All about privacy software
If you or your company deals with a lot of sensitive private data that could wreak havoc if it wound up in the wrong hands, encryption software is a must. Also known as privacy software, these powerful tools use complex algorithms to encode email messages, hard drives (or sectors of hard drives), individual files and files stored on removable media. They can only be deciphered if the end user has the proper key, something that is virtually impossible to guess or otherwise generate.
How Data Encryption Software Works
Whether you're using email encryption software, file encryption software or a generalized application designed for a wide range of purposes, the process works the same way. There are many different encryption algorithms used in computer software; the most secure are Rijndael, Serpent, Twofish, RC6 and MARS. Using your choice of algorithms, you specify files, messages, drives or drive sectors to encrypt. The program runs the encryption algorithm of your choice over the selected files or drives, and the data becomes unreadable.
To recover the information stored in the file or the message you've encrypted, you have to apply a decryption algorithm or key that reverses the ciphering. The reason the above listed algorithms are so secure is that it is virtually impossible to detect any kind of ciphering pattern in their encryptions. It's not that a malicious third-party interceptor of your files or messages would be unable to recognize which algorithm was used to encrypt the data; it's that such a user would not be able to decode it.
Uses of Privacy Software
There are many applications for encryption software, but its most common uses lie in encrypting whole disks (using on-the-fly encryption software or OTFE software), individual files or folders and outbound or inbound communications. This includes both email messages as well as instant messages. You can also get encryption network software, which encrypts traffic moving through your network.
While you can find and use free encryption software, this is not the most secure choice available to you. Free programs tend to use generic algorithms, and hackers may have tools at their disposal which makes it easy to decipher your encoded files or messages. It's much wiser to invest in a trusted, paid product made by a reputable manufacturer. If security and privacy are of paramount importance to you or your company, then using powerful, quality encryption software is well worth the investment.