In this era of pervasive surveillance by state actors, interest in encryption by the private section is at an all time high. Prior to the Snowden revelations, encryption was hard to do and therefore, not easily accessible by the average email or cloud user. Recently though, I have started using two services that make encryption a whole lot easier for email and for cloud storage. The jury is out on how well the encryption is implemented but I believe that some encryption is better than none, if only because you have to defend against other private snoopers who aren't as well funded as state actors. So, good- enough encryption is still worthwhile and can prevent your average eavesdropper from running away with your valuable secrets.
Here are the two products I've been using:
1. VirTru: This is an email plug-in that works with Outlook, Gmail, Hotmail and a bunch of other email clients. One click is all that is needed to encrypt an email. If the recipient is a Virtru user, the decryption is done in the background and transparently. If they are not a Virtru user, then they just need to click on some confirmation links to prove that they are indeed in control of the email address at which point they are allowed access to the message. The feature that makes this work really well is that the sender only has to do ONE CLICK to get strong encryption in the email and the encryption process is supported across all major browsers, email services, devices and email clients. The odds of a recipient not being able to access an encrypted message is quite low.
2. BoxCryptor: This is an add-on for your computer that allows you to transparently encrypt files in most major cloud services - I've been using it in DropBox. Most cloud services store your files on your PC and on their servers without encryption so anyone with access to the server or the PC has access to your files. BoxCryptor makes it so that everything is automatically encrypted at rest. The downside is that you have to use the Boxcryptor client to access files but that's been no big deal since its will integrated into the Windows OS File Explorer. The paid version even allows the file names to be encrypted so that when someone uses, say, the dropbox client, they can't even tell what the files are named or even what kind they are.
Between these two products, most of your encryption needs can be met in such a way that the odds are that the only people that can break into your files and emails are well funded state actors such as the NSA. I believe that everyone should use these tools (or similar). And yes, I know, this blog is labelled "Market Musings" but I believe so strongly in online privacy protection that I am taking some time out to go off-topic.
Nigel Bahadur's normal market observations - usually about the US Futures market. Occasionally though, he will express thoughts on individual stocks and FOREX cross rates.