A Beginner’s Encryption Guide: What is Encryption and How to Set it Up?

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Article Summary:

A Beginner’s Encryption Guide: The term encryption may have gone through your eyes, but if you are not about it; you fit in the category of the people for whom this Encryption Guide is written. Here, we have tried our level best to provide you with every detail of encryption and how to set up encryption on your system; so as to be safe from the cyber threats of today’s world of internet. Even if you do not have to hide anything, you still need to set up encryption in order to be protected against the cyber crimes like identity theft and forgery. So, read on our encryption guide to let us educate you on how to beef up your privacy and security measures in a few simple steps explained in this article.

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As online technology take-on is making its way in every field, it is leaving us more vulnerable and prone to the cyber attacks. Like online mobile apps have substituted conventional texting and Cloud storage has taken the place of pen drives. Now there is hardly anything left offline. Everything or every data has switched to online storage. This is where the cyber crooks feel more powerful and can find the loopholes easily to exploit them and to target us with the cyber attacks like identity theft, hacking, and forgery.

Moreover, nowadays your online privacy is more vulnerable to your state agencies than any cyber-attackers. That can access your online data anytime anywhere with the help of ISPs that are busy retaining your meta data day and night. Even if you do not have anything hide, the feeling of being monitored is itself very killing especially if you are a privacy savvy.

In such times, it is best to find ways by which you can take your internet privacy and security in your hand and try to take measures that can help you protect your data security and privacy. Such a measure must be able to keep the miscreants out while providing the legitimate users a safe access to their data. That’s when Encryption born. (Also see, THE ULTIMATE PRIVACY GUIDE)

What Is Encryption?

Encryption is by far the most reliable way of protecting the data on the web. It is actually a method in which the legible data is converted into encrypted codes that can not be read or understood until decrypted. Generally, it is applied to sensitive data so that only the authorized party can access it with a decryption key in hand. It applies to files, storage devices and any data sent over the wireless internet connection. There is some file encryption utility like GnuPG or AxCrypt by which you can encrypt any file, document or even the whole volume. Beyond that, encryption has now made its way to almost every utility. Be it any program or software password protected and encrypted files options are offered largely.

What does it do?

It protects the data in such a way that even if any unauthorized person reaches it, it would be nearly impossible for him to decipher the codes of encryption and make it legible. It is because decoding comes very difficult as there are hundreds of permutations and combinations that can be formed by the scrambled text, so guess on that is certainly impossible.

Encryption has now been accepted as one of the authentic ways to slow down and even avert cyber security threats. It is now deemed to be the cornerstone technology in cyber security that even the government security agencies are deploying to safeguard national digital treasures.

How Does It Work?

The concept of digital encryption is driven from the age-old implementation of cryptography. In the past ages, the scholars used to encode the sacred text and books with scrambled codes so that the text would remain safe and could only be understood by those who had the knowledge of those codes. Whereas, in the digital epoch, encryption is done with the help of computer coding and algorithm; that makes the data impossible to read for any unauthorized party. Such encrypted file or document can only be deciphered into plain text by those with encryption keys.

Should You Encrypt Your Files?

You may need to encrypt your files if you want an extra layer of security; which has become a must these days; where cyber attacks and device intrusions are just as common as other crimes. Even if you think you have nothing to hide or you are protected with a secure Windows password. Then let me pop the bubble of your misconception; it takes someone few minutes to have with your keyboard to get to your device access without your permission. Even breaking into strong password is also insanely easy. So, to cut a long story short; yes you need to encrypt your files so as to use them safely. Read on our encryption guide to know more about it.

Encryption Key

It is a string consisting of a specified number of bits. A 128-bit key consists of 128 bits. The more bits in the key, the more secure it is. Such keys are used to decode the encrypted data and make it readable for the authorized persons.

Types Of Encryption

Encryption is mainly divided into three categories; that is Symmetric, Asymmetric and Hashing encryption.

Symmetric Encryption

In symmetric encryption, the data is converted into unreadable codes of encryption; and this method uses a public key to encrypt and decrypt data. It is considered as a fast way encryption, and there are many good options for encryption to choose from.

Asymmetric Encryption

While in asymmetric encryption there are two different keys that are used to encrypt and decrypt the data. The key which is used for encryption is known as a public key, and the decryption key is called a private key.

Hashing

Hashing is somewhat different to other two types of encryption. It also uses cryptography, but in this encryption, a definite-length signature set is formed for every data. Moreover, the decrypted data in hashing is incorrigible which is impossible to reverse or change. Hence, it ensures the security of your data round the clock.

