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Participate in beta test?

This is a discussion on Participate in beta test? within the General Computer Security forums, part of the Tech Support Forum category. I have been a longtime user of Acronis True Image for data backup, disk imaging and disk cloning. It also


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Old 06-29-2020, 02:05 PM   #1
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I have been a longtime user of Acronis True Image for data backup, disk imaging and disk cloning. It also have an optional feature "Active Protection" which is specifically for ransomware and is said to not conflict with other antimalware software. I have this turned on. Recently, when I pushed a wrong button and reset my computer, the disk image restore saved my rear end.

They have asked me to participate in a beta test for Acronis Cyber Protect, which looks like it will combine backup and enhanced encryption in all locations, including cloud-based backup. I've attached a description.

I'm not an IT specialist but I have a lot of experience with troubleshooting, for some reason. This software doesn't look like it poses a risk to the whole computer. I might learn a lot more about encryption in general. Any comments on risk would be appreciated.
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Old 06-29-2020, 02:23 PM   #2
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Sounds safe and appears to lead to legit Acronis site. Acronis is known for integrity.
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Old 06-29-2020, 10:02 PM   #3
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Beta software is unstable. If it weren't unstable, there wouldn't be any reason for beta testing. How severe the bugs are will vary from time to time. If you've solely been using Acronis to backup your system and data, you should have a second backup solution for every backup that you make using the beta product, even if Acronis "guarantees" that the backups created by the beta product are compatible with the stable release product. You should definitely read and understand the terms of engagement in such a program and understand the general implications of participating.
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Old 06-30-2020, 07:14 AM   #4
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Nothing against Acronis or its maker, but they're no better than any others in the overselling of encryption.

The craze, and that's what it is, for encrypting everything is insane. If something is highly sensitive, and warrants it, then, by all means, do it. But thought about what actually requires encryption is way more important than just encrypting everything.

There are plenty of examples out there of disasters secondary to all sorts of issues with encryption that have made backups useless, for all practical intents and purposes.

If, for instance, you are only doing your backups to external USB HDDs over which you have physical possession, and aren't putting them somewhere that they are easily accessed between uses, encryption is overkill.

Physical security, that is having actual "lock and key" control over hardware, is the first and most important line of defense, particularly for hardware that is not connected to cyberspace. If you've got that, your security and safety is almost certainly assured from the get go.
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Old 06-30-2020, 09:14 AM   #5
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As britechguy says, Encryption just adds an extra layer of complexity to a process that is already complex enough.

It's just another thing that can go wrong, and if it does then it's almost always a deal breaker.

Most other processes are recoverable if they go wrong, but if you lose a decryption key, or even just part of it, then your data is irrecoverable. Let's face it, encryption wouldn't be any good if that wasn't the case.
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Old 06-30-2020, 09:32 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary R View Post
Most other processes are recoverable if they go wrong, but if you lose a decryption key, or even just part of it, then your data is irrecoverable. Let's face it, encryption wouldn't be any good if that wasn't the case.
And between people being about as good at keeping and remembering encryption keys as they are passwords, coupled with software failures, which have happened, you should think very, very, very, very long and hard and carefully before you jump on the encryption bandwagon.
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Old 07-01-2020, 11:21 AM   #7
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All of your comments were very helpful. Thanks.

I remembered t a prior experience. I worked for a major financial institution for a few years. Everyone in my office worked off of a docked-lapto with token password access. Sometimes, when they updated the encryption software for hard drive, it would freeze. IT support was subcontracted to an offsite service who would have to take the device to their shop to fix. That created a living hell for a few days.

My important files are backed up both locally and in the cloud. I work at home in a newish apartment building with fob-access elevators. Encryption would seem overkill for the on-site backup. I have to check if my cloud backup is encrypted. I'm guessing if it is, recovery would take longer.

I think I'll pass.
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Old 07-01-2020, 11:29 AM   #8
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Something that also doesn't get considered often enough in terms of security, and deciding what's necessary, is how tempting a target are you (any you)?

Thieves do not spend tons of time targeting those where the likelihood of payoff is abysmally low. That covers most home users, at home.

The only thing that's encrypted in my world is my password safe file which I do store on the cloud and which also has a local copy available in case of lack of connectivity.

I do not keep many sensitive documents of any sort, beyond copies of my tax returns, and the probability of a nefarious actor hacking in to my computer and siphoning everything is close to zero, as is the probability of them rooting around looking for something useful.

Most identity theft occurs either via social engineering or hacking into the databases of major organizations. It's not a "drive by" sort of activity.

You protect data based upon its sensitivity. One of my favorite quotations in this regard, and from someone who should know:

In the computer security field, we often say that one doesn't need Fort Knox to safeguard a broken bicycle.
~ Glenn Glazer, M.S. 07 UCLA Security & Cryptography,
April 25, 2019, in Message on Groups.io Beta Group
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