Top 5 Free File Encryption Tools

One of the most important yet underrated activity in an average computer users life is file protection. Everyday thousands of important docu...

One of the most important yet underrated activity in an average computer users life is file protection. Everyday thousands of important documents, credit card details, emails, inventories, electronic balance sheet, pictures, videos and anything else of personal value are stolen from thousands of ignorant people, who use the computer as there sole store-house of information yet are woefully ignorant about simple file encryption and data back up!

So I am going to jump right into it and talk today about top 5 Free File Encryption Tools:

1. 7-Zip (Windows)

7 Zip if primarily known as a file compression tools. But very few people know that apart from handling formats like .rar and .zip, it can also allow for easy file encryption. Granted that among other heavy weight encryption competitors that are coming up next, 7-Zip doesn't sound like much. But if you are the sort of person who doesn't have to manage a ton of sensitive data or a whole drive but would still like to keep your few sensitive files safe then all you have to do is create a new compressed file and put a strong password to it. your protected documents will just sit alongside your normal ones

2. AxCrypt (Windows)

AxCrypt is another great FREE windows file encryption tool. The great thing about it is that upon installation it integerates itself with the Windows Shell, meaning that you can operate the whole software exclusively from your right-click menu! it provides a solid AES-256 encryption and also allows for safe transfer of files to friends by creating self extracting archives and the good news is that AxCrypt is not needed on the other end to view the files!

3. Disk Utility (Mac)

If you are a Mac user, then you will be happy to know that I have taken the pains of including a mac 'ware in this list despite being a loyal (and somewhat disgruntled) Windows User! Disk Utility is actually a diverse tool which handles pretty much anything and everything to do with drives on an OS X: It allows you to encrypt your files or your drive with an AES 128 bit or 256 bit encryption and also makes mounting and un-mounting encrypted files a walk in the park!  

4. GNU Privacy Guard (Windows/Mac/Linux)

Now, we come to the heavy-weights! GnuPG is a open source implementation of the fabled Pretty Good Privacy (PGP). It offers individual and drives encrytion, supports a dozen encryption schemes, paired keys and expiring signatures - which basically means that they mean business! It is also a great tool for secure communication thanks to its paired encryption and public key servers! Do note that the original GnuPG has a CLI (command line interface), you will have to do a bit of snooping around to get the GUI plug-in and other addons! (Hint: look at the screen shot above to spot the open source GUI extension for GnuPG. and if you don't get it, sorry but you seriously need to check yourself into an asylum!)

5. TrueCrypt (Windows/Mac/Linux)

Now we come to the editor's encryption software of choice! TrueCrypt! This is again an open source file and drive encryption project. You can create encrypted virtual disks or even encrypt an entire drives. Loads of features including virtual drive within virtual drive and a hoax password to go along with that so that even if you have been threatened by your spouse to decrypt the disk, you can punch in the hoax password to reveal your outer virtual disk but not the one within, giving you some breathing space (unless your spouse uses TrueCrypt too!). it also supports a huge number of encryption schemes (figure above). The learning curve is a bit shallow for those who haven't ever dabbled in file encryption, though!

Hope this has been a good read for you folks! I will be adding some tutorials for TrueCrypt soon so as to help you further secure yourselves and your property!

Enjoy and let us know what file encryption tool you prefer!

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