MacBook Encounters Encryption Issues

Jay Decenella, IT audit expert
October 18, 2011 /

Symantec has warned against encrypting the latest generation of MacBook Air Notebooks and Mac Mini Desktops after they were found to have a known issue with Symantec PGP Whole Disk Encryption.

Symantec Engineering has isolated this issue down to specifically the latest version of Mac Book Air notebooks 4.2 with the Intel Core i5 and i7 processors and the mid 2011 versions of the Mac mini desktops 5.1, 5.2, and 5.3 with the Intel Core i5 and i7 processors.

“We have successfully tested and verified that PGP Whole Disk Encryption 10.2MP1 works with all MacBook Air notebooks and Mac mini desktops and the Lion OS X operating system prior to the latest releases of these MacBook Air notebooks and Mac mini desktops,” Symantec said.

An easy way to distinguish the latest generation of Mac Book Air notebooks and Mac mini desktops are to look for the presence of a Thunderbolt port, the security firm noted.

Users are also advised to check Appleā€™s website to identify which generation of hardware they may have: MacBook Air and Mac mini.

If the system is the latest generation, encryption of MacBook Air or Mac mini at this point in time is discouraged by Symantec.

“If you have encrypted your latest generation Mac Book Air or Mac mini, then during reboot, the system will not boot. What we believe has happened is that the firmware in this latest version of MacBook Air notebooks and Mac mini desktops are causing a runtime compatibility issue,” it said.

Symantec added: “If you have already encrypted, the encrypted data is not lost. You can recover the data simply by decrypting the disk. This can be done by booting from a PGP recovery CD.”

Symantec Engineering is actively working on this issue and expects to have a solution soon.


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