Sadly, our data is never truly safe from unwanted eyes. There’s always a risk that your data could fall into the wrong hands. When that data is sensitive it becomes a huge issue to make sure you’re protecting it properly.
One method of protection is to encrypt your data. Encryption essentially locks your data behind a key – the strength of that key depends on the level of encryption you use. The more complicated the algorithm behind the encryption, the harder it is to crack open the file and see what’s inside without the key.
We’re going to run down some of the top encryption tools that you can get your hands on and get securing your data.
TrueCrypt was one of the most popular encryption programs, but development recently ended due to issues that were raised during a security audit. VeraCrypt is the successor to that program and claims to have fixed the issues that were raised. The new tool is in constant development, with security updates always being pushed out. It offers AES, TwoFish and Serpent encryption methods and supports the ability to create hidden and encrypted volumes within other volumes.
VeraCrypt is great because it encrypts on-the-fly. This means that it will only decrypt your data when you need access to it; otherwise everything is encrypted at rest. It’s a fairly simple tool to use and it gets the job done efficiently. It’s available for free and on Windows, OS X and Linux. For those missing TrueCrypt, this is a suitable alternative to go for.
This is actually an encryption tool that comes with Windows Vista, Windows 7 (Ultimate and Enterprise), Windows 8 (Pro and Enterprise) and Windows Server (2008 and after). It offers support for AES 128 and 256-bit encryption. It’s usually used for encrypting whole disks, but it can encrypt volumes or virtual drives too. Various authentication methods are supported including passwords, PINs, USB keys and Trusted Platform Module.
7-Zip is primarily a file compressor and archiver, but it also has the ability to encrypt your files using AES 256-bit methods. It can not only handle individual data, but also entire volumes. It’s not really the most suitable for encrypting whole disks, but it’s great for creating portable and secure files. You can even encrypt data, transfer it and it will self-decrypt when it reaches its recipient.
The user interface may not be the best and it may not be the fastest tool around, but 7-Zip is free for Windows and it does the job in a simple and efficient manner.
GNU Privacy Guard
GnuPG is an open-source encryption program, which makes it receive praise because it means there can be no hidden backdoors. You can install it command line if you like, but there are many graphic interfaces that have been created to support it. Multiple encryption and cypher methods are supported and you can encrypt files, disk images, volumes and more. It’s accessible through all different clients, though GnuPG is better suited for those more technology proficient and looking for something to plug into their existing systems.
The Best Encryption Tools to Help Protect Your Data
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