Thursday, February 23, 2012

DataLocker, File Encryption For Windows, Mac, iOS

With cloud hosting taking over much of what we are hosting locally right now in the next ten years or so, it becomes important to protect your remotely saved data from unauthorized access. Some cloud hosting providers encrypt the data automatically, but that is still no guarantee that your data is safe. The algorithm used might be flawed, or the company might retain the right to decrypt your data at any time. This can for instance happen when authorities ask them to do that.

The only solution to this problem is to encrypt your data on your own before you shove it into the cloud. We reviewed BoxCryptor before which added an encrypted layer around your data before it was transferred to Dropbox.
DataLocker provides a similar service. The program is available for Windows and Mac operating system, as well as mobile systems running Apple's iOS system (iPad and iPhone currently only).
You need to request the software on the developer site by filling out a form there. The download link will be in the email that you receive after filling out the form.
When you install the program you see a basic interface where all of the encrypting and decrypting takes place.
The program will save the encrypted files by default in the same directory the source file is stored in. This is great if you want to secure your local files. If you want to move them to the cloud, you need to manually move them into the right directory or copy them over. Doing that is not overly comfortable though, especially since you can only encrypt files and not folders and all of the files stored inside.
To encrypt files, drag and drop them into the program interface, select a password and change the destination directory if you want. Encrypted files are saved with an ALK extension on the system.
Decrypting works in the same way, only that you need to drag and drop the encrypted files into the program interface instead.
DataLocker is a simple program. It could use a few settings that would make it more usable, like the ability to encrypt folders or better automation to move encrypted files directly into the Dropbox folder.
The Windows version of the program supports both 32-bit and 64-bit editions of the operating system. It requires the Microsoft .NET Framework 4.0 to be installed on the system. (via Caschy )
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Five Best File Encryption Tools

File encryption is your best bet if you want to keep The Man, foreign spies, or your annoying roommates out of your files. Here's a look at five of the most popular encryption tools Lifehacker readers use to lock down their files.

GNU Privacy Guard (Windows/Mac/Linux, Free)

Five Best File Encryption Tools
GNU Privacy Guard (GnuPG) is an open-source implementation of the famed Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) encryption tool—you can read the very interesting history of PGPand how GnuPG came to be here. GnuPG is a volume and individual file encryption tool with support for a dozen encryption schemes, paired keys, and expiring signatures. GnuPG doesn't only provide rock-solid local file encryption; it is, thanks to paired encryption and public key servers, a great tool for encrypted communication. Please note, regular old GnuPG is a command line tool. Check out the list of graphical wrappers and application plug-ins for various operating systems here. The screenshot above is from Cryptophane, a graphical Windows interface for GnuPG.

Disk Utility (Mac, Free)

Five Best File Encryption Tools
Disk Utility is a diverse tool that handles almost any disk-related tasks you'd need on OS X. The utility is capable of creating secure disk images and file volumes encrypted with AES 128-bit or 256-bit encryption. Like most native Mac utilities and applications, Disk Utility and the accompanying encryption blends seamlessly into the OS X experience and makes mounting and unmounting encrypted volumes a breeze. If you've never created an encrypted disk using Disk Utility before, take a look at our previous guide.

TrueCrypt (Windows/Mac/Linux, Free)

Five Best File Encryption Tools
TrueCrypt is a free, powerful, and on-the-fly disk encryption tool. With TrueCrypt, you can create secure encrypted virtual disks or even encrypt entire drives. TrueCrypt is an on-the-fly encryption tool, meaning files are decrypted as you access them and modify them and then encrypted when not in use. Thanks to various optimization tricks and full utilization of the power of modern processors, working within a TrueCrypt volume feels no different than working on a regular unsecured disk. TrueCrypt not only offers strong and transparent encryption—it also offers the ability to create hidden volumes within encrypted volumes for even more secure (and obscured) file protection.

7-zip (Windows, Free)

Five Best File Encryption Tools
Compared to some of the heavyweights in this Hive Five (like GnuPG and TrueCrypt), it might be easy to dismiss the popular file compression tool 7-zip as a lightweight. 7-zip fills a perfect niche for many people, however, by offering simple ZIP container-based encryption. If you're not interested in encrypting a ton of files or maintaining an entire encrypted volume, but you still want to make sure important documents like tax returns or other Social Security bearing documents are locked up tight, 7-zip sports strong AES-256 encryption. Create a new compressed archive, throw your files in it, and slap a password on. Your files are strongly encrypted and stored right alongside your regular documents.

AxCrypt (Windows, Free)

Five Best File Encryption Tools
AxCrypt is a free encryption tool for Windows. Once installed it integrates with the Windows shell and offers simple right-click encryption and decryption of files with AES-256 encryption. Your entire interaction with AxCrypt can take place exclusively from the right-click context menu. In addition to integrating with Windows and offering easy encryption and decryption, you can also use the tool to create self-extracting archives to securely transport files or transfer them to a friend—no AxCrypt installation necessary at the other end.

Related Articles:
Blowfish Advanced File Encryption and Security Tool
Avoiding EFS Encryption Disasters in Windows
Text Encryption Made Easy With Scrambled Egg
Encrypt Instant Messaging with Pidgin Encryption
BoxCryptor, Dropbox Realtime Encryption 

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