Whether you are a government whistleblower needing to lock down your laptop, or a regular Joe just wanting extra security, there are plenty of tools available to secure your data. In this article, we will cover tools to use for file encryption, email, web browsing, steganography, and chatting.
Ever since TrueCrypt shut down in 2014, people have been scrambling to find an alternative solution to encrypting their data. VeraCrypt is a worthy replacement. It is an open-source program for Windows, Linux, and macOS.
- Stops cold-boot attacks (encryption keys stored in memory)
- Gives you plausible deniability
- No known backdoors
- Fixes security issues in TrueCrypt
- Option for a hidden operating system
- Supports cryptographic tokens and smart cards
- Creates on-the-fly encrypted volumes
- Prevents data leaks
- Protects against data theft
VeraCrypt is an all-in-one solution for your file encryption needs. It prevents data theft and leaks and makes your hard drive immune to brute-force attacks. VeraCrypt creates and maintains on-the-fly encrypted volumes. This means that the data is automatically encrypted right before saving and decrypted just after it is accessed. Users can also encrypt their entire hard drive – full disk encryption [PDF]. This includes file/folder names, file contents, free space and metadata.
A user of VeraCrypt can have plausible deniability. Since there is a lack of evidence that any sensitive information exists on the computer, you can safely deny any secrets exist. VeraCrypt creates a hidden invisible volume within a standard partition. The encrypted volume or partition will look like it contains random data.
The software also lets users create a hidden operating system. There will be no proof of its existence. If you are forced to decrypt the regular operating system, the hidden operating systems means you can still cover your tracks.
Download VeraCrypt here.
First seen on the popular show Mr. Robot, ProtonMail offers a secure way to email people.
- End-to-end encryption
- No access to user data
- Open-source cryptography
- Self-destruction messages
- Password-protected messages
ProtonMail headquarters is in Switzerland, and all user data is protected by the Swiss Federal Data Protection Act (DPA), as well as the Swiss Federal Data Protection Ordinance (DPO). ProtonMail is outside of US and EU jurisdiction. Only a court order from the Cantonal Court of Geneva or Swiss Federal Supreme Court can compel the company.
When composing an email, you have the ability to set a password to lock the email, and even set it to self-destruct after a certain amount of hours or days.
No employee ever has access to your data. Everything is encrypted end-to-end. ProtonMail could not hand over your data to a government even if they wanted to. ProtonMail is available for the web, and also has an app for Android and iOS.
TOR stands for The Onion Router, and it is a type of technology for browsing the web anonymously. Employees of the Naval Research Laboratory first developed the concept of onion routing in the mid-1990s. The purpose was to protect U.S. intelligence communications.
The technology works by relaying your computer connection through a series of virtual tunnels, instead of making a direct connection. Tor lets users circumvent censorship technologies used by governments like China and Turkey. The Electronic Frontier Foundation recommends using Tor “as a mechanism for maintaining civil liberties online.”
Steganography means hiding messages in plain sight, usually inside of another message. In computing, it means hiding a message inside of an image, MP3 file or even a video. Most users have no need for this kind of technology. For people that do need this, OpenPuff is here to meet your needs.
OpenPuff is an open-source program that supports a variety of “carrier” file formats:
- Images (BMP, JPG, PCX, PNG, TGA)
- Audio support (AIFF, MP3, NEXT/SUN, WAV)
- Video support (3GP, MP4, MPG, VOB)
- Flash-Adobe support (FLV, SWF, PDF)
Cryptocat is perfect for securely messaging people. It is another open-source program (most security programs are open-source) that offers complete privacy when it comes to messaging. Unlike more proprietary forms of messengers, it does not read your messages for the purpose of advertising.
- Open source: All software sold by Cryptocat is transparently published
- Encrypted by default: Every message is securely encrypted by default, so you do not even have to think about it
- Forward secure: Your chats are secure even if you lose your security keys
- Multiple devices: Available on all platforms, and you can continue to receive messages even when offline
- File Sharing: Securely share files with friends
Download it here.
What security tools do you use and why? Let us know in the comments below.