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encrypt your dataEncryption is often considered the playground of geeks alone, but it doesn’t have to be. Encryption just means that information is scrambled and you can only access the real information with a special password or key. On an Internet where we don’t want our credit card numbers Credit Card Numbers Are Not Random: How To Read & Understand Them Yourself Credit Card Numbers Are Not Random: How To Read & Understand Them Yourself You may have heard before that credit card numbers follow a certain pattern and structure so that they can be validated before a transaction is accepted. However, it's one thing to know that the structure... Read More and other sensitive data exposed to prying eyes, encryption is an important tool.

The four applications here will help you have encrypted chat conversations, hide data in media files, secure your cloud storage, and send secret messages via email. Note however that no service is perfect. If you’re an activist fighting a totalitarian government How To Quickly Check If Your Site Is Visible Behind The Great Firewall Of China How To Quickly Check If Your Site Is Visible Behind The Great Firewall Of China The Great Firewall of China, officially known as the Golden Shield project, uses a variety of methods to block foreign websites that the Chinese government doesn’t like. The Chinese government doesn’t publish a list of... Read More that’s after you, ensure you do more research before trusting one of these services with your life.

Cryptocat – Chat Privately in Your Browser

Cryptocat has been highlighted in the media recently for offering easy-to-use encrypted chat for the masses. Chat messages are encrypted in your browser before leaving your computer and can only be viewed by the recipient. You’ll have to install the Cryptocat extension for your browser from its website to get started.

Open the Cryptocat extension after it’s installed to start chatting. You’ll only need to enter two pieces of information – the name of a conversation room and a nickname for yourself. Share the name of the conversation with other people you want to talk to and they can easily join it.

encrypt your data

After other people join your conversation, you can have an encrypted chat session with them. Messages are encrypted on your computer, travel over the Internet in an encrypted form, and are decrypted on your recipients’ computers. This prevents eavesdropping — not even Cryptocat’s servers can view the messags.

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ways to encrypt data

For even more privacy, you can use Cryptocat with Tor, an anonymous way of accessing the web How the Tor Project Can Help You Protect Your Own Online Privacy How the Tor Project Can Help You Protect Your Own Online Privacy Privacy has been a constant issue with virtually all major sites that you visit today, especially those that handle personal information on a regular basis. However, while most security efforts are currently directed towards the... Read More . No one will be able to tell that you’re even using Cryptocat.

OpenPuff – Hide Data in Media Files

You could store and send encrypted data by creating an encrypted file. People wouldn’t be able to see your data, but they’d know there’s something there. Instead of creating a standard encrypted file, you can use steganography to hide your encrypted data in an image, video, or audio file.  OpenPuff is a Windows application that makes this easy.

ways to encrypt data

After downloading OpenPuff, launch it and click the Hide button to start hiding data in a file. You (or someone else) can use the Unhide button to extract hidden data from a file if you have the required information. This allows you to share media files with someone or just store your own secret data in a place no one would think to look.

If you’re not using Windows, you can try one of these two tools we’ve previously covered: iSteg for Mac Hide Text in Photos and Send Secret Messages [Mac only] Hide Text in Photos and Send Secret Messages [Mac only] Read More or mozaiq on the web The Easiest Way to Send Secret Messages Within Pictures The Easiest Way to Send Secret Messages Within Pictures Read More .

Cloudfogger – Secure & Share Your Cloud Files

Use Cloudfogger to encrypt files and folders that you store online in cloud storage services like Dropbox, Google Drive, and SkyDrive The Cloud Storage Showdown - Dropbox, Google Drive, SkyDrive & More The Cloud Storage Showdown - Dropbox, Google Drive, SkyDrive & More The cloud storage scene has heated up recently, with a long-awaited entry by Google and a revamped SkyDrive from Microsoft. Dropbox has gone unchallenged by the major players for a long time, but that’s changed... Read More . To encrypt your Dropbox Top 10 Uses For Dropbox You May Not Have Thought Of Top 10 Uses For Dropbox You May Not Have Thought Of For many advanced computer users, Dropbox is the premiere cloud-based storage and sharing document service. It has replaced the Documents folder on my Mac, and is the primary way I sync files between my devices.... Read More directory, right-click it in Windows Explorer and use the Cloudfogger context menu to define it as a “Cloudfogger Autofogg Folder.” Files stored in your Dropbox directory will be stored on disk in an encrypted form and only the encrypted copies will be uploaded.

ways to encrypt data

You can also use the Cloudfogger submenu to easily encrypt individual files. For example, you can encrypt sensitive files before taking them with you on a USB stick How To Password Protect Your USB Sticks: 3 Easy Ways How To Password Protect Your USB Sticks: 3 Easy Ways USB thumb drives are small, portable, and can be read on any device with a USB port. These features make them the perfect vehicles to transport data between computers. Due to their portability, however, they... Read More . If you lose the USB drive, you won’t have to worry – anyone that finds the drive can’t view your sensitive data. Fogg one or more individual files and you’ll see an option to “defogg” it when you right-click it.

ways to encrypt files

Cloudfogger also includes easy sharing features. Use the Manage Folder Shares option in the Cloudfogger submenu to specify email addresses that have access to the files. For example, if you share the files with someone via Dropbox, they’ll be able to use your encrypted “Autofogg Folder” without needing your password.

Cloudfogger is just one of many ways to securely encrypt your cloud storage 5 Ways To Securely Encrypt Your Files In The Cloud 5 Ways To Securely Encrypt Your Files In The Cloud Your files may be encrypted in transit and on the cloud provider’s servers, but the cloud storage company can decrypt them -- and anyone that gets access to your account can view the files. Client-side... Read More .

