Freebie AxCrypt Helps You Make Single Files More Secure

AxCrypt offers a simple, free way to encrypt individual files. Right-click a file, a few files, or a folder, select an option from the AxCrypt submenu, enter a password (you can save a default), and the file becomes inaccessible to those not in the know.

AxCrypt screenshot
Encrypt individual files with AxCrypt so that no one can access them without the password.

You can simply encrypt the files, turning each one into an AxCrypt-associated .axx file, encrypt a copy to an .axx file, or encrypt a copy to a self-executing .exe file--handy if you're sending it to someone who doesn't have AxCrypt. Actually, that feature'snot as handy as you might think. Many e-mail systems won't allow you to mail or receive .exe file attachments, making it tricky to send to others.

You can also use AxCrypt to shred a file, overwriting it with random data so it cannot be retrieved. But it's a simple shredder, without using the more complex secure delete algorithms found in programs like Eraser.

Speaking of algorithms, AxCrypt uses 128-bit AES encryption, and doesn't include an option for the presumably more secure AES-256. But according to a report by security expert Bruce Schneier, AES-128 is actually more secure than AES-256, although neither are really breakable in any practical sense--at least if you have a strong password.

AxCrypt provides something for people who don't bother to create a strong password. You can let the program create a Key-File, is a plain text file containing a very long and random string of characters. You therefore don't have to remember the password; you just have to avoid losing the Key-File--and take care not to let the wrong person get their hands on it.

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