Thursday, November 3, 2011

5 Free Ways to Encrypt Your Files on the Go

In our world, where information is constantly being plugged into one device after another and frequently changes hands, many people don’t realize how vital it can be to safeguard their digital information from sniffers and malware – destructive programs which can steal sensitive information. Here are 5 free software encryption tools for your on-the-go use.
1. How To Encrypt Your Files On The Cloud, e.g. Dropbox

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It may be all smooth and easy going encrypting files on your own hard drives, but what about files on the cloud? As we become increasingly dependent on the cloud for storage, we also become more and more wary of the fact that all our personal, and potentially important files, are floating on some foreign server, exposed to the vulnerabilities of that server.

So if you have files on Dropbox, for instance, what’s a person to do? Thankfully, there’s BoxCryptor, a great free program which allows you to encrypt files even on cloud servers. The free version works great with the standard AES-256 encryption, but does not allow commercial usage and is only limited to encryption of files up to 2 GB. Still, that’s plenty enough for most of us, and is an excellent solution towards solving file encryption on the cloud.
2. What To Do If You Want to Encrypt Entire Hard Drives

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The issue: Enabling encryption on one machine disables it from being read on another unless they both have the same encryption software installed; which is sometimes not practical when you have to constantly switch between PCs in an environment, such as a school setting.

Enter TruCrypt, a truly real-time encryption program which encrypts data as it is being written onto the file partition (e.g. folders), and decrypts it in real-time as it is being removed. Impressive feature aside, this gives you the peace of mind that you won’t ever find yourself stuck with an inaccessible file simply because you were trying to be careful.

TruCrypt also allows you to encrypt entire hard drives, which can be useful if you run your own company, and has a hundred and one other fancy uses such as enabling hardware acceleration during encrypting on modern processors. It is by far the most highly recommended free encryption software on the Internet, customizable for nearly all but the most specific uses.
3. How to Encrypt Your Entire USB Flash Drive Without Installing Anything

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PenProtect doesn’t give you any excuse to not use file encryption while transferring files. There’s absolutely no hassle in using it – all you have to do is copy the downloaded file to the home folder of your USB drive – no installation required! It really doesn’t get any simpler than this, and it provides full 256-bit key AES encryption to your entire USB flash drive, hiding files from being interpreted by the host computer.
4. How To Plug In Your USB Drive With Peace Of Mind at Internet Cafés

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By now, we should all already have recognized how dangerous it can be to plug in your flash drive into a port of a computer at a cyber café. Since you never know what the computer has been uploaded with, the potential for your information being compromised is mind boggling; there could be key-loggers to trace your passwords, malware to read your Word files, trojans to sneak onto your device… the list goes on and on…

Add to this the fact that most of the time, you don’t get administrator privileges in a computer at such places, disabling the option to install a “safe” encryption program on-the-spot. So what can you do? Well, there’s a solution with FreeOTFE Explorer, an encryption software which not only does not require installation, but works even on PCs where administrator privileges have been disabled! It works by creating a “virtual disk” on the computer in question, where everything that is written to that “disk” is encrypted securely before being stored.
5. How To Enable File Encryption using Tools Already Within Reach

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Some people just don’t like having an extra program hanging around on their computer, especially something like encryption which isn’t visible enough to warrant having to stare at its icon every time you access My Computer. Well, did you know that you probably already have a fully sufficient encryption program sitting on your desktop?

7-Zip, the great file compressor, is also a decent file encryptor. Providing only AES-256, it’s really solid. Whether it’s sending work documents over email, or personal items to your loved ones, if you really don’t want to deal with the hassle of an extra program, 7-Zip may just be the perfect file encryptor for you.

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