Forum Question: How Can I Help Make My Time Machine Back-up More Secure?

From what I see online, I fear that my Time Machine back-ups are not secure. If stolen, the “bad people” would have access to everything on my Mac.
Is there a simple way to help make the Time Machine back-ups secure while continuing to serve as a back-up medium? I have FileVault off because this slowed down Macs in the past. Do you recommend turning on FileVault and would this also correct my insecure Time Machine issue?
I am using a 13-inch mid-2010 MacBook running OS 10.8.2.
Thanks for your help.
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Steven Padgett

Comments: 4 Responses to “How Can I Help Make My Time Machine Back-up More Secure?”

    12/11/12 @ 10:59 am

    All you need to do is to set your Time Machine backups to be encrypted. This is exactly what the encryption option is for. When you select a new TM backup drive you simply check that box. Then anyone who gets a hold of your backup drive is unable to read the data without the key.
    If you are already using a TM backup, then simply start a new one, but with encryption turned on.
    FileVault is also a good option if you are concerned about security. It sounds like you are, so FileVault is for you. It is much faster now as it works with modern Mac hardware for quicker file access. Whether you notice any speed difference at all depends on how you use your Mac (web surfing vs. video production, for instance).

      Steven Padgett
      12/12/12 @ 10:20 am

      Thanks for the info. This is exactly what I needed to know.

    Joseph Allen
    12/12/12 @ 3:31 am

    Gary wrote: “If you are already using a TM backup, then simply start a new one, but with encryption turned on.”

    I want to start encrypting my TM backups, but I do NOT want to lose my 2-years worth of un-encrypted files already stored by TM. Does “start a new TM” mean I am kissing 2-years worth of un-encrypted data … good-bye … ???

      12/12/12 @ 7:45 am

      Yes. Your current backup is not encrypted. Starting a new encrypted one on the same drive will erase it and start fresh.
      You should never use a Time Machine backup as an “archive” like that. You have no guarantee that any copy of any file is there beyond the most recent. Time Machine uses extra space to store older versions of files, but only as space allows. You probably don’t have 2 years worth of data. You probably have a few months or weeks for some files, depends on space.
      If it is important to you to have an old version of an old file, you should specifically save that to an archive of some sort, or just keep versions of it in a subfolder or something. Time Machine is not an archiving tool, it is a backup tool.

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