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Protect important data with free unbreakable encryption software

January 1, 2007

in All Articles,Encryption and data

he stereotypical movie hero visits his stereotypical hacker friend. The room is poorly lit, but the audience can still see many cans of a popular soft drink. Oddly, all product labels are rotated towards the camera.

Our hero whips out a floppy disk and tosses it to the hacker. “I’ve got this file, but it’s encrypted. Can you get me the information?”

“128-bit AES encryption? No problem,” the hacker smirks, cracking his knuckles. “Give me 5 minutes.”

There are few annoyances greater than Hollywood illusions of easily-broken encryption and obvious soft drink product placement: This is not the way the world works.

It’s quite possible to encrypt files in such a way that no one can read them without knowing a password. Advanced Encryption Standard, or AES, is one flavor of many different types of encryption. Some are better than others, and AES is widely considered the best. In fact, AES has never been broken, and is endorsed by the United States government for securing classified information. So download some free software, and protect your information as securely as the NSA and FBI. Then the only difference between us and them will be a lack of dark sunglasses and those cool badges.

(It should be noted that “unbreakable encryption” should be read as “unbreakable encryption using today’s technology, as the encryption would require far too much processing power to break in a reasonable amount of time, like decades or centuries”.)

Why would you want to encrypt a file? The many reasons often boil down to privacy and confidentiality. Hiding credit card numbers and web site passwords are good examples. Perhaps you archive your finances on a multi-computer network, and want to make sure you are the only person that can read these important documents.

AxCrypt, available at, is a simple but powerful encryption package. It provides unbreakable encryption, can encrypt any file you create, and allows you to share encrypted documents with other people, even if they don’t have AxCrypt installed. Give someone an e-mail attachment or a file on a disk, and they can read the encrypted file if you give them the proper password.

Install AxCrypt, and right-click on any file you want to encrypt. Choose “Encrypt” from the AxCrypt menu, type a password to protect your file, and you’re done. Read the AxCrypt manual for other features and details on picking good passwords.

(Note that while operating systems like Windows and other popular software like WinZip have built-in encryption features, the encryption used is less secure and can be broken.)

Use of encryption software always comes with warnings: AxCrypt is not a toy, and if you encrypt a document and forget the password, your document is most likely unrecoverable. There is no “back door” or way to retrieve properly encrypted information without a password. Keep those passwords in a safe place, or burn them into your brain’s long-term memory. And ditch the movie stereotypes, because even with today’s powerful technology, there are indeed unbreakable codes.

Click for more detailed information on how AES encryption works.

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