At times we store some of our personal or sensitive information in the form of plain text on our laptops or pen drives in order to make it easily accessible whenever required. While that does offer convenience, it also poses a great risk – risk of the information getting misused in case the laptop or memory stick getting stolen/misplaced and landing in the wrong hands.
Encryption is one of the safest solutions to the aforementioned problem. While there are many tools available in the market that allow you to encrypt and decrypt information, wouldn’t it be even more convenient if there were a text editor that could double as an encryption/decryption tool as well? In this article we will discuss one such application, EncryptPad.
Note: all the instructions/commands explained in this article have been tested on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS.
EncryptPad is basically a normal text editor, but what makes it special is its ability to encrypt files. Not only plain text files, but you can also use it to encrypt and decrypt binary files kept on your disk. It’s an open source application that offers both graphical as well as command line interfaces.
Download and Install
On Ubuntu you can easily download and install EncryptPad by running the following commands:
Of course, you can also install it from source; to download the latest version, head here.
Once the application is installed successfully, it can be launched from Ubuntu Dash.
Here’s what the EncryptPad UI looks like:
As you can see, it’s a basic text editor UI with quick access icons for creating, opening, saving, and editing files. To start, let’s discuss how to password-protect a plain text file using the editor.
For this, first open (File -> Open) an existing text file in the editor. For example, I opened a file called “test”:
The next step is to save it as a .gpg file, something you can do by heading to “File -> Save As” and selecting the file type GnuPG.
Hitting the “Save” button will bring up a Password box where you’ll be asked to enter a new password as well as confirm it.
This way you can protect a plain text file by encrypting it with a password.
Next up, let’s understand how you can use EncryptPad to protect your information with a key file. For this, first open a plain text file that you want to protect, and then generate a key by heading to “Encryption -> Generate Key…” This will bring up the following window.
Select the “Key in Repository” option and enter, say,
my_new_key in the corresponding text box, and then click OK. In the next step you’ll be asked to enter a password to protect the key file on disk.
The editor will then ask you whether or not you want to use the generated key for this file. Click “Yes.”
Now, do “File -> Save As,” and save the file as a GnuPG file.
This way you can protect a plain text file using a key file. To open a file with such protection, the editor will require both a key file as well as the password that protects it.
Note that you can also apply double protection on a plain text file, meaning you can protect it with a password as well as a password-protected key file. For this, all the steps are the same as what we discussed in the key-file section above, but when you do “File -> Save As” you’ll have to select the file type as “EncryptPad (*.epd).”
For more information on the editor, head to the tutorials section on the tool’s official website.
The biggest strength of EncryptPad is that it’s not difficult to use at all. This, coupled with the fact that the tool’s official website, offers detailed tutorials, makes it ideal for new users. If you were looking for such an application, I’d encourage you to give EncryptPad a shot.