Top 20 Best File Encryption Tools for Privacy Protection
Cyber security is a real problem in today’s digital world. According to Symantec, nearly 1 million cyber-attacks occurred daily in 2015. Symantec also reports that up to 75 percent of websites contain unpatched vulnerabilities, which puts everyone online at risk.
One way to mitigate your risk of becoming a cyber-attack victim is to encrypt your data. That way, even if someone does get their hands on your data, it drastically reduces the chance that they can actually use it against you. Check out these top 20 file encryption tools that will help ensure your privacy online and on your desktop, listed in no particular order.
VeraCrypt is a free data encryption tool available on Windows, OS X, and Linux computers. It’s the successor to the popular TrueCrypt tool but has corrected some of that program’s issues. VeraCrypt works to encrypt the files on your computer when they’re not in use and only decrypts them when you access them. It features frequent security updates so you can be confident in securing your private files with the tool.
2. Folder Lock
Folder Lock is consistently rated high as one of the best encryption software programs available today. It’s among one of the faster options out there, featuring an Advanced Encryption Standard 265-bit key. Additional features include stealth mode and file shredding. However, it is lacking a password generator. That said, it’s still one of your best bets for encrypting your data. Get it for Windows computers for just under $40.
CertainSafe is a MicroEncryption tool that secures your data in bulk to keep your cloud-stored files secure. It features logon handshake, which provides authentication for both the users and the server. It also retains previous versions of modified files, offers secure chat, and allows you to share files with other users or guests. It even offers Microsoft plugins to securely work in Outlook or Word. No installation is needed. CertainSafe starts at $9 a month, but you can test it out free for 30 days.
Used by over 3 million users, AxCrypt is one of the more popular encryption tools for Windows. Use it to encrypt and password protect your files. It also features a self-decryption function, which means you don’t need to install AxCrypt to decrypt certain files. The premium version also supports secure online password storage and secure file deletion.
5. Kryptos 2
Kryptos 2 is another easy-to-use program available for both Windows and OS X systems. It features both a file name changer and file shredder to keep your files safe and free from prying eyes. The only downside is that it increases your file size when creating an encrypted self-executable file. Get the download license for just under $35.
Steganos Safe 18 provides both portable and cloud safes to easily encrypt and store your files from anywhere. It’s easy to use. How it works is that users can open various safes, which act just like disk drives. Create new documents, edit existing documents, and move files to and from the safe. Once you close the safe, all the documents are then protected. Open the safe by entering your password. Steganos supports encryption on cloud services like OneDrive, Google Drive, and Dropbox, and it works on Windows operating systems. Get it for under $30 to use on up to five devices.
Another free Windows encryption tool is BitLocker for Windows Vista and older. It uses the AES encryption algorithm and provides encryption for entire volumes. BitLocker features several authentication mechanisms, including transparent operation mode, user authentication mode (for passwords or PINs), and USB key mode. Users like that BitLocker is easy to use but powerful.
Alternative to BitLocker is FileVault. This tool is available to OS X users and features 128-bit AES encryption and 256-bit key. You’ll be required to set up a recovery key for added security. You’ll have to log into your account each time with a password—rather than auto-logging in—which further adds security to your files.
DiskCryptor is a lot like VeraCrypt but can only encrypt existing disk volumes. However, it’s easy to use and allows user-configured passwords. It also encrypts the system/boot volume and lets you view and modify volumes while the drive is mounted rather than decrypting the whole drive. The tool is free and is compatible with Windows 2000 and above.
Available for Windows, OS X, and Linux, GNU Privacy Guard is another free encryption tool worth checking out. It’s able to encrypt ordinary files, emails, or entire volumes. It can even encrypt external drives or connected media. As an open-source program, there are many different versions of this tool available through various clients, so it’s easy to find one that fits your needs.
Cypherix offers a number of data encryption tools, but one of the better, easier ones to use is Cypherix PE. It features an easy-to-use drag-and-drop operation with 448-bit encryption. You can even encrypt files for email and share volumes. While this program comes with its benefits, it doesn’t offer secure deletion for unencrypted original files. Cypherix PE works on Windows computers and mobile devices and costs $45.
For a tool that does feature a built-in file shredder, you might consider one of Cypherix’s other products, the Secure IT program. Designed for Windows, this encryption tool features 448-bit strong encryption, command line processing, and a straight-forward interface. Get it for $35.
Advanced Encryption Package Pro both encrypts and compresses your files. It’s not as easy to use as some of the other tools on the list, but it does feature strong encryption that will ensure your data remains secure. It makes it easy to right-click on any file on your Windows computer and encrypt it without opening the program. Files remain password protected, and there are several types of ciphers available to give you control over your encryption. Buy one license for $50, or buy it in bundles of two or three to drop the price to $39 each.
7-Zip is another free open-source software program available for Windows, OS X, and Linux. It’s built as a file achiever, which means it will compress and organize your files to make storage simple. That said, it’s also a powerful encryption tool and can protect individual files or entire volumes. Files can be password protected and are made secure when sending over the Internet. Use it for free on your personal computer or for commercial use.
15. AES Crypt
If you’re looking for a versatile encryption tool that will work with practically any device, check out AES Crypt. This open source file encryption software uses AES-256 and works with Windows, Linux, and Mac computers as well as Android and iOS devices. Plus, it’s easy to use. On Windows, simply right-click on your file and either choose to encrypt or decrypt it. On Mac, just drag your file into the program. Each file is password protected. Best of all, it’s free.
16. Disk Utility
Disk Utility is a disk repair and management tool built for OS X. With it, it’s easy to encrypt drives and volumes at the click of a button. Other features include file conversion, backup, compression, cloning, restoration, and more. If you’re already running on OS X, there’s no reason to install anything since it’s built into your operating system.
SafeHouse is one of the quicker encryption tools around and is easy to use. Simply copy your files into a folder, and SafeHouse will encrypt them for you. It doesn’t come with many extra tools, but if all you’re looking for is encryption, SafeHouse will do the job. Download it for Windows for $30.
For another free program, try Challenger. This data encryption tool works on Windows and features portable encryption, encryption for cloud storage, and more. It even securely deletes original data. The free version can be used for private computers while a full version offering more features is available for businesses.
19. Sensi Guard
Sensi Guard offers some of the strongest encryption around. It isn’t the fastest or easiest system on the list, but it will get the job done. It’s worth checking out if you want strong encryption and don’t need much hand holding. Sensi Guard starts at $39 for a single PC license.
iSafeguard is one of the better tools for encrypting your emails. You can even use it to securely back up your files or securely delete them. Additional features include a password manager and smartcard support. Get it free for personal use, or use the professional or enterprise-level packages for more features.
With tons of encryption tools to choose from in all price ranges and for the most popular operating systems, there’s no reason your files should go unprotected. Which tool here will you try first?