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Using a VPN is a great way to protect your internet traffic when you are 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 beyond the encryption. However, no such back door existed, and Apple refused to make one. The FBI needed to hire hackers to get into the phone.
Why wouldn't Apple help Since the moment a back door or comparable hack exists, it becomes a goal, a decoration for the poor guys. It'll leak sooner or later. In a talk at Black Hat last summer, Apple's Ivan Krstic disclosed 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. .
Each the products in this roundup explicitly say that they have no back door, and that is as it should be. It does mean that in the event you encrypt an essential document and then forget the encryption password, then you have lost it for good.
Back in the day, if you wanted to maintain a document key you could use a cipher to encrypt it and then burn the original. Or you might lock it up in a safe. The two main methods in encryption utilities parallel those options.
One type of product simply processes files and folders, turning them into impenetrable encrypted versions of themselves. The other creates a virtual disk that, when open, behaves like any other drive on your system. When you lock the digital drive, each the files that you put into it are completely inaccessible. .
Like the digital drive solution, some products save your encrypted data in the cloud. This approach demands extreme caution, obviously. Encrypted data in the cloud has a much bigger attack surface than encrypted data on your own PC.
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That is better It really depends on how you plan on using encryption. If you are not sure, take advantage of the 30-day free trial offered by each of those 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 retrieval utilities can often get it back. .
Some encryption products avoid this issue by encrypting the that site file in location, literally overwriting it on disc with an encrypted version. It's more common, though, to offer safe deletion as an option. If you choose something that lacks this attribute, you should find a free secure deletion tool to use along with it. .
Overwriting information before deletion is sufficient to balk software-based recovery tools. Hardware-based forensic retrieval functions because the magnetic recording of information 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 similar to a black box. Dump a document, image, or other document into it, and you get back what seems 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 every one the merchandise accumulated here support AES. Even those that support other algorithms tend to recommend using AES.
If you are an encryption specialist, you may prefer another algorithm, Blowfish, possibly, or even the Soviet government's GOST. For the average user, however, AES is just fine.
Passwords are important, and you have to keep them confidential, right Well, not when you use Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) cryptography.
With PKI, you get two keys. One is public; you can discuss it with anyone, register it in a key exchange, tattoo it on your foreheadwhatever you prefer. The other is personal, and needs to be closely guarded. If I want to send you a key document, I just encrypt it with your public key.
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Using this system in reverse, you can create a digital signature that proves your document came from you and hasn't been modified. How Just encrypt it with your private key. The fact that your public key decrypts it is all of the evidence you need. PKI service is less common than service for traditional symmetric algorithms. .
If you want to talk about a document with someone and your encryption tool doesn't support PKI, there are other options for sharing. Many products allow creation of a self-decrypting executable file. You may also find that the recipient can use a free, decryption-only tool.