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Get powerful cross-platform data protection with Encryption Wizard

23 May 2012, Mike Williams

When you need to carry sensitive data on a USB key then it’s easy to find an encryption tool which will help to keep it safe. But life gets a little more complicated when you need to transfer your files from a PC to a Mac, or maybe a Linux system: now you’ll need a cross-platform solution, and we have the perfect candidate in mind.

Encryption Wizard is an easy-to-use, yet surprisingly powerful Java-based encryption tool. Developed by the US military (a plus point or a problem, depending on your point of view) but available for all, the program provides a straightforward way to protect confidential files on USB keys (or anywhere else, really).

There’s no messing around with installation, for instance. Encryption Wizard runs from a single 1.23MB JAR file which you can use anywhere there’s a JRE 1.5 or later installed.

Encryption Wizard can generate secure passphrases for you with a click

The program is straightforward in operation, too. Drag and drop in the files or folders you’d like to protect, enter your passphrase and you can encrypt everything (using 128-bit AES) at a click. There’s even a secure delete option to wipe the original files (though if you choose this, be very sure you don’t forget the passphrase or your documents will be lost forever).

But there’s plenty of bonus functionality, if you need it. Encryption Wizard can generate passphrases for you, for instance. If you prefer alternatives then it’s able to encrypt files using a PKI or X509 certificate, or a suitable smart card (CAC/ PIV). There’s also support for compressing files; you can add metadata to the document which won’t be encrypted (handy if you’ve a bunch of encrypted files and want to quickly find the right one); and the program’s operation can be customised in a variety of ways.

We still prefer something like TrueCrypt for, say, providing useful ways to protect the data on a single PC: it’s much more versatile. But if you’re regularly carrying confidential files from one platform to another then Encryption Wizard is a quick and easy way to keep them safe, and it’s definitely worth a few minutes of your time, just to see what the program can do for you.

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