Is email secure? If you send files to someone using email, could someone access them? To prevent anyone but the intended recipient from accessing emailed files, encrypt them for security.
Sometimes you have to send files to co-workers, customers, clients or friends and you might worry if they contain sensitive or personal information. Could someone else access them? There is a chance that an email could be intercepted somewhere on the internet between you and the person you are sending it to, or maybe it could be accessed on a company computer by another worker.
Files on your personal computer might also be accessible by others in the workplace or household if it is shared and this might also be a concern.
The solution in all cases is to encrypt files so that only you or the person you are emailing can access them. There are many ways to encrypt files and Encrypto is a free utility from MacPaw. It encrypts files using the 256-bit AES encryption method, which is very secure.
I use the Apple Mac version here and downloaded it from the Mac App Store (search for Encrypto), but there is a Windows PC version as well. The screenshots are from the Mac version, but the PC version is very similar. Here’s how it works.
1 Install and run Encrypto
Go and get yourself a copy of Encrypto, it is free. Mac and PC versions are almost identical, but here I am using the macOS version.
2 Drag files to encrypt them
All you need to do to encrypt one or several files is to select them in Finder (or Explorer) and drag them to the Encrypto window. Drop them to add them.
3 Add a password and a hint
Thumbnails of the files are displayed and the number of files and size is shown. Click below and enter a password and a hint.
The hint is useful and if you are emailing the encrypted file to someone and you could choose a fact that only they are likely to know. Maybe ‘Your second child’s middle name’ is not perfect from a security point of view, a really clever hacker that profiles you might know, but you get the idea. Choose something only the person knows.
You do not have to use a hint and you could agree a completely random and complex hard-to-guess password with the person you want to send the file to. You would need some secure way of letting them know what it is though. Perhaps an encrypted messaging app or even a telephone call – if you think your telephone is being tapped, you are getting paranoid!
4 Send the file or save it
When the file or group of files have been encrypted, which is almost instantaneous for small ones, there are two options, share it or save it to disk. The usual share options appear for macOS, Windows is slightly different.
I will use the Mac Mail app to send the file, but you could use one of the other apps or even save the encrypted file to disk if your aim is to secure files on the disk.
5 Send the file via email
The Mail app automatically opens and a new email message appears. The file is already attached and there is already a message explaining what it is. All you need to do is add an email address in the To box, add the email subject, then enter some explanatory text in the email body. It may not need any if the recipient is expecting the file from you and knows what it is.
6 Decrypt encrypted files
When the person receives the email, they save the encrypted file to disk. Double clicking it automatically opens Encrypto, but you can also drag an encrypted file from a Finder window (Explorer on PC) and drop it on the app.
If you are creating encrypted files on your own disk to protect them from others using your computer, double click them or drag and drop them the same way. Enter the password – notice the hint just above the password box.
7 Save the decrypted files
The files are decrypted to a folder – the name of which is the same as the encrypted file. Click Save As and it can be saved to disk.
That’s it, the decrypted files are saved to a folder on the disk. Use Finder to show it (or Explorer on PC).
Encrypto is a useful utility for anyone that wants to encrypt files on the Apple Mac or Windows PC. It is very easy to use and there are no menus or configuration settings, you just drag files to it and either encrypt or decrypt them as required.
Encrypto can be used on a PC, but I looked at some other encryption tools that are slightly different in this article: Protect files on the PC from unauthorized access: Encrypt them.
MacPaw, the Encrypto developer, has other useful tools you might be interested in, like CleanMyMac X, (affiliate link), which is a great multipurpose utility. Keep your Mac disk clean, protect against malware, free up space and more. I have it on my Mac and recommend it. Check it out.