Encrypt Your Dropbox Files With BoxCryptor

boxcryptor icon   Encrypt Your Dropbox Files With BoxCryptorDropbox is a great service, but its security track record is nothing to be proud of.  We’ve previously written about encrypted alternatives to Dropbox, but let’s be honest – Dropbox stands out among cloud storage services for its zen simplicity. Much as we’d like encryption, it’s hard to give up Dropbox. BoxCryptor is an encryption solution for anyone who wants encryption but just can’t let Dropbox go.

BoxCryptor runs on Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS and Android, so you can access your encrypted data from almost anywhere. You can even use BoxCryptor with other cloud storage services, like Microsoft’s SkyDrive. It’s like encrypting the files yourself, but automatic.

Getting BoxCryptor

You can download the free version of BoxCryptor from BoxCryptor’s website.

screenshot 01b   Encrypt Your Dropbox Files With BoxCryptor

BoxCryptor’s free version supports up to 2 GB of files, enough for the 2 GB of storage Dropbox users start with. If you’ve got more Dropbox space, you can’t encrypt every single file without spending money, but why bother? Just encrypt your important files and leave unimportant files unencrypted in the main Dropbox folder.

Setup

After installing BoxCryptor, you’ll be prompted to create a new encrypted folder.

boxcryptor install 1   Encrypt Your Dropbox Files With BoxCryptor

Use the Browse button to specify a location for the encrypted files. If you’re using Dropbox’s default settings, point BoxCryptor at a directory inside the “C:\Users\[Name]\Dropbox” folder.

boxcryptor install 2   Encrypt Your Dropbox Files With BoxCryptor

BoxCryptor creates a new, virtual drive that exposes your encrypted files in unencrypted format. BoxCryptor uses drive Z: by default, but the drive letter is customizable.

boxcryptor install 3   Encrypt Your Dropbox Files With BoxCryptor

Creating a password is the most important part of setting up BoxCryptor. BoxCryptor encrypts your files with the password you provide here. BoxCryptor recommends you write this password down and store it in a secure location. If you forget this password, you won’t be able to access your encrypted files. You’ll lose them forever.

boxcryptor install 4   Encrypt Your Dropbox Files With BoxCryptor

BoxCryptor also recommends creating a backup of its configuration file, which is stored in the BoxCryptor directory you specified. You’ll need this backup if the main configuration file is deleted. If you don’t have it, you’ll lose your data forever.

boxcryptor install 5   Encrypt Your Dropbox Files With BoxCryptor

Usage

Once you’ve got BoxCryptor set up, using it is simple. You’ll find the BoxCryptor drive in your Computer window.

screenshot 021   Encrypt Your Dropbox Files With BoxCryptor

Copy sensitive files you want to encrypt and store in the cloud into your BoxCryptor drive.

screenshot 032   Encrypt Your Dropbox Files With BoxCryptor

BoxCryptor takes the files you add to the drive, encrypts them and places the encrypted versions in a folder inside your Dropbox folder.

screenshot 041   Encrypt Your Dropbox Files With BoxCryptor

Dropbox synchronizes the encrypted files normally — as far as Dropbox knows, there’s nothing special about these files.

screenshot 053   Encrypt Your Dropbox Files With BoxCryptor

Access your encrypted files on another computer by installing BoxCryptor and selecting the “Open an Existing Folder” option.

Mobile App

The free version of the mobile app has some limitations — for example, you can only read files and can’t go more than two directories deep — but it’s an easy way to access your encrypted Dropbox files on the go.

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BoxCryptor’s mobile app is self-contained; it doesn’t require Dropbox installed on your device. Install BoxCryptor and you’ll be prompted to log into your Dropbox account.

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Once you have, select your encrypted BoxCryptor folder and BoxCryptor will ask you for the password you provided.

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Enter the password and you’ll see the decrypted versions of your encrypted files. If you installed the Dropbox mobile app instead, you’d just see the scrambled, encrypted versions.

device 2012 02 13 194048b   Encrypt Your Dropbox Files With BoxCryptor

Conclusion

That’s it. BoxCryptor, like Dropbox, embraces simplicity and doesn’t have an interface with lots of options. It’s the perfect counterpart to Dropbox. If you’re a Linux user, you can also use EncFS to encrypt your Dropbox files. EncFS doesn’t have a 2 GB limit, but BoxCryptor is more user-friendly.

How do you store secure data in the cloud? Do you use a Dropbox competitor? Or do you think we’re all crazy for storing important data on someone else’s servers? Let us know in the comments.

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8 Comments -

0 votes

Prz

firstly, to get extra space, please register fom my link XXX it gives you 250MB more fre space and me too.

0 votes

Chris Hoffman

I bet Prz got some referrals while it lasted, but good call on disallowing them in general.

0 votes

Tina

How did that slip through? Unfortunately, we do not publish referral links to prevent MakeUseOf from being spammed with them.

0 votes

nxb3942

Depending on whether you want to use DropBox for consumer or businesses purposes, it may or may not be right for you. For businesses in many regulated industries, DropBox is not compliant. Their website clearly states this:
https://www.dropbox.com/help/238
If security is really important, using extra encryption probably wont do all you need. Dropbox Enterprise File Transfer from Thru is the secure solution for businesses and enterprises. Their solutions have been working for large businesses for ten years without a single security breach.
http://www.thruinc.com/solutions/dropbox-enterprise-file-transfer/

0 votes

Chris Hoffman

I can’t speak to Thru, but this definitely won’t add regulatory compliance to Dropbox. As a solution for Dropbox users looking for more security, probably for personal uses? It works.

0 votes

Aung Htet

it is very useful for me, thanks

0 votes

the rosetta stone

It’s really a cool and helpful piece of information. I am glad that you just shared this helpful info with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thank you for sharing.

0 votes

Matt Lourie

I have used BoxCryptor with dropbox; however, I decided to go with SpiderOak, which has built in personal encryption. This means that only I know the encryption key, same as BoxCryptor.

The thing I don’t like about BoxCryptor is that it encrypts the files on my disk. I don’t think that is the right approach, because usually files are read more often than they are written. BoxCryptor has a performance impact on every read (and write) to any file that is encrypted.

With SpiderOak, the encryption is only done when a file is uploaded and the decryption is only done when the a file is downloaded. That is a much more sensible model.