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Using a VPN is a great way to shield your internet traffic when you are traveling, but it's 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 back door to get past the encryption. However, 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 is different, it will become a target, a prize for the bad guys. It'll leak sooner or later. In a discussion at Black Hat this past 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 bad guys can't get in either. .
All of the products in this roundup explicitly state that they have no back door, and that's as it should be. It does mean that in the event you encrypt an essential document and then forget that 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 safe. The two main approaches in encryption utilities parallel with those options.
One type of product simply processes files and folders, turning them into impenetrable encrypted versions of themselves. Another creates a virtual disk drive that, when open, behaves like any other drive on your system. When you lock the virtual drive, each the documents that you put into it's entirely inaccessible. .
Similar to the virtual drive solution, a few goods store your encrypted data in the cloud. This strategy demands extreme care, obviously. Encrypted information 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 on using encryption. If you're not sure, take advantage of the 30-day free trial offered by each of those products to have a feel for 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 skip the Recycle Bin, since the information still exists on disc, and data recovery utilities can often return back. .
Some encryption products prevent this problem by encrypting the document in location, literally overwriting it on disk using an encrypted version. It is more common, however, to provide secure 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 recovery tools. Hardware-based forensic recovery works because the magnetic recording of information on a hard drive isn't actually digital. It is more of a waveform. In simple terms, the procedure involves nulling out the known information and reading around the borders of what is 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 every one the merchandise accumulated here service AES. Even the ones that support other calculations tend to recommend using AES.
If you are an encryption expert, you might prefer another algorithm, Blowfish, perhaps, 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 secret, 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, enroll it in an integral exchange, tattoo it on your foreheadwhatever you prefer. The other is private, and needs to 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 system in reverse, you can make a digital signature that shows that your document came from you and hasn't been altered. How Just encrypt it with your private key. The fact your public key decrypts it's all of the evidence you need. PKI support is less common than service for traditional symmetric algorithms. .
If you want to talk about 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 recommended you read free, decryption-only tool.