Secure Your Cloud Storage with BoxCryptor

Do you know the feeling you get when you lose critically important data? Yeah, that sinking one. I went through the same ordeal a couple of days back and learned the hard way that not even cloud storage services are safe from unwanted data access and data theft.

Utterly flabbergasted at the loss of data, I set out to look for something which would help me keep my data safe, even over a cloud storage network and found BoxCryptor. Is it any good? Read on to find out…

A few hours of searching and consulting some likeminded people (read: geeks), I was able to find the perfect answer to my needs. The aforementioned BoxCryptor!

As soon as I went through the features of this handy tool, I realized that this would be the obvious choice for anyone who would want added protection for their documents online.

The Nitty Gritty of BoxCryptor

BoxCryptor works closely with your preferred cloud storage service and helps in encrypting the most important data that you upload to this service. Apart from the AES-256 encryption standard, BoxCryptor also provided me with an interesting encryption option that allowed me to encrypt the filenames which were being reflected on my cloud storage account.

Since most of my data loss was based on the fact that the hacker knew which files were important to me, I found it crucial to encrypt my filenames. I decided to use BoxCryptor with Dropbox as this is the major cloud storage service that I utilize for the storage of my important documents.

BoxCryptor has the ability to carry out a file by file encryption and seamlessly synchronize the two versions of the files. The added features of filename encryption and AES-256 encryption standard were definitely appealing and made me try this interesting piece of software.

Setup and Synchronizing

The main confusion that I faced while installing BoxCryptor was the package to choose and I finally settled with the free version (Yes, I love freebies!).

The basic offering of BoxCryptor is free and it allows me to encrypt upto a 2GB limit. Currently, that is more than enough and in case I consider an upgrade in the future, the $20 personal version with an unlimited storage would fit the bill nicely. Other than that, BoxCryptor also comes as a $50 corporate version which can be utilized by businesses and corporations.

Once I decided the type of package I wanted, installation was a breeze and after just a couple of steps, I was on my way to encrypting and securing my data. The following were the major steps I encountered while installing BoxCryptor.

  • Getting BoxCryptor and Starting with the Installation
    For getting the BoxCryptor installer, I logged into their website and downloaded the free installer. A helpful feature of the installer was that it automatically detected Dropbox on my drive and synchronized automatically. Sweet!
  • Configuring the Source Directory and Virtual Drive of BoxCryptor
    As soon as the initial setup finished, I was asked to configure the source directory in which the encrypted files would be stored. By default, the installer took this to be inside the Dropbox folder on my system, with the name of BoxCryptor. Not that I need to mention this, you can simply choose another name for the directory too. While selecting the virtual drive, I had to assign a drive letter to it. Basically, this is the drive in which the files to be encrypted would be placed and would then be reflected in your encrypted Dropbox folder. I chose the X: for this.

    Picking the BoxCryptor source directory

    Picking the BoxCryptor source directory

  • Setting an Encryption Password
    The last step was the selection of an encryption password which would be used for all the encryptions in the future. I personally recommend you to select a password which is strong and cannot be guessed easily. A weak or easily guessable password is the biggest online blunder that anyone can make as it jeopardizes the whole concept of security.

    The key to your encrypted data, choose wisely!

    The key to your encrypted data, choose wisely!

Don’t touch the Dropbox BoxCryptor subdirectory!! Yes, this is a definite warning and you should heed to it as there are some important files in this folder which are responsible for carrying out your encryption-decryption cycle. Just use the virtual directory that you have created for the job and dump all your files there for active encryption and synchronization with the Dropbox storage service.

Just to give you a brief understanding of the working of BoxCryptor, here is a look at my BoxCryptor virtual drive. Ignore the contents of the drive please!

Sneak peek into the BoxCryptor virtual drive

Sneak peek into the BoxCryptor virtual drive

And here is the corresponding screenshot of Dropbox’s BoxCryptor folder that has been encrypted and secured:

TADA! Encryption complete!

TADA! Encryption complete!

Oh yeah, about the green checkmarks, they are indicators showing that the changes that have been made into these files have been updated in the main Dropbox server. Any editing in the main files is reflected in the encrypted copies and uploaded into the main Dropbox server instantly. Beautiful magic!

And Finally!

BoxCryptor is not one of those fancy software programs which concentrates on the bling-bling and shiny presentation, it just means downright business and gets started from the word Go.

The intelligent encryption, filename encryption, simplicity, helpful UI and a to-the-point execution of regular tasks have made this as my default software for carrying out all the encryption. I totally loved the fact that the entire process, from installation to the usage, was hassle free and suitable for all sorts of users.

The only additional thing that I wish for is that BoxCryptor pumps up its storage limit from 2GB to 5GB, for the free version. Yes, I know that is wishful thinking but, oh well!

If you have been using BoxCryptor, don’t hesitate to give us a shout here and tell us what you think about it. Feel free to point out any features we might have missed here, or add something which you think would be useful. Till then, encrypt your way to data safety and thank you so much for reading!


Summary

BoxCryptor is a cryptographic virtual harddisk that encrypts all data on-the-fly using the AES-256 standard. Encrypted data is stored in an arbitrary directory of your choice, e.g. one that is synced to the cloud like your Dropbox folder.

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