Some examples of how this might occur:
Internet malware attack: Increasingly, statistics reinforce the fact that financial data continues to be targeted by hackers/information thieves, for the purpose of identity theft.
Contrast that reality with these facts; there is no such thing as a totally secure Internet connected computer. All Internet connected computers are subject to attack and compromise.
Lost or stolen Laptop: How often have we read the following – 200,00 (insert your own number here), bank account numbers, Social Insurance Numbers, names, addresses and dates of birth were on a laptop stolen/lost earlier this week.
In too many of these cases, negligently, the data is unencrypted. Certainly Laptop theft or loss is not restricted to organizations; it can just as easily happen to you.
Lost or stolen USB drive: Since USB flash drives are so portable, you can take a drive virtually anywhere. Just like most items that are portable and that you carry with you, this type of drive can be lost, or stolen.
To reduce or eliminate the security threat of sensitive data exposure then, the most prudent course of action is data encryption. Essentially, data encryption is a secure process for keeping your sensitive and confidential information private. It’s a process by which bits of data are mathematically jumbled with a password-key. The Encryption process makes the data unreadable unless, or until, decrypted.
AxCrypt, a free (open source) encryption application which I have reviewed here previously, takes a different approach than many other encryption applications inasmuch as it is not a stand alone executable application – instead, it’s fully integrated into Windows Explorer and is invoked from there. Integration into Windows Explorer makes it an ideal encryption application for less experienced Windows users.
As the following series of screen captures clearly show, AxCrypt integrates seamlessly into Windows Explorer’s context (right click) menu.
Right clicking on the selected file/folder in Windows Explorer, followed by selecting “AxCrypt – Encrypt”, begins the process of encryption.
Click on any graphic to expand to original size.
The next step requires the user to enter a protective password.
In the following graphic (following successful encryption) you’ll notice the green AxCrypt icon, indicating that encryption is now in force.
The decryption process is ever bit as simple –it’s virtually a mirror image of the encryption process.
The following graphic illustrates the decryption password box.
In the following graphic you’ll notice the green AxCrypt icon no longer shows – indicating that decryption has been successful.
Bonus: Built in file Shredder illustrated.
Password Protect any number of files using strong encryption.
Right-click integration with Windows Explorer makes AxCrypt the easiest way to encrypt individual files in Windows.
Double-click integration makes it as easy to open, edit and save protected files as it is to work with unprotected files.
Many additional features, but no configuration required. Just install it and use it.
AxCrypt encrypts files that are safely and easily sent to other users via e-mail or any other means. Self-decrypting files are also supported, removing the need to install AxCrypt to decrypt.
Available languages: English, Danish, Swedish, German, Dutch, Hungarian, Spanish, French, Italian and Norwegian.
System requirements: Windows 2000, 2003, XP, Vista, 2008, Win 7 (32 and 64 bit system support).
Download at: Developer’s site (Axantum Software AB).
It’s not always possible to cover all the features and benefits of an application in a short review article – additional information is available at the developer’s FAQ page.
If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.