An Introduction To Freeware Encryption Tools

Discussion in 'privacy technology' started by luv2bsecure, Sep 29, 2002.

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  1. luv2bsecure

    luv2bsecure Infrequent Poster

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    Hello All!

    I was going to answer NOTAGEEK in his thread asking about two freeware programs. But I have been thinking about a thread on the subject of freeware encryption for some time.

    First, NOTAGEEK, I can tell you about EasyCrypto Deluxe -- simply an excellent program. When checked for encryption integrity (using the best of tools) it passed with flying colors. HandyBits has some really good software actually. Info on EasyCrypto can be found here:
    http://www.handybits.com/easycrypto.htm

    When it comes to freeware encryption, there are three major things you have to be on the watch for:

    1: "secret" "proprietary" encryption methods. Do NOT use them. Stick with the tried and true - those algorithms that have stood up to rigorous testing and peer review.

    2: Backdoors. Many of these little freeware encryption programs will have an "administration ability" to retrieve the key, sometimes by writing the company - well, if it's that easy - forget it.

    3: Programming skills. Cryptography is a mathematical science. Everyone thinks they know how to write an encryption program. Few really do know how - and how to do it right. It has always been considered a specialty. Not anymore. The same guy who writes a calendar program and is offered at WebAttack or download.com now offers encryption programs with his own "secret" or "proprietary" algorithm.

    As for HandyBits - they score well on all of these. Yes, they make other things, but they use encryption methods that are proven and don't try to write their own. EasyCrypto Deluxe uses 128-bit Blowfish.

    NOTAGEEK also asked about PowerCrypt 2000. Stay away. A "secret" algorithm is used. (cough, cough). They make claims such as, "Make sure your files are safe with a 100% secure encryption algorithm. This encryption is unbreakable (including NSA and CIA)." (From their website)....

    I agree with Bruce Schneier on this one -- if anyone claims their encryption is "unbreakable" ------RUN! There's no such thing. It just depends on how much time, effort and money one wants to put into breaking it. Granted, it may take 500 years and a million dollars - but that doesn't equal unbreakable. Plus, as he says all the time - we DO NOT KNOW WITH CERTAINTY the true capabilities of the NSA or the CIA or the DIA or MI5, the Mossad, etc. We just don't know. So, unbreakable? Never believe it.

    Other good choices in FREEWARE encryption:

    PGPfreeware
    http://web.mit.edu/network/pgp.html

    HidePro
    http://www.tihy.ro/eng/index.html
    HidePro is not well-known, but is an excellent free encryption tool. Uses DES and AES. (Never use simple DES...but the AES is great - and for free!) With a very simple interface and self-decrypting executables - it's also great for email. This tested very, very well.

    ABICoder
    http://www.abisoft.net/bd.html
    A can't miss. Uses 448 bit Blowfish and 168 bit 3DES encryption algorithms. Excellent.

    These are the free programs I can recommend with certainty. They all passed the testing process and that is crucial. So many freeware download sites will give 5-stars to an encryption program because it has a pretty interface. NOT the way to select a program to secure your data.

    Some might ask how you "test" cryptography. First, and most importantly, you can test if it was encrypted at all - and then you can test the veracity of the encryption. This is done using software that compares the original text (called the plaintext) and then compare it with the end result called the "ciphertext", which was produced by the program from the original "plaintext". You need cooperation to do this with the developer as you need samples ("text vectors"). Everything I mentioned above was tested using this method and the developers willingly supplied the samples to the university.

    Just some thoughts when looking at protecting your data with encryption --- and doing it for free.

    Sorry for the length, but wanted to cover the basic bases on freeware encryption and cryptography is not something easily written about in a short byte or two.

    Have a good day!
    John
    Luv2BSecure
     
  2. Technodrome

    Technodrome Security Expert

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    Good stuff John! ;)


    Technodrome
     
  3. FanJ

    FanJ Guest

    John, I fully second TD's posting; excellent !!!
     
  4. notageek

    notageek Registered Member

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    Luv2bsecure, thanks for pointing this out. Thanks for all this info.
     
  5. root

    root Registered Member

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    Excellent John and thanks.
    I would like to share a little freeware encryption tool that I have used for years. It is excellent in what it does, which is lock files from prying eyes. It is called Cryptext and can be found here. http://www.pcug.org.au/~njpayne/
     
  6. peakaboo

    peakaboo Registered Member

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    Has anyone tried A-Lock (free version)

    http://www.pc-encrypt.com/_site/alock/download.mhtml

    if so would be interested in any comments good, bad or indifferent.
     
  7. peakaboo

    peakaboo Registered Member

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    Has anyone tried ABI coder and liked it enough to recommend?

    When I look at the user ratings at ZD.net or Cnet getting consistant negative ratings by users but no explanation of why.

    What is the deal here, high rec from luv makes me want to try the software yet consistent low user marks say stay away for now o_O

    Also in the ABI forum seeing some issues.
     
  8. notageek

    notageek Registered Member

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    I tried ABI and didn't like it at all.
     
  9. peakaboo

    peakaboo Registered Member

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    I missread the ratings at c/net seems like the users like it there with 11 votes - 100% thumbs up.

    zd.net still rates it 1 user vote - 100% thumbs down

    no verbage or explanation.

    BTW thank you notageek for your opinion on this software. What was the worst thing in your opinion which ABI coder was lacking or was most irratating if applicable.

    Anyone else tried ABI coder?
     
  10. notageek

    notageek Registered Member

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    The thing I didn't like was that it froze most of the time. It was at the point that I had to reboot my computer when I tried to use it. Luckly i was able to encrypt 1 file (the sad part is that it froze all the time and I couldn't unencrypt the file. Glad it was a test file.) ;) That was my main gripe with the program.
     
