Securing yourself and your data on the Internet is becoming harder all the time. The problem with most of the Internet services is that they tend to change their features and privacy policies so frequently that the user can’t keep pace with all the changes. We have already discussed ways to delete your personal data from the Internet. In this article, we will show you various tools that you can use to encrypt your data, be it emails, chat or even local data in your computer.
1. Web mail security: Encipher.it
If you are using web email services like Gmail, Outlook.com or Yahoo Mail, all your emails are already saved in encrypted format in the server. Nevertheless, it is good to double-encrypt important mails so that only you or the person who knows the decryption key can read the messages.
1. Go to Encipher.it help page and drag and drop the bookmarklet to your browser’s toolbar. Internet Explorer, Google Chrome and Firefox are supported and their variants should also work.
2. Go to your Email inbox and compose a new email. Once you are done composing the email, click the “Encipher.it” bookmarklet.
3. This will open a popup asking you to enter an encryption key. You can enter any password of your choice.
4. You will also be able to specify a lifespan for your email, after which, the email will be destroyed.
5. When the receipient receives the email, he will need to click the link inside the email which will then prompt him for the decryption key. If he has the key, he will be able to read the message.
2. Email clients security: Enigmail
Microsoft Outlook has a built-in feature for encrypting all outgoing emails. If you are using Mozilla Thunderbird, you may want to install Enigmail addon to sign and encrypt emails sent from Thunderbird. You can download Enigmail directly from the addons site.
Enigmail will add OpenPGP message encryption and authentication to Thunderbird. Installing and configuring Enigmail is quite easy if you are using the setup wizard.
After a series of configuration steps and generating the certificate, you will be able to encrypt messages directly from the Compose window.
3. Instant Messengers security: OTR plugin
If you are using an all in one messenger like Pidgin, you may want to use OTR plugin for Pidgin. OTR stands for “Off the Record” messaging. Basically, the OTR plugin will provide encryption, authentication, deniability and perfect forward secrecy to all the services which we use through Pidgin.
Cloud storage security
Most cloud storage providers encrypt the communication link between the client computer and the storage server but the data saved in the cloud storage is not encrypted. This poses a risk of data leakage if the storage provider gets hacked. For your own safety, you should always encrypt data before synchronizing it into the cloud. Google Drive, SkyDrive and Dropbox are the three main cloud storage providers. So we will concentrate on securing these services. Here are the tools that you can use for cloud data encryption and security:
CloudFogger is a Windows software which saves files in specific folders in encrypted form so that data are encrypted before they get sync to the cloud. CloudFogger will also let you encrypt single files using the Windows Explorer context menu.
SharedSafe is another software which takes a different approach to encrypting data from CloudFogger. It will encrypt files in Dropbox folder and/or your email account (IMAP) and/or an FTP location.
BoxCryptor is another software dedicated to encrypting and securing data in your Dropbox, Google Drive, SkyDrive and other major cloud storage providers. BoxCryptor creates a virtual drive on the local system which gets encrypted before being uploaded to any online cloud storage. It uses AES 256 and RSA encryption algorithms.
7. Local data security: TrueCrypt
Now that we have secured majority of our Internet activities, we also need to keep our important data secure which is stored on our hard drives. TrueCrypt is a very good disk encryption software which you can use to create a password protected virtual disk on the hard drive.
Anything stored inside the password protected disk will be encrypted and will not be visible to all users. TrueCrypt is also able to encrypt entire partitions or a storage device like a USB Flash drive.
The above list is not definitive. There are tons of encryption tools that we didn’t manage to cover. Feel free to let us know what we have missed.
Imge credit: Businesswoman holding tablet pc by BigStockPhoto
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