How Can I Set Up Encryption?

There are many encryption software in the market in which many of them are free and easy to download. This encryption guide is purposed to tell how you can setup the following encryptions.

How To Encrypt Your Internet Data Traffic Using VPN Encryption

As it name suggests, VPN encryption also follows the fundamental rule of encryption that is to transform your data into some unreadable codes which only be decoded with an encryption key. Similarly, VPN encryption does the same. But, unlike others, VPN encryption key is not just a password. Instead, it is done by the VPN protocols. Moreover, almost all the commercial leading VPN providers offer a broad range of VPN protocols that vary according to their security level. These protocols tighten the security of encrypted tunnel and ensure to make your data traffic impossible to be intercepted. Follow the step below in the encryption guide to setup VPN encryption. (Also read, VPN Guide – Everything a Beginner Needs to Know About VPN)

  • Go to the recommended VPN website and subscribe to any of their suitable packages.
  • The payment method is self-explanatory there, you can even choose to pay via Bitcoin.
  • Once you are done with payment and subscription procedure. You will be redirected to a page from where you can download the software along with your account credentials.
  • Now download the software and open it. Enter your account username and password, select any desired server location and connect to enjoy the most secured VPN connection.

How To Encrypt Your Data Using AxCrypt

Remarkably, AxCrypt is the leading open source file encryption software for Windows. It integrates seamlessly with Windows to compress, encrypt, decrypt, store, send and work with individual files. Follow the steps given below to set up its encryption.

  • Head over to www.axantum.com. On the download page, select the first file from the list.
  • If you are only after AxCrypt, uncheck all the other additional software it tries to install it.
  • Now, right click on the file and folder you want to encrypt. Select AxCrypt from the menu and select Encrypt to encode one or all the files present in the respective folder.
  • Once it is installed, the program will ask you about whether or not you want to register. It is up to you if you like to be on their mailing list or not.
  • Decide a passphrase that will work as an encryption key used to encrypt your data. Remember the longer and more complicated, the better!

Note:
Whenever you want to access your file, AxCrypt will ask you for the passphrase. Type in the passphrase but never check the Remember passphrase for decryption option. As it will kill the purpose of encrypting your data.

How To Encrypt Your Data Using AESCrypt

Besides, AESCrypt comes handy for those who use Mac OS; as it is an advanced, simple and free file encryption tool. Follow the simple steps given below in encryption guide to set up the encryption.

  • Firstly, visit AESCrypt website and download the package available for Mac.
  • Open up the zip-file, unzip it and open the installer. Click Continue and then install as normal.
  • Open AESCrypt application.
  • If prompted, enter an admin password.
  • Drag and drop the document you wish to encrypt into the AESCrypt app on the Dock bar.
  • Lastly, enter a password to encrypt the file.
  • In order to decrypt the file, simply use the same password.
  • Your file or folder is now encrypted.

How To Encrypt the Data Stored On the Cloud

Singularly, Cloudfogger is an easy-to-use method for encrypting your files saved to your Cloud storage folders; such as Dropbox and SkyDrive. Following are the steps by which you can set up its encryption.

  • Firstly, head to www.cloudfogger.com and click “Cloudfogger Download.”
  • Open the downloaded file and follow the installer prompts.
  • Create an account by entering your email address and also a passphrase.
    Once installed, open the program.
  • Once registered, you can start encrypting the data. Right click on the file or folder you wish to encrypt and select Cloudfogger, followed by Fogg File(s).
  • Your file or folder is now encrypted. Click OK to confirm the protection.

How To Encrypt Your Emails:

Virtru is a free email encryption service that will protect any Gmail, Outlook or Yahoo services. It currently works as a browser extension for Chrome and Firefox and is also a mobile app. Here is how you can set up its encryption. (also check, How to Secure Your Email-A complete Email Encryption Guide)

  • First of all, go to www.Virtru.com and select Get Virtru.
  • Follow the prompts to install Virtru as a browser extension.
  • Click Install now to complete the process.
  • Once installed, ensure the extension supports your browser.
  • While composing a secure email, enable Virtru by using the top-right hand corner box.
  • You can easily disable it by dragging the switch to the left. Consequently, the box will change to gray if switched off.

Note:
Since no installation is necessary at the end of all the recipient. Therefore, they need to verify their identity to read any encrypted message.

Conclusion-Encryption Guide

In conclusion, all I want to add is, you do not need to be a computer wizard to start encrypting your data. With just a few steps from our Encryption guide above, your data and personal information can remain exactly as they should be, Private! (also see, A COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE TO IP LEAKS)

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