When you store your data with a third party provider like Dropbox, you put trust in the storage provider’s security controls to protect your data. While all good storage providers encrypt their data locally and during transmission, you can add an additional layer of security to really lock down your data and keep prying eyes away.
In the past, we’ve shown you how to create a secure, encrypted volume on your PC or USB drive; however, you need to use a PC to access the data. In this guide, we share an application that encrypts your data while still providing access to your data from any Windows, Mac, or Linux PC as well as from an iOS, Android, or Windows RT device.
Note: I’ve been using BoxCryptor for a month and have found it to be a suitable solution to protecting my data; however, as it’s still a relatively new piece of software, you may find a bug or two (for example: when renaming a file, BoxCryptor attempts to delete the file—not the letter in the file name—when you press the delete key.)
This guide is written with Dropbox as the provider; however, Secomba have recently introduced SkyDrive and Google Drive support in their iOS app. BoxCryptor is compatible with all cloud backup products that utilize the Windows file structure to store files.
Install BoxCryptor and Create a Secure Folder
BoxCryptor creates a secure folder on your hard drive in which you can store sensitive files. To create and start using a secure folder:
1. Install BoxCryptor
Note: I recommend a portable installation; this way you can have access to the BoxCryptor application on any PC on which you have Dropbox set up
2. Open BoxCryptor and click New
3. Browse to your Dropbox root folder or a folder within your Dropbox
4. Type a name for the new, secure folder i.e. secure and click Next
5. Type a strong password and click Next
6. You can accept the defaults for the encrypted folder and click Finish
Important: When BoxCryptor creates a secure folder, it stores the configuration (including information needed to decrypt your data) in a configuration file within the folder. Without this file, you will not have access to your data.
7. Before continuing, save a backup copy of your configuration file in a safe location. Click Close.
Optional: If you opted for a portable installation in step 1, I recommend you put a shortcut to BoxCryptor in your secure folder for quick access:
Open and Store Files in Your Secure Folder
To open your secure folder and place files within it:
1. Open BoxCryptor and click Open
2. Click Browse, locate your folder and click Next
3. Click Finish
4. Enter your password and click OK
5. Now add files to your secure folder by dragging them into BoxCryptor. To access these files, repeat steps 1-4 above
Optional: Browse to your secure folder in Windows/File Explorer (Windows Key + E) and attempt to open your encrypted file. The file will not load:
Access Your Data from Your Smart Device
To access your data from your smart device, download the app for your operating system:
- Windows RT (Note this app currently only supports SkyDrive)
To protect your data without you having to type your password each time, you can use a pin code instead:
From BoxCryptor, you can open your files in one of your compatible applications:
Although currently limited to Sky Drive, BoxCryptor works great on Windows 8 RT. Click the image below to download:
Change Your BoxCryptor Password
To change your password at any time:
1. Open BoxCryptor and click Change Password
2. Enter your current password and your new password twice and click OK.
Delete Your BoxCryptor Folder
You can delete your secure folder at any time simply by browsing to the folder in Windows/File Explorer (Windows Key + E) and deleting it.
Now you’ve encrypted your data, I recommend you enable two-step verification on your Dropbox account.