  11. snowman

    snowman Guest

    Luv2b.....Greetings

    Having always highly respected your opinion in this area..(an of course you).....I've decided to give EastC a try....just DL'ed it. In the past I've had rather disappointing experiences will crypto applications an was sincerely glad that you made this post......otherwise, its very doubtful I would ever try such an application again. Even if EasyC does not sufice for my needs/skills I remain grateful to you for the advice.

    snowman
     
  12. luv2bsecure

    luv2bsecure Infrequent Poster

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    HI SNOWY!!!!

    Goodness it's good to see you here again. You have been missed by many.

    I hope you like ECD .... it's truly a quality program.

    If you get a chance, good or bad, come back here and let us all know what you thought.

    Quickly, I respected your "Internet getaway" so very much. I think, in fact, it is a very healthy thing that can't help but "ground" one to the "real world." But, don't do it too often :( - we missed you!

    John
    Luv2bSecure
     
  13. snowman

    snowman Guest

    John

    an great to hear from you....thanks.

    installed ECD a couple of hours ago.....super great product!!!!! Very easy to use.....althought as yet I haven't given it the full treatment.......its one of the few products of this nature that I truely like. Very fast! I didn't notice which encryption its using.......respecting you as I do I just went on your knowledge of this product.......
    ECD..plus Eraser....makes a good team. Thank you very much for the heads-up.......will drop in again once I try all the features.

    Warm Regards

    Snowman
     
  14. snowman

    snowman Guest

    Lov2B



    John as par your request a brief user commment on ECD.

    ECD works great as previously reported. Easy of use is exceptional....encrypytion 128 bit blowfish which should do the job well enough.

    One flaw....I consider it as MAJOR....EDC will not fully un-install.. leaves alot behind most of which can be removed if the proper tools are employed...but one thing in particular has so far evaded my every effort to get rid of.
    teknum systems/update service

    Have tryed everything from cleaning the registry..changing Key.. Value..etc...deletion...nothing has worked.....not even in safemode.....this Thing replaces itself each time and immediately. It appears to be residing in ssmenu......
    Fortunately it does not call home....unless its piggiebacking unseen....not likely. But what it will do is keep placing itself in msconfig Start.....enabled. For the moment it seems I have somehow cripple it from doing that.

    all in all EDC is a good encryption program...but does need an improved un-installer.

    best regards

    snowman
     
  15. Ghost

    Ghost Guest

    John - I note in the page about ECD: "Securely wiping files - After you encrypt files, EasyCrypto securely wipes originals automatically."

    Does PGP 8.0 have a similar function?
     
  16. notageek

    notageek Registered Member

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    I hope I'm not stepping on any toes here. ;) But PGP 8.0 has a wipe function also.
     
  17. JayK

    JayK Poster

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    And many versions before that too! I use it to delete all my files (right click file context menu) altough nowadays I use eraser (35 passes).

    I'm considering using a good password safe to keep all my passwords.It's all very well trying to do good password practices but it's so hard to remember everything.(even the more important ones only).

    But is using a software to save all the passwords a good idea? Seems to me it create too tempting a target for snoops..and any single flaw (i've read about memory leaks and windows use of swap files and whatnot) will compromise all your passwords.

    Do any of you use a password manager?

    I'm considering counterpane's but i've read of some problems about it.. Like the source was never released despite promises..
     
  18. LowWaterMark

    LowWaterMark Administrator

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  19. peakaboo

    peakaboo Registered Member

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    I ran across an email privacy program called acrypt:

    http://www.acrypt.com/

    Anyone try this yet? If so please provide feedback, good bad or indifferent.

    more info:

    aCrypt+ is a secure, fast and efficient way to e-mail securely encrypted attachments as self extracting executable files. The recipient does not need any software to decrypt the package. Typical uses of aCrypt include :

    aCrypt+ + is free.

    aCrypt first used Twofish, one of the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) candidate algorithim. This algorithm was designed by Counterpane systems and Bruce Schneier.

    Since October 2000, aCrypt uses Rijndael, the AES winning algorithm.

    The random number generator uses Knuth's additive generator. The key length is currently hard-coded to 128 bits, a length that is generally considered to be unbreakable by brute force in the current stated of the technology. This limit was also chosen to comply with the current French legislation.

    Please remember that the strength of a symmetric cryptographic algorithm such as the one used by aCrypt depends only on the secrecy of the password.
     
  20. sk

    sk Registered Member

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    Just wanted to say 'nice post', John. Thanks.

    sk
     
  21. JayK

    JayK Poster

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    Thanks

    "Lowwatermark"
     
  22. rpk2006

    rpk2006 Registered Member

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    Nice Help everybody.

    I just downloaded yet another freeware called:
    "AdvaCrypt_Suite3".
    Its link is: http://www.advacrypt.cjb.net

    Has anybody tried it? Please give your valuable suggestions.

    Also, is there any tool or site which tests the Encryption Programs?
     
  23. Pieter_Arntz

    Pieter_Arntz Spyware Veteran

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    Hi Rohit Prakash Khare,

    Welcome at Wilders. :)

    There is no need to repeat your questions in another thread.
    That will only lead to double answers and confusion.
    Better for your and our sake to only post them once.
    I hope you understand our reasons.

    Thanks in advance,

    Pieter
     
  24. rpk2006

    rpk2006 Registered Member

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    Sorry Peter.
     
  25. brian gill

    brian gill Guest

    I think I`m correct when I say that AbiCoder is no longer Freeware,but that the previous free versions are still there for download-and that they seem little different in practice.May I also suggest(altho I`m open to expert criticism) the use of the freeware "File2File" for encryption? It`s at www.cryptomathic.com/file2file/
     
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