Service Applies To: 

What is Encryption?

Encryption is the process of encoding information (or messages) in such a way that eavesdroppers or hackers cannot read it, but authorized parties can. An encryption algorithm 'encrypts' the information and converts it into an unreadable ciphertext. This is usually done with an encryption key, which specifies how the information is encoded. Using a decryption key, the authorized party is able to decode the ciphertext using a decryption algorithm. In an encryption scheme, these keys are produced randomly by a key generation algorithm.

How does encryption protect me?

The data on your device (computer hard drive, USB key, external drive, phone, tablet) gets scrambled and can only be read when accessed using a correct UTORid/device password, or the encryption key. In the event of device theft, an unauthorized individual is unable to view, open, or copy any files on the device without the correct password or the encryption key.

What needs to be encrypted?

Any device that contains personally identifiable information, financial information and data associated with access control (where you need a password for access). I&ITS recommends performing full device encryption, instead of select folders and files.

For further information, see Information Security Policies and Resources.

How do I know if I am encrypted?

Encryption is something that has to be enabled by the user or administrator. Different devices have their own procedure for checking the status of encryption. For example:

Note for Apple Users:

  • Encryption of BootCamp Windows 10 Operating System on Macintosh hardware is not possible. 
  • The only supported way is to use encrypted OSX operating system with a Windows 7 Virtual Machine. Contact I&ITS for more information.

Windows 10 PC


  • Different drive icon in “Computer” view.
  • USB Key 1 is encrypted, USB Key 2 is not.


  • Right-click on a drive, select “Get Info”
  • Encrypted drives would have “Encrypted” under “Format”

Icons of an encrypted and non encrypted USB key.

Info window of an encrypted Macintosh USB key.



If you are unsure whether your device is encrypted, contact I&ITS by submitting a trouble ticket at http://uoft.service-now.com/utm/ and we can assist in checking the status of encryption on that device.


Encryption at UTM

Here at UTM, we offer staff and faculty an encryption solution that will encrypt the data and information on your computer or device. Full disk encryption is widely regarded as the best practice for ensuring the confidentiality of data because it protects every file and every bit of information on your hard drive.

How do I request for encryption?

Submit a trouble ticket requesting encryption at http://uoft.service-now.com/utm/

How can I encrypt my USB Key or USB Hard Drive?

How will the encryption affect device performance?

The effect on performance depends on the application used. For the most part, you will not notice any difference.