Some of our files should be kept secret and not seen by anyone else. Whether it is data about your own finances, very personal recordings or secret and sensitive data in the business area: only effective Data encryption can provide security.
Unfortunately, it happens frequently Data thefteither through theft of devices from a laptop or smartphone, or nowadays through hacking public or private servers in the cloud, where valuable business or private data can be stored. If you want to prevent unauthorized access to your data, you cannot avoid encryption software. The acquisition and operation of such software raises many questions and can even be overwhelming at first.
In this post, we'll show you what a encryption software is how it works and what criteria you have to pay attention to when choosing the encryption software. We have tested numerous solutions and present the best encryption software in detail.
Why you need encryption software
If you read this post, you will already be aware that the use of encryption software would make sense. Most users see it completely differently, publicly or even in specialist circles there is seldom talk about the necessity of such software. Antivirus and firewall? Sure, most have that, but encryption software is also essential for protecting availability and Secrecy of sensitive data and information.
1. Cloud storage
Nowadays, encryption has become particularly important because more and more of our data is in the Cloud, i.e. also servers located on the Internet. Many of us like to use numerous gigabytes of cloud storage via Google, Dropbox and Co. to save private and business data, to be able to open it from anywhere or to share it with friends and colleagues.
Unfortunately, many of these are cloud storages very unsafe and can be hacked very easily, Hackers can steal our files here particularly easily. In order to be able to use cloud storage for private or professional purposes, these files and folders should definitely be encrypted.
Encrypted files are practically of no interest to hackers because they cannot decrypt them and therefore cannot open them.
2. Device theft
According to estimates, more than 100.000 laptops and computers stolen, 30% of all companies are affected by device theft.
- Device theft can also turn into data theft, from the stolen data significant financial damage arise, both privately and professionally, for example, secret company data should disappear with the stolen device.
3. Data exchange with several people
But it's not just about you, maybe you want to too exchange sensitive data with colleagues or friends and make sure that only you, the authorized person, have access and nobody else. However, you may share a device with other family members and want to keep certain files private, it would be your right.
Encryption software prevents easy access to a file; the file can only be accessed by those who have the Password or the key can be decrypted again. If only authorized persons have the key, then only these persons can decrypt and open the file. So there are many good reasons to choose effective data encryption.
What is encryption software?
It sounds so simple at first: "Encryption" of files and folders, all right. But it is initially unclear to many what encryption actually means and how it actually works.
How encryption works
Encryption refers to a process through which easily readable content such as text (this unencrypted form is also called "plain text"Called") is processed by an encryption algorithm which then converts a file in an unreadable format (known as "Cipher“-Text). These encrypted files can then be stored securely on your own device or in the cloud or transmitted to the intended recipient.
When the intended recipient accesses the message, the information is translated back to its original form. This is called Decryption designated. To decrypt the message, both the sender and recipient must use a “secret” encryption key - a collection of algorithms that encrypt and decrypt data into a readable format.
- Within the symmetric encryption data is encrypted and decrypted with a single password.
- Within the asymmetric encryption two keys are used for encryption and decryption. A public key that is shared among the users encrypts the data. A private key, which is not shared, decrypts the data. This approach is referred to as Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) or also PKI method.
Two approaches to encryption
In fact, encryption existed before the digital age, even if the means to do so were accordingly less practical. To keep a document secret, you could either use a cipher code to encrypt the text and then use it burn the original; the cipher code was the key. Or else, you have the document in unchanged form locked in a safe - in this case the safe key was used to "encrypt".
- These two approaches to encryption are still reflected today in the way encryption software works. Most take one approach, but the best face you beide to select.
Which encryption algorithms are most commonly used?
When choosing the best encryption software, you should also pay attention to which algorithm or algorithms these programs use. In practice it is above all that of the original Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) encryption algorithm developed by the US military important, the BlowFish algorithm is also used more frequently.
Which criteria and functions apply to the selection?
We have already discussed the most important encryption algorithms. In general: The more algorithms the program supports, the better. But it is more important that the most common types are supported. In any case, it should be AES, Blowfish would also be very beneficial. If you have to encrypt data for your company or for the exchange with certain parties and a certain algorithm is required, you must carefully check the information in the software.
The software should also use the encryption via Public Key Infrastructure, i.e. with the combination of a public and private key. Asymmetric encryption is widely recognized as being more secure and especially intended for the exchange of encrypted data because you can use encryption to prove your identity with your private key and only have to disclose your public key, while the private key remains secret. Or someone can encrypt a file just for you (with your public key), they don't need to know your private key.
A closer look pays off, unfortunately many encryption programs do not support this function. If you only want to encrypt for yourself, it is not a must either.
Encryption of files and folders
The core functionality of encrypting files and folders must be that you individual files and folders can encrypt on your hard drive. Both methods are advantageous because they allow you to choose exactly which content you want to protect.
Secure deletion of files
One important factor in file encryption is often overlooked: an encrypted file must effectively and permanently deleted from the drive otherwise they could be accessed using special hardware or data recovery software. Unfortunately, moving or deleting the file from the hard drive is not enough.
Because the files could still be read on the hard disk in certain sectors of the partition, they have to be overwritten several times in different ways using certain deletion processes. Only then can a recovery really impossible become. Pay attention to this feature if you want to be on the safe side.
File manager integration
So that you can encrypt or decrypt files and folders with just two mouse clicks, your program should be directly in Windows Explorer or Finder on Mac. It is inconvenient if you have to open the software separately to select the individual files or directories.
Integration with cloud storage providers
A practical feature is integration with Cloud storage like Google Drive, Dropbox or other. This applies to the programs with an encrypted drive. Here it is possible to use Windows Explorer to simply drag and drop a file from the cloud storage to the encrypted folder, where the file is saved in encrypted form. Particularly practical because conventional cloud storage is particularly insecure.
Free trial period
The best encryption software can initially tested risk free before you have to decide which one to buy. Such a test phase is useful because you can clarify for yourself whether you can handle the operation of the software and whether you are satisfied with the way it works and the range of functions. A 30-day free trial should be included.
The best encryption software at a glance
|boxcyptor||folder Lock||AxCrypt||CryptoExpert||North Locker|
ECC (XChaCha20, EdDSA, Poly1305)
|Create encrypted storage||✓||✓||-||✓||✓|
|Encrypt files / folders||✓||✓||✓||-||-|
|Create self-decrypting EXE||✓||-||✓||-||-|
|Permanent deletion of original files||✓||-||✓||-||-|
|30-day trial version||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Integration with cloud storage||✓||-||✓||-||✓|
The best encryption software in detail
While antivirus programs and firewalls have long been part of the standard equipment of every PC, encryption programs are only used by very few users. In view of the increasing use of cloud storage and ever new security threats from the Internet, the Encryption of sensitive data in any case.
Of the best providers on the market, we were particularly impressed by NordLocker and AxCrypt as the best encryption software.