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Using a VPN is a terrific 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 for a back door to get beyond the encryption. But no such back door existed, and Apple refused to create one. The FBI needed to hire hackers to get into the phone.
Why wouldn't Apple help Since the moment a rear door or similar hack exists, it becomes a target, a prize for the poor guys. It will flow sooner or later. In a talk at Black Hat last summer, Apple's Ivan Krstic revealed the company has done something similar in their cryptographic servers.
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Apple can't update thembut the bad guys can't get in either. .
Each the products in this roundup explicitly say that they have no back door, and that's as it ought to 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 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 approaches in encryption utilities parallel these options.
One sort of product simply procedures files and folders, turning them into impenetrable encrypted versions of themselves. The other creates a virtual disk drive that, when open, acts like any other drive on your system. When you lock the digital drive, all of the documents that you put into it are entirely inaccessible. .
Like the virtual drive solution, some products save your encrypted information in the cloud. This strategy requires extreme caution, obviously. Encrypted data in the cloud has a much larger attack surface than encrypted data on your own PC.
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That is better It actually depends on how you plan to use encryption. If you are not sure, take advantage of the 30-day free trial offered by each of those products to get a feel for the different options.
After you copy a document into protected storage, or create an encrypted version of it, then you absolutely need to wipe the unencrypted original. Just deleting it isn't sufficient, even in the event that you skip the Recycle Bin, since the data still exists on disc, and data retrieval utilities can often return back. .
Some encryption products avoid this issue by encrypting the document in place, literally overwriting it on disc with an encrypted version. It's more common, however, to offer safe deletion as an option. If you choose a product 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 retrieval tools. Hardware-based forensic recovery functions because the magnetic recording of information on a hard drive isn't actually digital. It is more of a waveform. In simple terms, the process involves nulling out the known information 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 via the box, with the exact 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 the products accumulated here support AES. Even the ones that support other calculations tend to recommend using AES.
If you're an encryption specialist, you may want another algorithm, Blowfish, perhaps, or the Soviet government's GOST. For the typical user, however, AES is just fine.
Passwords websites 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 a key exchange, tattoo it on your foreheadwhatever you prefer. The other is personal, and should be carefully guarded. If I want to send you a secret document, I simply encrypt it with your public key.
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Using this program in reverse, you can create an electronic signature that proves your document came from you and hasn't been altered. How Just encrypt it with your private key. The simple fact your public key decrypts it is all the proof you need. PKI support is less common than support for traditional symmetric algorithms. .
If you want to share a file with someone and your encryption application doesn't support PKI, there are other options for sharing. Many products enable creation of a self-decrypting executable file. You could also find that the recipient can use a complimentary, decryption-only tool.