Lockbin – Send Secret Messages Via Email

Have you ever needed to email someone an important, sensitive piece of information? Email isn’t secure – if you send the information itself in an email, someone could eavesdrop on it in transit. Even if it reaches its destination securely, the data is now stored in someone’s email account – it will be backed up on email servers and buried in email archives where someone can find it in the future. If you’re sending something important, such as a credit card number or other piece of confidential information, this is unacceptable.

That’s where Lockbin comes in. Use the Send Message feature on the Lockbin website (no registration is necessary) to create a secret message. This message is secured with a password the recipient will need to know – for example, you could decide on a password ahead of time in person. Once you’ve entered the information, a notification will be emailed to the recipient. They’ll have to click the link in the email and provide the password. After they view the message once, it will be deleted from Lockbin’s servers. You can even attach a file to your secret message, which can be downloaded when the user accesses the message on Lockbin.

encrypt your data

For more ways to send secret messages by email or instant message, check out our list of ways to keep sensitive data out of your emails and chat logs 5 Tips On Keeping Sensitive Information Out Of Your Chat Logs & Emails 5 Tips On Keeping Sensitive Information Out Of Your Chat Logs & Emails So you’re talking to someone online and you need to share a password or another sensitive piece of information - what do you do? Send it in an email or instant message? Your sensitive information... Read More .

What other tricks do you use to encrypt your data and keep it secure? Leave a comment and share them!

Image Credit: Lock Icon via Shutterstock

  1. Danijel Cukaric
    March 31, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    great article, but it would be great to specify on which platforms it works...

  2. Asim Ali
    February 13, 2013 at 9:59 pm

    i will try to use them more frequently from now on ...

  3. Hunbuhbhuygb Ygygbgybygb
    December 11, 2012 at 6:46 am

    This article is very useful

  4. Thehunting Lion
    December 10, 2012 at 10:47 am

    Used cloudfogger, and found it really worth giving a try.. !

  5. Âdil Farôôq
    December 9, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    Very informative thanks for the article

  6. Adriel Tan
    December 9, 2012 at 7:37 am

    same question here...

  7. Xantes
    December 6, 2012 at 7:37 pm

    What a pity for the "cloudfogger"... says it's free but... it doesn't say it's limited: you can't encrypt a limitless number of folders, or a limitless volume of files!

    • ReadandShare
      December 7, 2012 at 7:52 am

      Reading Cloudfogger's website, you can sync up to 5 folders with a free account. However, you can create as many subfolders as you like under each of the 5. Shouldn't be a problem... esp. considering that Dropbox allows just one folder with which to build subfolders under.

  8. Alexander
    December 6, 2012 at 11:21 am

    Openpuff is looking interesting. Great article.

  9. Shahbaz Amin
    December 6, 2012 at 5:38 am

    All options are worth a look, thanks for informative article.!!

  10. Lisa Santika Onggrid
    December 6, 2012 at 4:22 am

    I'll try Cloudfrogger. Sounds like it has tight integration with Dropbox. But I have similar question to Andre. Would anyone else able to view/download my files later?

  11. ReadandShare
    December 6, 2012 at 2:56 am

    As a home user, I backup everything onto an external drive next to my computer, and I use the cloud for offiste backup. I think I am fine with 99% of my files (music, photos, videos) being protected by just the cloud website's sign-on ID and password.

    I do have a small handful of files that I'd like to keep more securely private -- my password "vault", tax files, and such. All of them are in Office XP docs and spreadsheets -- password protected using the 128-bit RC4 Microsoft "strong Cryptographic Provider" option. So in the clouds, this encryption provides a second layer protection.

    I wonder how secure the above compares to the newer options in this article? When on the road (traveling, etc.) -- I know I can always access my files since my tablet and internet cafes the world over all can open Office files. My fear is that Boxcrypt, etc. might not be available to decrypt when needed??

    • ReadandShare
      December 6, 2012 at 3:00 am

      I wrote Boxcrypt but I meant Cloudfogger. But same issue -- when on the road, cafe computers likely won't have your brand of decryptor installed. But every computer has Office.

  12. ipgmail
    December 6, 2012 at 2:44 am

    Why wouldn't you mention PGP for really secure email? There is no middle man website holding the key, as long as you and the recipient exchange PUBLIC keys (which are secure for sharing and public exposure, by definition), email and files can be encrypted and exchanged safely.

  13. Tim Schluter
    December 6, 2012 at 1:10 am

    CryptoCat and LockBin sound good to me. I too question how to encrypt DropBox files and still be able to share them as well.

    • James Hudson
      December 8, 2012 at 9:23 pm

      cant you just encrypt them and then upload to dropbox?

      • ipgmail
        December 12, 2012 at 2:38 pm

        Sure, but then you cannot share them unless you also share the key to decrypt them. Or use PGP and encrypt it with all of the public keys for the people you want to share with (see

  14. Igor Rizvi?
    December 5, 2012 at 11:54 pm

    I like OpenPuff,its like some secret agent stuff lol :D

    • Lisa Santika Onggrid
      December 6, 2012 at 4:23 am

      It's good as long as your file isn't too large. 2GB omage file will arouse anyone's suspicion.

      • Achraf Almouloudi
        December 8, 2012 at 3:42 pm

        But in a movie file, it probably won't be suspicious.

        • Douglas Mutay
          December 11, 2012 at 3:10 pm


  15. André Kamara
    December 5, 2012 at 10:48 pm

    If I use ClouFogger, would anyone be able to open the files stored on my DropBox when I send them a public link?

    • Giggity Goebbels
      December 8, 2012 at 8:26 am

      If the viewers share it

      • Hunbuhbhuygb Ygygbgybygb
        December 11, 2012 at 4:13 am


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