Serious Discussion 'Data that is not sensitive, should not be encrypted'?

Digmor Crusher

Level 24
Top Poster
Jan 27, 2018
I always assume that any software program will/can malfunction at any given time, that nothing works perfectly 100% of the time. So instead of encrypting everything, I would just encrypt sensitive data so that in the case of the encryption program borking or you forget your password, you do not lose everything. I've seen too many horror stories where people encrypt their whole computer and then for whatever reason they cannot get back in and lose everything. ( Of course a backup mitigates this). Personally I don't encrypt anything, if I used a laptop most of the time ( I don't) and travelled a lot, then and only then, would I consider it.


Level 2
Nov 11, 2022
It depends on what you consider sensitive and your threat model. If for example an adversary has the capability to confiscate your computer it might make sense not to have the whole thing encrypted. If you properly hide the encrypted files, using something like a hidden container through Veracrypt, having the non sensitive data unencrypted may give you some plausible deniability. However this adds to the complexity of the setup, which may result in you keeping some sensitive data unencrypted for convenience. Full disk encryption means everything is encrypted by default, which is easier to manage since you don’t have the additional overhead in the process of encrypting / unencrypting files.

It is possible to lock yourself out of your data when it is encrypted. Either due to software bugs or personal incompetence. This is why backups are a must have if you’re going to encrypt your data. Preferably the backups would be encrypted themselves with a unique password. If you have an encrypted system, and you don’t have encrypted backups, then your backups represent a risk that basically nullifies the protection you get from encryption.

So in short, it depends on who you’re protecting yourself against and what you’re storing. Everyone has sensitive information of some kind. I usually recommend to the average person to use full disk encryption either through Bitlocker or LUCKS.
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Level 1
Jan 27, 2023
I might be the only one mixed about this. As @Stenographers said, it depends on your threat model or how paranoid you are. Nowadays, computers (Microsoft) have built-in telemetry on their OS. While Microsoft claims they gather data from programs you use for personalization or bug reports, there is no guarantee that the content of non-sensitive files would leak and sent out as well. Depending on what the content of the non-sensitive file contains (can) be used for advertisement or something else. We don't know until it happens to us

ForgottenSeer 103564

Is this a statement you agree or disagree with: 'Data that is not sensitive, should not be encrypted'

Do you think non-sensitive data should remain unencrypted, ie. Shopping list?
Well how else will others build a thorough profile of you 🤔

All joking aside, any personal information is not non-sensitive. It is all very revealing as I just joked.

Dark Knight

Level 5
Aug 17, 2013
Everything I store in the cloud is encrypted, I don't care if it is a to do list

Locally , Most non sensitive stuff as long as it doesn't contain personal information I will leave unencrypted, everything else gets encrypted , passworded (no less than 56 characters), the password gets saved to a thumb drive that goes in a fireproof box, then the file gets hidden..... Good luck brute forcing that, maybe by the year 1002023, and by then .... who cares?


Level 23
Content Creator
Jan 29, 2017
Not only the content, but the storage location matters. When I post my grocery list on a sticky pad affixed to my refrigerator, I do not use encryption.
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ForgottenSeer 100397

Not only the content, but the storage location matters. When I post my grocery list on a sticky pad affixed to my refrigerator, I do not use encryption.
I write that list in pig latin post it to the fridge and watch others try to decipher it, quite amusing ;)
Talk about showing off their high-tech security fridge; they probably have lasers guarding their fridge full of leftovers! :D

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