Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Open source encryption tools


Failing to secure your data can result in some potentially costly and time consuming processes to recover and re-secure what was lost. It’s worth the time up front to do what you can to ensure your personal data and information stays relatively secure and at least poses some challenge to those who’d like to access it. As an added incentive, many times this can be done for virtually no up front investment on your part. Here are a few free encryption tools that you can use to secure your important info.
TrueCryptTrue crypt is an excellent open source disk encryption tool. Easy to encrypt/decrypt any file on the file as needed without user intervention beyond entering their pass-phrase initially.With TrueCrypt, you get the functionality to encrypt an entire partition of your hard drive if you so wish. Once encrypted, you can then store and access files on the partition like you would any other part of your computer. The best part? The encrypted files aren’t marked so there’s no way for an intruder to tell what’s sensitive info right off the bat.
GNU Privacy Guard: This open source encryption tool offers a free way to get public key encryption. With this, you can encrypt any emails you send out that you want to keep private and secure, with the passwords for access known only to you and your recipient. GnuPG is the complete and free implementation of the OpenPGP standard. GnuPG allows to encrypt and sign your data and communication, features a versatile key managment system as well as access modules for all kind of public key directories. GnuPG, also known as GPG, is a command line tool with features for easy integration with other applications. A wealth of applications and libraries are available. Version 2 of GnuPG also provides support for S/MIME.
LockNoteUsing AES 256, this program encrypts your documents. It can be useful for securing business information and sensitive communications. The recipient of the document must have a password to be able to decrypt the information. You can type any text you want, e.g your bank account information, website passwords, social security number etc. and then simply close LockNote, at which time you will be prompted to set a password. Subsequent access to LockNote requires the correct password. The program is portable and does not require an installation. You can simply copy the locked file to a USB stick, iPod or other portable device (or send it by email) and unlock it on any PC. The idea behind LockNote is not to provide a full featured data storage, but a simple, secure and portable way to store any kind of text information. If you want to organize your data, you can create multiple copies of LockNote and rename them to identify the data they contain (e.g Personal.exe, Bank.exe).
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S-ToolsIf you’re interested in steganographics, give this tool a try. It hides your encrypted files in GIF or WAV files and allows you to easily compress and send them as well. You open up a copy of S-Tools and drag pictures and sounds across to it. To hide files you just drag them over open sound/picture windows. You can hide multiple files in one sound/picture and your data is compressed before being encrypted then hidden. Multi-threaded operation means that you can have many hide/reveal operations going simultaneously without fear of them interferring with you or holding up your work. You can even close the original picture/sound with no ill effects to ongoing threads. Encryption services come courtesy of "cryptlib" by Peter Gutmann (and others).
Cryptainer LEThe name for this program says it all, as it can be used to create small (25 MB) containers within your hard drive where encrypted information can be stored.
File BuddyUse File Buddy to encrypt your files and erase the original un-encrypted versions from your computer so they won’t be hanging around for prying eyes to find. File Buddy helps you clean your file system of files you no longer need. It uses Droplets to automate tasks you do frequently such as setting file attributes or finding duplicate files.