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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 shot's iPhone, they asked Apple for a rear door to get beyond the encryption. But 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 rear door or similar hack is different, it will become a target, a decoration for the bad guys. It'll 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 thembut the poor guys can't get in either. .

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All the products in this roundup explicitly say 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've lost it for good.

Back in the day, if you wanted to keep a document secret you can use a cipher to encrypt it and then burn the original. Or you might lock it up in a protected. The two main approaches in encryption utilities parallel those options.

One sort of product simply processes files and folders, turning them into impenetrable encrypted versions of themselves. Another creates a virtual disk that, when open, behaves like any other drive on your system. When you lock the virtual drive, each of the files you put into it's entirely inaccessible. .

Like the digital drive solution, a few products save your encrypted data 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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Which is better It actually depends on how you plan on using encryption. If you are visit this website not sure, take advantage of the 30-day free trial provided by each one of these products to have a feel for the different options.

After you copy a internet document into secure storage, or create an encrypted version of it, then you absolutely need to wipe out the unencrypted original. Just deleting it isn't sufficient, even in the event that you skip the Recycle Bin, because the data still exists on disk, and data retrieval utilities can often get it back. .

Some encryption products avoid this issue by encrypting the document in place, literally overwriting it on disk using an encrypted version. It is more common, though, to offer safe deletion as an option. If you select a product that lacks this attribute, 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 recovery functions because 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 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 file into it, and you get back what seems like gibberish. Run that gibberish back through the box, with the same password, and you get back the original.

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The U.S. government has settled on Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) as a standard, and every one the products accumulated here support AES. Even the ones that support other algorithms tend to recommend using AES.

If you're an encryption specialist, you may prefer another algorithm, Blowfish, possibly, or even the Soviet government's GOST. For the average consumer, 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 receive two keys. One is public; you can share it with anyone, register it in an integral exchange, tattoo it on your foreheadwhatever you like. Another is personal, and needs to be closely guarded. If I want to send you a key click here for more info document, I simply encrypt it with your public key.

Simple! .

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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 that your public key decrypts it is all the evidence you need. PKI support is less common than service for traditional symmetric algorithms. .

If you want to share a document with someone and your encryption tool doesn't support PKI, there are different 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.

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