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Using a VPN is a great way to shield your internet traffic when you're traveling, but it is not a solution for encrypting your local files. .
When the FBI needed information from the San Bernardino shooter's iPhone, they asked Apple to get a rear door to get past the encryption. But no such back door existed, and Apple refused to make one. The FBI had to hire hackers to get into the phone.
Why wouldn't Apple help Since the moment a rear door or similar hack exists, it will become a target, a decoration for the poor guys. It will leak sooner or later. In a discussion at Black Hat last summer, Apple's Ivan Krstic revealed that the company has done something similar in their cryptographic servers.
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Apple can't update them, but the bad guys can't get in either. .
All of the products in this roundup explicitly state they have no rear door, and that's as it should be. It does mean that if you encrypt an essential document and then forget that the encryption password, you have lost it for good.
Back in the day, in the event that you wanted to keep a document secret you could use a cipher to encrypt it and then burn the original. Or you could lock it up in a protected. The two main methods in encryption utilities parallel with these options.
One type of product simply procedures files and folders, turning them into impenetrable encrypted versions of these. The other creates a virtual disk that, when open, behaves like any other drive on your system. When you lock the virtual drive, all the files you put into it's completely inaccessible. .
Similar to the digital drive solution, a few products save your encrypted information in the cloud. This approach demands extreme caution, obviously. Encrypted data in the cloud has a far bigger attack surface than encrypted data on your own PC.
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Which is better It really depends on how you plan to use encryption. If you're not sure, take advantage of this 30-day free trial provided by each of these products to have a sense of the different options.
After you copy a file into protected storage, or make an encrypted version of it, you absolutely need to wipe out the unencrypted original. Simply deleting it isn't sufficient, even if you bypass the Recycle Bin, since the data still exists on disk, and data recovery utilities can often return back. .
Some encryption products avoid this problem by encrypting the document in place, literally overwriting it on disc using an encrypted version. It's more common, however, to provide secure deletion as an option. If you select a product that lacks this feature, you ought to find a free secure deletion tool to use along with it. .
Overwriting data before deletion is sufficient to balk software-based recovery tools. Hardware-based forensic retrieval works since the magnetic recording of data on a hard drive isn't actually digital. It's more of a waveform. In simple terms, the procedure involves nulling out the known data and reading around the borders of what's left.
An encryption algorithm is like a black box. Dump a document, picture, or other file into it, and you get back what sounds like gibberish. Run that gibberish back through the box, using the same password, and you get back the original.
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The U.S. government has depended on Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) as a standard, and all of the merchandise gathered here support AES. Even the ones that support other algorithms tend to recommend using AES.
If you are an encryption expert, you may want another algorithm, Blowfish, perhaps, or even the Soviet government's GOST. For the average user, however, AES is just fine.
Passwords are important, and you must keep them secret, right Well, not when you use Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) cryptography.
With PKI, you receive two keys. One is public; you can share it with anyone, enroll it in an integral exchange, tattoo it on your foreheadwhatever you like. Another is private, and needs to be carefully guarded. If I want to send you a secret document, I just encrypt it with your public key.
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Using this program in reverse, you can make a digital signature which shows that your document came from you and hasn't been altered. How Exactly To encrypt it with your private key. The simple fact your public key decrypts it's all of the proof you need. PKI service is less common than support for traditional symmetric algorithms. .
If you want to talk about a document with someone and your encryption application doesn't support PKI, there are other options for sharing. Many products allow creation of a self-decrypting executable file. You could also find that the recipient can use a free, decryption-only tool.