Encryption Software

ben1211
ben1211 used Ask the Experts™
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I am looking for a File Encryption Software, whereby once a file has been encrypted and sent to a recipient, the recipient doesn't need to have that particular software installed in order to decrypt the file.

Is there such a software available? If anybody knows of such encryption software, please send me the link.
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Commented:
Give Voltage a try. They have a free trial and the recipients do not need software on their end, as you requested.

http://www.voltage.com/vsn/freetrial.htm

TK
Software and Hardware Engineer
Commented:
Normally encryption solutions can be broken into three sets (in this context)

1) Software that requires a downloadable installable program (including those that provide it as a one-shot java applet via a website, where "install" is a bit of a misnomer)

2) Software that produces a self-decrypting executable the user must run (I will leave aside the wisdom of running exes you get via the internet these days)

3) Software that requires you either visit a website for the decryption, or store the encrypted file there and decrypt/download from the site.

Personally, I usually use 7zip in this context - its free, can produce self-decrypting archives, and said archives can be also decrypted using the full tool if it is available. I tend not to trust sites where the site has access to the decrypted product, however briefly - if you are going to trust a site with the file, you might as well just upload it there and let the recipient dowload it via SSL, its easier to set up and effectively the same thing.

Author

Commented:
hi TK-77. Thanks for the link. But it seems that I have to subscribe to it - 65 US dollars!!!

Would you know of any good free software or at least something that's cheaper...much cheaper than 65 bucks!

Commented:
Hi ben1211,

7Zip will work, as DaveHowe suggested. 7Zip is a free alternative to Winzip which will let you encrypt files and password protect them. You can download 7Zip here: http://www.7zip.com/

It all depends on your budget and application. With 7Zip you will have to provide a password to every recipient you send an encrypted email/file to...or they won't be able to open it. If that's not an issue, than use 7Zip.

However, if you want to be able to send encrypted files to a lot of different people without having to follow up with a password, you might find 7Zip cumbersome. For every email you send, you will have to keep sending the recipients passwords in a separate email or by calling them with the password. Obviously you don't want to include the password in the same email as the encrypted/password protected email/file or that defeats the purpose. : )

7Zip is free and Voltage has a 30-day free trial. Give both of them a try and see which works best for your needs.

TK
Commented:
Another thought I just had...

If you only plan on encrypting files for a select group of recipients, then I would highly recommend using a public-key encryption program like GnuPG (a free alternative to PGP).
http://www.gnupg.org/

Yes, you have to install the software on the recipients PC, but they will only have to remember 1 password and the security is much better that 7Zip and Winzip. If you want to be able to send encrypted emails to "anyone" at a moments notice, then this probably won't work for you.

I just thought I'd throw that out there. Like I previously said, it all comes down to your specific application and needs.

TK
Dave HoweSoftware and Hardware Engineer

Commented:
problem with gpg/pgp is that you must have the software installed. the only real exception there is that there is a webmail provider that also supports gpg encryption (hushmail)

there is another similar alternative called s/mime - s/mime uses the same principles as gpg/pgp, but the software for it is *built into* almost every mail client that exists (there are exceptions, but not many).

second issue with gpg (and more so in s/mime) is that, in order to send to customer x, customer x must first create and send to you a public key; you then use that public key to send to them. Not that hard, but getting recipients motivated to do so is the big hurdle of public key encryption, not the software *sigh*

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