Files that you store in Dropbox, Box, Stack, Google Drive or other cloud services are encrypted by the provider by default. But the weakest link lies elsewhere. If someone manages to log in with your login details, your files are quickly accessible. Not to mention possible 'third parties' that have access to your cloud files. Cryptomator adds an extra layer of security to 'public cloud services' and makes your files unreadable for third parties.
1 Additional encryption
Fortunately, almost all cloud services offer encryption for storage. This means that your files are stored unreadable on the server(s). But if someone got their hands on your username and password, they can access your files from any computer with an Internet connection. Because you have no idea which governments and companies can also view and check your files, an extra layer of encryption is more than welcome. With Cryptomator you can easily do this: anyone can set it up and it works on any device.
Cryptomator offers an extra layer of security on the side of 'the client': your computer, smartphone or tablet. As soon as you store something in Cryptomator's vault, your files are first given special treatment. They are made unreadable with additional encryption before they end up in the cloud. Even the names of files and folders cannot be traced. If you open a folder that has been treated by Cryptomator in Windows Explorer, you can't figure it out and all you see is 'junk files'.
Cryptomator is an open source project and the software is offered completely free of charge. Here, Cryptomator rises far above the competition that promise extra security for your cloud files. No registration is required, and nothing related to your Cryptomator or you as a person is stored online. Everything happens on your computer (or through another client of yours). To access Cryptomator-protected files, you need a Cryptomator 'client program'. Cryptomator is available for Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS and Android. In this article we will discuss the Windows version.
4 Starting point
In this example, we are using Cryptomator with Dropbox, but it can be any other cloud service. The condition is that the cloud service integrates with Windows. We have installed the Dropbox program. This creates a special folder that you can open via Windows Explorer. Everything you save in this folder automatically ends up with the cloud service of the same name on the internet. These files are automatically accessible on all devices where you install Dropbox.
5 Safe experimentation
The great thing about Cryptomator is that you do not secure your entire cloud service. Even if you install and use Cryptomator, you can choose to save certain files via the 'default method'. So if you already have a 'full' Dropbox, you can safely experiment with Cryptomator without risking losing the current files in your Dropbox if you make a mistake, for example. Download and install Cryptomator. The first time you start the program you will see an empty control panel.
Encryption is not only advisable if you describe yourself as a 'slightly paranoid person'. With a public cloud service, you never know who has access to your files. Even the physical storage location of the server(s) on the Internet is difficult for a mere mortal to figure out. You also do not know which government institutions or other parties have access to your data. Finally, there is the security of the cloud service itself. History has shown that hundreds of thousands of accounts were temporarily accessible due to an error. By taking measures with Cryptomator yourself, you cannot prevent all of this. But you make sure that your files are and remain unreadable.