Encrypt all that you have:
We’ve seen in many cases how users have considered encryption as an option not so effective and too hard to implement. However, the reality is different as you must use encryption wherever you can in order to stay protected. For example, the sites you usually visit vary in terms of security as not all of them are protected with HTTPS. Hence, note that if a website isn’t using a secure HTTP address, try not using or accessing that site. Chrome now highlights a warning marker in the address and Google is giving HTTPS links precedence in search results over plain, unsecured HTTP links. But if your data is encrypted, you can surf all such types of sites without hesitation as your data (if encrypted) won’t be visible to the prying eyes. Know that encryption software are widely available and only relying on the browser’s security isn’t really an option.
File encryption, whole-disk encryption and more.
Whole-disk encryption is an effective method or line of defense for a device however, it does not help you when you need to share the data that is encrypted.
A VPN can also be used to encrypt your own internet traffic. From PC to company’s server of the VPN, all your data would stay encrypted. However, unless you are connected to a protected HTTPS website, the traffic isn’t encrypted between the VPN server and the site. This option (VPN) is a great way to secure your internet traffic while travelling but it isn’t a solution for encrypting local files.
No loose ends:
There was a time when FBI needed information from Apple on a shooter’s case and information was needed from back door to get past the encryption. However, such an option wasn’t available as apple refused to create one. Hence, FBI was left with no option but to hire hackers to get the relevant needed information.
Apple didn’t helped as if it had created something like ‘back door’ the intruders or hackers would have a sweet spot to hack and target all the information easily. Sooner or later, this door would be breached which is highly expected to happen in the not-so-distant-future. Hence, not keeping a back door makes you feel safe knowing your data isn’t being hacked but know that don’t forget your encryption password as if you do, you might’ve lost it forever as it might not be recoverable.
The basic approaches:
Not long ago, ciphers were used to keep a document safe as it encrypted and burned the original file or you could simply lock it up in a safe.
One type of product only processes folders/files making them an impenetrable encrypted versions of themselves. The other makes a form of virtual disk or drive which when open acts like any drive on your PC or system. Whenever you lock a virtual drive, the same files become inaccessible completely.
Some products store your encrypted data in the cloud (similar to your virtual drive solution). This however, requires extreme care as encrypted data in the cloud has a larger attack surface than the data encrypted on your own PC.
Which one should you opt for? It basically depends upon how you plan to use encryption. If you are not aware of which option is the best, try the 30- day trial to get more information.
Protect the originals:
Once you have copied file into a secure storage, or created an encrypted version of it, you must never forget to wipe the unencrypted original. Simply deleting it isn’t an option or sufficient even if you bypass the Recycle bin as the data still exists on the disk. Any tech savvy user with the help of a few tools can easily recover the data without your consent or behind your back.
However, this can avoided by encrypting the files in the first place and literally overwriting it on disk with an encrypted version.
The process of overwriting data before deletion is enough to balk software-based recovery instruments or tools. In simple words, the process comprises of nulling out the known data and reading around the edges of what’s left. However, if you are afraid that someone might use this option to recover your incriminating files, you can set your secure deletion tool to make more passes or overwriting the entire data beyond what even these methods can recover.
To help you understand easily, know that encryption algorithm is like a black box. Put all your data into it like image or file and get back what seems like gibberish. Use the same password to turn the gibberish back into the readable original form.
AES standards have seen implemented by the US government which stands for advanced encryption algorithm. Even those who support other available algorithms tend to recommend users to use AES as it is so far, unbreakable.
If you even have a bit of information, you would know the other available types like blowfish or the GOST but the average not-so-tech-savvy user should stick to AES only as it is easy, safe and dependable.
Public key cryptography and sharing:
The best thing you could do with a password is keep it safe or else it would lose its nature of importance. Hence, passwords are important but maintaining their confidentiality isn’t important while using public key infrastructure cryptography.
With the help of PKI, you get two keys. One is public key which as expected can be shared with anyone. The other one is the private key which obviously needs to be protected by all means necessary. If someone wants to send a private document, they could do so by encrypting it with your public key. Hence, when you receive it, you decrypt it using your private key.
In reverse, you can create digital signature that shows your document isn’t modified. No need to question how it happens as the fact your public key decrypts it is all the proof you require. The PKI support isn’t much famous as compared to support for traditional symmetric algorithms.
If in case you want to transfer a file to someone and your tool of encryption doesn’t support PKI, you can use other options for sharing. Many products let you create a self-decrypting executable file but you can also find the recipient using a free tool (decryption-only).
What options do you have for Encryption?
Folder Lock from newsoftwares that costs around $40 and does enough to keep you safe. Its well-known features are password protection and encryption where the latter option has more importance than the former one. What’s more? This software has encrypted cloud storage and can also make encrypted save locations where you can make files and folders well-secured quickly.
Overall, it offers a wide variety of features that makes it a dependable security software to use. It further includes features like file shredding, USB security and more. In addition, this is a onetime investment software that does not have weekly, monthly, or annual subscriptions.
It also has a Wallet feature that lets you store credit card information, protection for e-mails, and cloud security as well.
An inexpensive yet effective piece of software that securely encrypts data and compresses files while encrypting them.
You can create self-extracting files including RAR, Zip and Exe using Secure IT. But know that they are less sensitive as you’re keeping all the available information in a single space/area. It uses AES 256- bit encryption, you can have a complete peace of mind knowing you are safe from all ends.
It also offers file shredding option where you can get rid of all those files you no longer need. Furthermore, it is compatible to work with all versions of Windows. But it lacks the features such as password generator, password recovery tool, virtual keyboard etc.
AxCrypt is another important name that uses AES 256-bit-encryption. It also has a master password and has an option for sharing encrypted files with others you trust. It makes encryption simple for you or any user and also offers public key cryptography for safe sharing of encrypted files.
This software is quite affordable and charge you only $3.50 per month but is a regular investment software unlike Folder Lock, which is a one-time investment.
Why trust our research?
We’ve been reviewing and testing the latest technological trends for the last eight years and are ranging to almost a decade. While reviewing encryption software, we consult with experts in the industry to get all the insights on which software has the potential to serve you the best and which do not. Hence, this enables us to help you in saving your time, effort and money by investing in the right option.
Important points to note while buying encryption software:
Regardless of how solid the encryption of your software is, if it isn’t user-friendly enough, it is a good as being useless. Our research work showed that Folder Lock and AxCrypt had interfaces quite smooth and were easy to use by all ages. They had given us proper guidance on how to encrypt or decrypt the software without much effort.
These encryption software use different methods/types of ciphers to scramble the data and each of them has its own benefit. AES standard (advanced encryption algorithm) has been implemented by the U.S government and is considered one of the strongest ciphers. The previous versions of encryption are Blowfish and Twofish which were ruling the world in their prime times but not anymore as AES has replaced them both.
When is a free program usable?
It all depends upon the nature of your files that you want to protect. If you have data or files that are confidential in nature, than a free software is not an option for you and you need to invest in a paid one. However, if you have data or files that aren’t confidential in nature, you can use a free encryption program. For this, we can recommend you to use Windows’ built-in encryption solution Bitlocker which is a program that lets you protect files only. Hence, your files get shaded with security but it does not offer any other option or feature like file shredder, password strength meter etc. hence, it is free for a reason and nobody could complain against that.