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File Encryption: more important than you think

A businessman has left their laptop on the train – their trade secrets have spilled open for the competition to capitalize on. We see it in celebrities getting their unsecured networks hacked and having their gallery leaked for the whole world. Those issues could have been avoided if the victims had only invested time in file encryption. This article tells you how vital it is to keep your electronic secrets safe and just how easy it is to encrypt data.

Charles Whitmore

Charles Whitmore

File Encryption: more important than you think

Why should I encrypt my files?

Your electronic information needs to be treated with the same care as your physical belongings – encrypting your electronic data should be in the same realm as locking your house before you leave. What if you leave your device at a restaurant, or on public transport?

Sure there are passwords, PINs and 2FAs but with enough time – and know-how – a determined hacker will eventually find a way into your device. The trick is to provide enough hurdles that they ultimately give up and look for easier prey. File encryption is the best kind of spanner you can throw into a would-be-hacker’s works. Once your data is encrypted, it will take an absurd amount of time to decode it.

What is the meaning of encryption?

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Data encryption is a process during which a file or website is scrambled to a point where only someone with a specific key or password can unscramble it. Anyone else will only see gibberish. The stronger the encryption – the longer it will take to break. All of our products are secured with AES-256 encryption, the same security-strength that some governments use. This means that the key to unlock the secured data has 2^256 possible combinations to try, or to put it in perspective, hundreds of years to break.

With just a click of a button, NordVPN will secure all your online activity. How does a VPN work? Once you’re connected to one of our remote servers, your online traffic is redirected through a secure ‘tunnel’. Your IP address is now hidden and all information coming in and out of your computer will be incomprehensible to prying eyes.

Securing your files or networks with a password won’t cut it anymore. A password is easily gained from someone with the right know-how. Encryption is the extra electronic-kevlar layer that will make hackers abandon their attack and look for a less tech-savvy victim.

Take a second to think about all the sensitive data you have on your device or computer. Your photos sent to friends or loved ones. Memories or videos that were only meant for a select group of people. Important medical documents. All of this information is at the mercy of a hacker if you don’t encrypt your data.

How do I encrypt my files?

Encrypting your files is simple. Windows and Mac computers have file encryption software already built into their software. Unfortunately, it isn’t a default setting. For Windows, the file encryption software is called BitLocker – for Macs, it’s FileVault.

BitLocker and FileVault automatically encrypts all your files – you can’t selectively pick and choose. This could slow down your CPU performance and the act of full hard drive encryption could take hours. Each time you want to access your files, you’ll be prompted to enter a password of your choice. Encrypting an external flash drive is just as easy.

The best way to keep your files safe is by using a 3rd party encryption software like NordLocker. You can pick which files on your device you want to encrypt by dragging and dropping them into your NordLocker folder – notes, documents, photos and videos, financial data, even music playlists. You can also move them to NordLocker’s cloud if you’re running low on space in your hard drive.

How else can you keep your data safe?

A VPN and file encryption software are robust defense methods, but they’re also the last bastion of defense – a method that’s supposed to waste a cyber-criminal’s efforts to break into your device. Don’t forget to cover the rest of your bases. Here’s what you can do:

  • Use these tips to create strong passwords and keep them safe in a password manager. NordPass will create optimized passwords for you and keep them in an encrypted vault.
  • Get to know your enemy. Arm yourself with knowledge and learn about the most common attacks like phishing attacks and man-in-the-middle invasions.
  • Use NordVPN. It will encrypt your traffic so that no snoopers can intercept your online activity. And its Threat Protection feature will make you extra safe online by scanning your downloads for malware and blocking trackers, intrusive ads, and malicious websites.
  • Be wary of Public WiFi Public networks are hotspots for hackers. Whenever you connect, make sure you activate your VPN before you begin to input any sensitive information.

Act on the advice provided in this article and you’ll be keeping hackers frustrated to the point of abandonment.

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Charles Whitmore
Charles Whitmore Charles Whitmore
Charles is a content writer with a passion for online privacy and freedom of knowledge. A technophile with a weakness for full Smart Home integration – he believes everyone should strive to keep up-to-date with their cybersec.