Having your files sync to the clouds is still a bit scary. There is still a bit of mystery when it comes to the transfer and storage of your information on your Dropbox account. Sensitive information like passwords and personal information should be given an extra layer of security for the peace of mind. That’s where BoxCryptor steps in.
Think of BoxCryptor like a removable drive. When BoxCryptor is running, it’s like the drive is connected to your machine and you can access the files. When it is not running, the files like gibberish and cannot be opened.
For those of you who are not using Dropbox, it is a cloud storage space with apps for mobile devices and all the major OS platforms. The free service gives you 2gb of storage (sign up with this link and we both get extra space for free). While there are lots of reasons for the paid options, the 2gb of storage is a good start.
Setting up BoxCryptor
The setup is pretty simple. You just need to run the setup wizard. In the setup, you will be asked for a location for the encrypted files to be housed. This needs to be in your Dropbox local folder somewhere.
You can choose an existing folder if you choose to. Keep in mind two things, when choosing a location for the files to be kept.
- BoxCryptor will not encrypt any of the files currently in the folder you select.
- You cannot delete or rename the .encfs6 file. If you do, all of your encrypted files will be lost.
When you choose a folder, the next step is to choose a password for the files. This password will be for decrypting data. This is especially important if you are sharing the encrypted information via a Dropbox folder.
After all the setup is done, you can go to My Computer and see the new virtual drive. Anything you drag in here will be encrypted.
This virtual drive will only show up when BoxCryptor is running.
BoxCryptor encrypts and decrypts individual files on-the-fly in real-time so they act as any other file would. Here is a look at what the encrypted file looks like. I bet you can pick out which file is encrypted.
You can see the file name is encrypted. If you try and open it with something like Notepad, this is what you will see.
Even if you knew this was a picture and you used something like GIMP to try to open the file, you will get an error like this.
Why you should use encryption
The main reason you may want to encrypt your files is to keep your personal information away from prying eyes. If you store financial info, backup password information or client lists, you may have a reason to encrypt the files. If you are sharing information via Dropbox, you may like the added security of the encryption offered by BoxCryptor.
Cloud storage is increasing in ease of use and a number of options available. With these advances, there are also security concerns. Keeping your information safe while it is hosted somewhere halfway across the globe can be a bit scary for many people. Make sure you have the proper security measures in place… just in case.