Updated · Mar 24, 2022
Best for: Securing files across several cloud services
Cloud computing is a well-received innovation that continues its rise to dominance in the tech industry. Offering higher levels of security in comparison to local storage solutions, users continue to flock.
That sounds great, but aren’t there privacy concerns when leaving sensitive files on a remote server? Can’t the authorities potentially monitor your files? Many top cloud storage services offer zero-knowledge encryption, but that’s not always the case.
And that is where Boxcryptor comes in.
What Is Boxcryptor?
Boxcryptor is cloud security software that provides extra protection to your cloud file storage. In other words, it is a file encryption program that helps you to easily encrypt selected files on your device before synchronizing them to a wide variety of cloud storage providers.
What is encryption? And why is it important?
Data breaches are a global epidemic, with thousands of cases recorded every year, leading to massive losses and disruption of business processes.
Antivirus software and VPNs play vital roles in keeping data and traffic protected from dangers like malware, hackers, and data breaches. However, neither of those tools fully guarantees your local file security.
Using encryption software does the magic.
Simply put, encryption is a means of encoding data that enables only authorized parties to obtain access. File encryption software, like Boxcryptor, protects individual files by scrambling them. Unscrambling requiures a decryption key, and therefore only the key holder can gain access to the encrypted files.
Boxcrytor optimization for the cloud is unlike other file encryption software. Every file encrypted with this end-to-end software gets synchronized to local storage or your choice of a cloud storage service. Further ensuring your files’ privacy, Boxcryptor uses zero-knowledge encryption. But more on that later.
Boxcryptor reviews are generally a mixed bag. The eight ratings on Trustpilot averaged out to 2.3 stars out of 5. Not great. However, with two times the ratings on Capterra, it earned 4.2 stars. And it hits its peak on G2, netting 4.7 stars from 20 reviews.
These are key functions when using Boxcryptor.
I have already touched on the degree of skepticism that comes with cloud storage.
While generally considered safe, relying only on a cloud storage service can present risks, especially when it’s a platform that logs your password.
For instance, what happens on the off-chance that there is a warrant for your files stored on a server? Or perhaps an employee gains access to the server. What if?
If you have such security concerns, Boxcryptor has them covered with its private, end-to-end encryption.
This means no one else has the keys to your encrypted files, not even Boxcryptor - guaranteeing you have complete, exclusive access to your encoded files.
But as great as zero-knowledge sounds, it has a downside, what happens if you lose or forget your password?
For many other services, it would simply be a matter of requesting a new password. However, Boxcryptor users must face the bleak reality that their stored data is irretrievable.
Boxcryptor is not a classic file-sharing software in the strict sense of the term. Nevertheless, it allows you to share access to encrypted files with other users. As you can imagine, this makes group work so much simpler.
Teamwork on an unencrypted file is pretty straightforward, and anyone can access the content at any time. With encrypted files, unauthorized users will only see non-sensible random data - basically useless material.
That is until users receive the cryptographic key.
To share a file, simply right-click an encrypted file or folder and select manage permissions. Add the groups or users you want to share with and apply changes.
The receiver’s Boxcrypto account decrypts the key which is stored within the file or folder enabling content access.
Sync with Cloud Provider
Working with more than 30 cloud storage providers, Boxcryptor states clearly on its website that it handles the encryption, while the storage provider ensures the syncing of your now encrypted files to the cloud.
How does this work?
To begin with, you must install on your device the cloud provider’s sync client.
If already installed, Boxcryptor automatically detects the service and adds it. After you encrypt a file or local folder with Boxcryptor, the client syncs them to the cloud for storage.
Boxcryptor for macOS and Windows users get to use Smart Sync, a Dropbox feature for its business plan subscribers. Smart Sync helps save local storage space, allowing users to choose between having their files secured on just the cloud or also locally.
Most of the time, you just need to encrypt a file to protect its content. With that said, you may also wish to encrypt the filename itself if it contains sensitive information.
If you use folder and filename encryption, Boxcryptor transforms all the name’s characters into random Asian characters. As a result, the name becomes incoherent and unrecognizable, preventing any outside analysis or conclusions from being made.
When you use this feature, only the metadata stays unencrypted. The file itself will present no clue as to what it actually is until decryption takes place.
Filename encryption is not available to Boxcryptor free users.
Boxcryptor is compatible with all major operating systems and devices — Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. There is also a web version called Boxcryptor Portable. This version requires no installation and permits Linux users to work with Boxcryptor, as there is no dedicated Linux app.
You can download the various platform apps on the company’s website.
Alternatively, you can download Boxcryptor for Android on the Google Play Store. With over 100K downloads, the app boasts an average 4.2 customer review rating.
In the same vein, the iOS app is available for download on the Apple Store. The software does not share the same level of approval with its mediocre 2.8 average rating. These Boxcryptor customer reviews tend to be severely critical with frequent complaints about the app crashing and other bugs.
Is Boxcryptor secure?
Considering the entire basis for this software is built on security, you would expect that it performs impeccably well.
Fortunately, Boxcryptor does not disappoint. This doesn't automatically guarantee your files are secure. Ultimately, the security of your data comes down to you - the user, and how well you manage your key.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at how well Boxcryptor handles file protection.
To begin with, it uses a combination of AES 256-bit encryption and RSA 4096-bit handshake. The former is strong enough to resist brute force attacks. Militaries, financial, and security institutions around the world use it to protect sensitive information.
The process involves Boxcryptor encrypting your local files with AES. In turn, RSA encrypts the AES key, and each user or group receives a pair of generated keys (private and public).
