With the arrival of ransomware viruses, the term “encryption” has acquired many negative connotations. If the encryption software is applied for the right purpose, your personal files can be well protected from unauthorized access.
However, there are two ways of applying encryption. The illegal one is the way of encrypting data for a ransom, and the legitimate one is the one that can be used for the purpose of personal data protection. In general, the encryption technique is especially useful to share sensitive information, to protect database files from possible leakage, and generally to keep the information in your system safe from unauthorized access. Let us discuss individually each of these uses.
Legitimate software for file Encryption – do you need it?
If you are questioning whether file encryption is really helpful and needed, you should keep in mind that hackers can easily crack your PC’s password with a little tinkering with its programming and if such an intrusion happens, your files will not be protected without encryption. This explains why it is especially helpful to have a data-protection method like encryption in order to lock your data with a special code and be able to share confidential information, protect your cloud storage files from possible leaks or secure your device’s information in general.
Fortunately, all popular operating systems, including Windows, Mac OS X and Linux provide built-in file encryption solutions for their users. In addition, plenty of applications that you may download from the internet offer file-encryption services. You only have to carefully research and pick the ones that are developed by known and reputed software developers.
Many users don’t know that popular archivers like Zip, 7-Zip and similar data-compression programs can also encrypt files successfully. Such tools can be downloaded for free on any operation system and can make it easy to manage, transfer and store encrypted files on external drives. Given their simplicity, the data-compression programs can be powerful tools that can protect your digital records.
Encryption for smartphone protection
Nowadays, since smartphones are used as often, or even more often than computers, the protection of data on these devices is becoming increasingly important. That’s why the good old PIN code isn’t enough anymore for the safety of your data. In response to this, many mobile OS developers are now adding built-in encryption as one of the security options for mobile devices. Apple, for example, despite not having a manual cryptographic option, does enable its users to protect the majority of files on the device with a passcode that guarantees encryption. Android OS, on the other hand, enables full disk encryption, which does not allow access to the content on the device without a password.
Dangerous file-encryption programs
Ransomware is a favorite tool for quick money extortion that is based on data encryption and is preferred by a lot of online crooks. The cyber criminals who develop file-encrypting ransomware threats use them to secretly encrypt user files and to demand large sums of money from the victims in exchange for providing them with a specially generated file-decryption key.
Security professionals intensively research on alternative decryptors in order to counteract the money-extortion scheme of the growing number of ransomware infections. However, taking precaution measures to keep your devices safe and secure is the best way to prevent data from being compromised by file-encrypting viruses. That’s why the investment in reliable antivirus tools should be one of your main concerns. It should also be remembered that encryption of files with legal programs will not defend you against potential ransomware attacks. For this reason, creating regular backups of the information that you don’t want to lose is the best way to protect it. More so since the illegal encryption of data with ransomware infections is an increasing problem that is bothering a lot of web users.