Internet privacy and security course
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Chapter 43

AES Crypt. A straightforward, cross-platform solution for file encryption.

Unlike VeraCrypt and TrueCrypt, AES Crypt doesn’t allow for on-the-fly encryption, and it can’t be used for mounting encrypted file-hosted volumes. This program can encrypt/decrypt a file, but in most cases this is enough.

AES Crypt is free software, except for the Ios version using the 256-bit encryption algorithm. Today this algorithm is seen to be the most secure and well-analyzed one and adopted as the standard algorithm used by the United States government (I don’t recommend you blindly follow their standards, keeping in mind the Dual EC_DRBG story with backdoor for the NSA). It doesn’t offer a variety of algorithms here as well as the option of combined encryption.

 You can download the program by going to the official site.

Though you may be wondering why would you need another encryption program if you already use TrueCrypt and VeraCrypt?

There are a few reasons to install AES Crypt. First, sometimes you need to merely encrypt a file without creating an encrypted file-hosted volume and mounting it. Here is where AES Crypt comes into play, your file will be encrypted with a few clicks of the mouse and decrypted just as easily.

Second, AES Crypt is a cross-platform solution. You can use it across all your devices, including iOS and Android. If you encrypted a photo on your iPhone, you will easily decrypt it on your computer running Windows operating system. TrueCrypt and VeraCrypt users can only dream about it.

AES Crypt has weaknesses too. When you use AES Crypt, you must remember that after encryption the original version of your file is still stored by your computer, and it should be removed. But you must do it properly if you don’t wish the file you’ve removed to be recovered for a few minutes by malicious intruders.

When using AES Crypt, you should also be aware of the name of the encrypted file. We have already mentioned how important it is to name your encrypted file-hosted volume properly: it mustn’t by all means hint at its importance and contents though this is not always possible. AES Crypt doesn’t change the name of a file, and it must be changed manually should it fail to conform to the above-mentioned requirements.

AES Crypt has one more downside: it doesn’t allow to encrypt folders. You can resolve this problem if you archive a folder beforehand and then proceed to encrypt the archive.

In the next chapters we will walk you through the examples of AES Crypt’s running on different operating systems.