Boxcryptor also uses two-factor authentication to beef up security. This requires that users present an extra proof of identity. 2FA is essential because unauthorized users could potentially gain access to your password.
Typically, you receive a message providing a one-time use authentication code generated by an algorithm.
While file sharing with other Boxcryptor users is clear, what if you want to provide non-Boxcryptor users access to your encrypted files? Whisply helps make that happen.
Whisply is more than just a Boxcryptor feature. It is a separate dedicated service created by the company for secure file transfers.
If using Google Drive, OneDrive, or Dropbox, Boxcryptor lets you generate an encrypted link for the folders or files you want to share.
The intended user then receives this encrypted link and is prompted for a PIN or password.
You can find detailed instructions on how to use Whisply on the company’s blog.
Ease of Use and Interface
Boxcryptor for Windows and Mac has quite heavy installation files. And if new to file encryption, it may surprise you to discover that they are not traditional apps. Instead, they are comparable to a file explorer.
After software installation, you receive a quick tutorial. This considerably lowers the learning curve for new users.
You can then expect Boxcryptor to automatically detect and display your installed cloud platforms. This virtual drive is where the encryption takes place. Free users are limited to only one cloud service.
Encrypted files automatically decrypt in the background - requiring no manual effort. After completing your work with the file, changes are saved and it is once again encrypted.
You can modify settings to maximize this software’s function. This includes file and folder management capabilities, removable drive auto-detection, and the ability to mount the Boxcrptor drive as a virtual drive.
In general, using Boxcryptor on Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS is not challenging. Linux users will find it just as easy with the Boxcryptor online portable version.
Boxcryptor has numerous avenues for users to access pertinent information.
To start with is an impressive help section on its website. There are a variety of topics including software features, account management, set-up information, tutorials, and payment information. There are also FAQs and troubleshooting tips.
Additionally, there’s an online community where you can start a discussion or join one. This section allows you to investigate similar Boxcryptor app challenges and determine best practices.
If you don’t find the knowledge base and community forum sufficient, you can contact customer care by completing a contact form or sending an email. This is where support slides disappointingly.
To begin with, it’s not available 24/7. You can only reach a representative on business days.
Additionally, only paying customers have access - free users are restricted to the community and help pages.
Unlike many other open-source file encryption software options, Boxcryptor is a premium service. There is a free plan, but this has limited features in comparison with its competitors.
When it comes to pricing, Boxcryptor offers users several plans to choose from. They fall under two broad groups — Individuals and Teams.
- Free: $0.00
- Personal: $48.00/year
- Business: $96.00/year
- Company: $12.00 per user/month
- Teams - Enterprise: Quote based
Boxcryptor Free vs. Paid
Boxcryptor’s free plan may be basic, but that does not mean it’s completely stripped of all functionality. For example, you can use it with only one cloud provider. So it’s Boxcryptor with OneDrive or one of several other choices, but you don’t receive support for more options.
Furthermore, you can encrypt files on only two devices with a free account. This can severely limit access to encrypted cloud files if working with many gadgets. Additionally, filename encryption is not available for free subscribers, and there is no access to customer support staff.
The Personal plan is a step up, and the improvement is clear to see. First-tier paying subscribers are no longer limited to a single cloud provider. There’s also no device connection limitations. And users who pay for this plan can contact support directly.
The Business plan is next. This comes with all the features of the Personal plan, as well as a higher level of customer service and business-related Whisply integration.
There are also two other Boxcryptor subscription plans to secure files for teams and businesses. These come with many more features and perks.
The first option is the Company plan. In addition to the offered Business plan features, it includes user and group management features, activity auditing, active directory support, and customizable policies. Linch-pinning these features is a Master Key that allows the company admin to manage all encrypted files or reset passwords of different users.
This plan is intended for small companies and supports up to 25 users.
Finally, there’s the Boxcryptor Enterprise plan, designed with larger businesses in mind. It has all the functionality of the Company plan, along with a dedicated account manager, single sign-on, user provisioning, premium customer support, and other features.
And that’s a wrap. This Boxcryptor review demonstrates that it is a capable software for handling your data encryption needs on the cloud. It’s not exactly a saturated industry, but Boxcryptor definitely ranks among the best file encryption services.
However, it is pertinent to note that most of its competitors are free of charge. Boxcryptor has a free plan, but you will have to pay for a subscription to escape its freemium constraints.
Can Boxcryptor be trusted? Yes, it can. The level of encryption, complemented with extra layers of security, points to your files being safe when using this service.
Is Boxcryptor Safe?
Yes, Boxcryptor is safe. The software uses combined AES and RSA encryption to secure your files stored locally or on the cloud. Not even Boxcryptor has access to your information because of its zero-knowledge policy.
Do I need Boxcryptor?
If you have sensitive personal or business files on cloud storage, you can undoubtedly rely on Boxcryptor to secure them. As this Boxcryptor review has shown, the software keeps your photos, audio, videos, and documents protected and for your eyes only.
How much does Boxcryptor cost?
Boxcryptor has five different subscription plans:
- Free - $0.00
- Personal - $48.00/year
- Business - $96.00/year
- Company - $12.00 per user/month
- Enterprise - Quote based
Daniel is an Economics grad who fell in love with tech. His love for books and reading pushed him into picking up the pen - and keyboard. Also a data analyst, he's taking that leap into data science and machine learning. When not writing or studying, chances are that you'll catch him watching football or face-deep in an epic fantasy novel.
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