Encryption is one of the most important forms of data security. It is commonly used to protect sensitive user information and to protect stored data. You can also encrypt your data yourself. We’ve covered the best ways to encrypt your data below.

What is encryption?

Data encryption is a method in which data is translated into a code with an algorithm. It can only be decoded with a decryption key. Unencrypted data is called plaintext. After the encryption process, plaintext turns into a ciphertext, which can only be viewed if the correct key is applied for decryption.

encryption screen

Getting more in-depth

There are two types of encryption algorithms. Symmetric-key cryptography applies the same key for both encryption and decryption. In this case, the sender should exchange the key with the recipient for decryption. Asymmetric cryptography (also known as public-key cryptography) uses a public and a private key. The keys are mathematically linked to each other. The public key can be shared with everyone but the private key should be kept secret.


Why encryption?

Encryption is considered one of the safest methods for keeping your data secure, even if someone gets access to your computer and files. Encryption secures sensitive internet channels like messaging platforms and online payment methods. To remain private and secure, it’s essential that you care about the security of your stored data and online activities.

For your online security, setting up a VPN service is one of the best ways to remain private and secure. Here is a guide for VPNs you can use to increase your online privacy. Combined with encryption and strong passwords, you can make sure that no one will be able to approach and compromise your data. Are you interested in how you can encrypt your files properly? Then keep reading…

Forms of encryption

The most basic options for encrypting data are FTPS, SFTP and HTTPS. Another form of encryption is elliptical curve cryptography (ECC), in which the public key cryptography depends on the properties of the elliptic curve equation. This type of cryptography is the most common with IoT devices and with devices that have limited computing resources. Other devices, such as modems, smartcards and SIM cards, use protocols like SSH, S/MME and SSL/TLS to encrypt data.

End-to-end encryption (E2EE) is a form of secure communication that most common messaging platforms and apps use. Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp are two such examples. E2EE prevents unauthorized third parties from accessing data transferred between devices or systems.

Now that you know what encryption is, let’s move on to encrypting your computer.

How to encrypt your data on Windows

There are many free encryption software options for Windows. TrueCrypt was one of the best until its developers suspended the updates due to security gaps. Instead of that, we recommend AxCrypt, as this is the most convenient choice for, easy, fast and secure encryption.

It’s easy to encrypt your data on Windows using AxCrypt. Simply follow these steps:

1: Download and Install AxCrypt

2: Click on the file or folder you want to encrypt

3: Select AxCrypt from the list and click on “Encrypt”

4: Choose a passphrase as your encryption key

It’s as easy as that. You have now successfully encrypted your files.

Encrypt your data on a Mac

If you are using a Mac device, AES Crypt is a free and powerful tool to encrypt your data.

Here are the steps to successfully encrypt your data on Mac:

1: Download and install AES Crypt

2: Open the AES Crypt application and enter your password (if needed)

3: Select the document you want to encrypt and drop it into the AES Crypt app on the dock bar

4: Choose a password as your encryption key

That’s it – you’ve just finished encrypting your files.

file security

Email encryption

Protecting your emails is essential. However, even with a strong password, your account can be breached. Thankfully, there are a few ways to encrypt your emails.

The first one is to use Pretty Good Privacy (PGP). This tool adds another encryption layer to your emails.

Another option is to encrypt your emails with Virtru. It works as a Chrome and Firefox extension.

You can set it up quickly and easily:

1: Get and install Virtru

2: Make sure the extension is allowed

3: Click “Install”

4: Enable Virtru with the top-right hand corner box when you want to write a secure email.

You’ve now successfully added an encryption layer to your emails.

Cloud data encryption

Cloud storage can be hacked. If you store your files in the cloud, the easiest way to keep your data safe and secure is to use a cloud encryption tool. One of the best tool for this purpose is Boxcryptor.

To use it:

1: Download and install Boxcryptor, then create an account

2: Log into your account on your computer

3: Open file manager and find the Boxcryptor drive

4: Right-click on the file you want to encrypt

5: Click on “Encrypt”

That’s it – all of your files are encrypted in the cloud.

Encryption always wins

Awareness is key to keeping your files secure. Now you know the basics of encryption, you can set up your own encrypted platforms by implementing the simple steps listed above. This will add another, much-needed layer of security to your files.