard disk. I've already tried it out on a few USB disks and it's worked very well, and very seamless.

    If anybody else has used PGP on OS X, how has it worked out for you?
     
  2. MAC-PRO-DEMON macrumors 6502a

    MAC-PRO-DEMON

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2008
    Location:
    Up north in Yorkshire :)
    #2
    I don't really need to do a full disk encryption... but... you can use leopards built in "FileVault" to encrypt your home folder....

    It is under system preferences/ security/ filevault....

    I don't know how secure it is... but unless you work for the government...

    The only thing I have encrypted is an External HD for carrying Scans... this was done with TrueCrypt... as it runs on Win and Mac...
     

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  3. Jethryn Freyman thread starter macrumors 68020

    Jethryn Freyman

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2007
    Location:
    Australia
    #3
    I'm running Filevault at the moment, but it only encrypts the home folder, there are other important files which are left unencrypted (e.g. /usr and /private). I've been using Truecrypt too, but it can't do full disk encryption under OS X.

    Thanks anyway :)
     
  4. sparkz macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2009
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #4
    I am surprised no one else has responded to your enquiry, it is nice to know that you are aware of the limitations of FileVault.

    I have been running the trial version of PGP Desktop Professional version 9.9 for the last 29 days and it is about to expire.

    Here are my thoughts and experiences using it. My hardware is a Mac Book Pro 2.6GHz (late 2008) with 4GB ram with a 200GB 7200rpm drive and running Mac OS X 10.5.6.

    Installation of PGP was a breeze, I encrypted the entire internal hard drive using WDE.

    Although some people have commented on other forums that they notice a drop in performance accessing the hard drive when Whole Disk encryption (WDE) is installed. Personally I have not noticed any major difference, theoretically there would be a slight difference, but it has not affected my normal work when using it. I know which option I would prefer security vs. speed.

    Even version 9.10 (which was released recently) will not support a Boot Camp dual boot loader. If you have installed Boot Camp previously but no longer use it, it is recommended that you get the Boot Camp Assistant to uninstall any boot loader before installing WDE.

    I did have some trouble with Time machine at one stage, where it would not continue to back up to my Time Capsule. I excluded the “PGPWDE01” file located in the root directory of my internal drive in the Time Capsule settings and set Time Machine to back up again and all was fine. Remember an encrypted drive will backed up using Time Machine to a Time Capsule in an unencrypted state, if you are backing up to an external drive (and not a TC) your backup I believe (not tested) should be encrypted.

    I am still trying to get my head around the using PGP email. The Plug-in for Apple’s Mail application had to be installed manually, which I thought was a bit naff, I had expected the installer to automatically install this. The installation is documented on their web site.

    I have used WDE successfully with Apple’s “Standard “and “Administrators” accounts and even with File Vault accounts with no real problems encountered.

    If you decide to purchase a PGP solution, check the licence situation. The difference between a subscription and a perpetual licence.
    You will find some of the Mac based documentation hidden away on their web site but a useful place to look for other peoples comments would be their forums.

    The PGP’s forums are http://forum.pgp.com/pgp/
    Is it worth the money you ask? Well if you want full disk encryption (FDE), I do not believe we have much of a wide choice of software companies to choose from, that are prepared to sell you a commercial version of FDE encryption to a domestic user as compared to the wider choice of free/shareware/commercial software solutions that Windows users have. I would recommend WDE for any laptop user worried about their data, but I am still undecided on purchasing the full blown Desktop Professional package (purely on the price). But then again what price is your data worth to some one else?

    I hope this is of some help? I would be interested from others their thoughts and pointers to any other products that offer FDE/WDE.
     
  5. angelwatt Moderator emeritus

    angelwatt

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    USA
    #5
    Thanks sparkz for the input. I've been looking at this stuff myself. I use FDE at work on Windows machines, but there's a lack of options for Mac. FileVault is OK, but limited. I like TrueCrypt and hope they get FDE working in a near future release. I was just happy they made a Mac version finally.
     
  6. sparkz macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2009
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #6
    Thanks Angelwatt.

    I would be very surprised if the Truecrypt guys would come up with a FDE / WDE solution for the Mac soon. If what I have read recently they seemed to be been very slow in getting the Truecrypt application out at all. I think the osxcrypt guys may have jogged them on a bit in to developing something sooner.
    http://www.osxcrypt.org/

    Checkpoint also seem to provide a Full Disk Encryption solution. http://www.checkpoint.com/products/datasecurity/pc/index.html

    I am also starting to look at what WinMagic may offer too. http://www.winmagic.com/products/securedoc_disk_encryption_for_mac

    I think the following article can best describe what the main problem may be in getting code written for an FDE app for the Mac. http://krypted.com/?p=3169

    Dont get me wrong as yet I can not fault PGP WDE at present.
     
  7. jc1350 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2008
    #7
    I use PGP Destkop mainly for WDE (and love it). I think it's much better than FileVault, mainly because EVERYTHING is encrypted, not just the particular home folders, and you don't get that annoying and sometimes very slow compression/optimization process when you log-out/shut-down.

    I toy with the other things (PGP Zip files), but I'm very disappointed in the email options. While it supports Entourage 2008, it does NOT support Exchange connections (that is done with WebDAV since MS refuses to write a MAPI client for Mac). So, unless your Exchange admins have enabled IMAP support, it's useless for corporate environments where it would most likely be needed. Plus, encrypted email only works if both parties use the same type of encryption. For this I prefer Freemail Digital Certificates from Thawte (almost no limitation on the email client/server programs).

    Overall, it was worth the $99US (or was it $149? I don't remember) for the WDE (I have a Macbook with sensitive files) and I don't like the way FileVault works. For desktop use it's overkill/overpriced and you probably don't need WDE with a desktop system.

    Added info: They seem to have removed the annual subscription price ($99 or $149 -whatever it was- for PGP Desktop Professional) and now only offer the $239 perpetual license. I wouldn't pay that unless I could expense it. That's just too much money.
     
  8. Jethryn Freyman thread starter macrumors 68020

    Jethryn Freyman

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2007
    Location:
    Australia
    #8
    Thanks for all that advice, everyone.

    If Time Machine can't backup the encrypted data, I'll probably use SuperDuper backing up to an encrypted disk image.

    PGP definitely seems like the best option for OS X, so I'll probably go ahead with installing it in the near future.

    Thank you again :)
     

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