Encrypt Your Dropbox Files With BoxCryptor

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encrypt dropbox filesDropbox 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.

encrypt dropbox files

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.

encrypt dropbox folder

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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.

encrypt dropbox folder

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.

encrypt dropbox folder

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.

how to encrypt dropbox files

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.

how to encrypt dropbox files

Usage

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

how to encrypt dropbox files

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

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

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

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.

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.

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

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.

encrypt dropbox files

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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Comments (9)
  • Ruchir Godura

    Hi All –
    http://www.xooui.com is a new service just launched that makes it really, really easy to encrypt and store your data on your cloud drives.
    Unlike boxcryptor, it can be used entirely from the browser (nothing to install) and more importantly, there is no special password to forget that will render your data unrecoverable. Most of us want to have the freedom to forget our password and have the ability to have it reset safely.
    Xooui supports Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive and Amazon Cloud drive. Basic usage is free –

    (disclaimer – I work for xooui.com)

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Aung Htet

    it is very useful for me, thanks

  • 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/

    • 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.

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For more details, please read our disclosure.
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.