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When you store files in the cloud, you are placing your trust in the hands of cloud providers that neither they nor third-party integrations will access your cloud data. However, the risk diminishes when you encrypt data stored in cloud storage services.
Many may not realize that cloud providers only encrypt your data during transmission over SSL/TLS network connections by default. In addition, they own and manage the encryption keys. This means that the encryption keys can potentially be stolen or misused, making your data accessible to unauthorized individuals.
In addition, most cloud storage providers, such as Dropbox, have noted that they will comply with government requests. However, many prefer to take control of the privacy and security of their data.
What is Cryptomator?
Cryptomator enables easy encryption of your data, as it is placed in cloud storage. It is an open-source solution without backdoors or other proprietary unknowns. In addition, it is independently reviewed by security researchers and undergoes rigorous automated security testing. Cryptomator is also GDPR-compliant for teams that want to use the solution.
Cryptomator creates a new folder, a vault that is secured with a password, and automatically handles the underlying data encryption.
It then makes it easy to access the vault location, as it is presented as a local virtual drive. In addition, when you transfer data to the folder, the data is automatically encrypted. Crytomator uses AES 256-bit industry-standard encryption technology to secure your data.
The process of installing Cryptomator is straightforward. First, you download the Cryptomator installation file, a 50 MB EXE file. Then, installing the executable is a simple "next, next, finish" process, including accepting the EULA and running the installation.
Setting up the Cryptomator vault
When you launch Cryptomator for the first time, it will prompt you to set up your vault. Click the + Add Vault button.
On the Add Vault screen, click Create New Vault or Open Existing Vault.
Here, we are creating a new Cryptomator vault. The tool will ask where you want to store your vault. By default, it enables you to store the vault in your OneDrive location. However, you can also specify a custom location for your Cryptomator vault. For Dropbox, you would simply supply the path to your local Dropbox folder.
Next, enter a password for the Cryptomator vault. You will want to ensure that the password you choose is strong, as your data encryption is only as good as the password you use to enable it. There is also an option to generate a recovery key if you lose your encryption password. This step is optional. Click the Create Vault button.
The recovery key is a paragraph of text that you will want to copy to a safe location or house in a password manager.
You can choose to Unlock Now to start using your encrypted vault location.
Enter your vault password, and click Unlock. You will be taken to the vault folder if you click the Reveal Drive button.
As you can see below, even though we have created the vault inside the OneDrive location, Cryptomator mounts the vault as a virtual drive location. You will see the WELCOME file created by default. The welcome file is a simple text file introducing you to Cryptomator.
At this point, you can start transferring your data to the new vault virtual drive. It will be encrypted automatically without any cumbersome data encryption tasks, making it seamless for the user.
Cryptomator is an open source solution that allows you to take the security and privacy of your cloud data into your own hands. Using Cryptomator, you own the encryption key and control who can access your data.
Per their documentation, it is not an all-inclusive security solution that replaces security best practices, such as encrypting your local hard disk, installing security patches, and running endpoint security protection.
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However, it is a great way to complement those security best practices with purpose-built encryption for data stored in the cloud. Learn more about Cryptomator and download it here: https://cryptomator.org/.
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