Whether you are the only user on your computer or not, it is always good to keep your confidential or sensitive files secure using encryption. Encryption is a method where you make the files unreadable unless a correct password is supplied to the program that is used to encrypt the files. There are many encryption software out there and one of the most popular one is TrueCrypt which is open source, proven to be secure and most importantly, free.
Other than many different encryption software, there are also many encryption algorithms and also different methods to use as password. For TrueCrypt, you can either specify a password or use a keyfile to decrypt the encrypted container. The problem with using password is it needs to be long and preferably a word that does not exist in a dictionary to prevent brute-force attack from cracking the password. Moreover a password can be captured by a keylogger. A unique keyfile is somehow risky as well because if you lose it, there is no way to decrypt the encrypted files. Probably a better way for some individuals is to use pictures as their password.
PixelCryptor is a free encryption software allows you to encrypt files or folders using picture as your password. The advantage of using an image file as the password is it won’t trigger any suspicion or attention even if you have that picture saved on your desktop. Moreover using PixelCryptor won’t add another password to the list of the dozens that you need to memorize.
It is very easy to encrypt and decrypt files/folders using PixelCryptor, thanks to the wizard that guides you through the whole process. After installation, run PixelCryptor and click on the second icon from the left to encode files. The next step is to add files or create new folders to the package (drag and drop is supported).
Once you’re done adding the files, click the Next button and click on the center of the program to select an image or picture as the password. PixelCryptor claims that using a large complicate image will provide better encryption than a small one without much details.
Click the Next button again and finally specify the location to save the encrypted package which will be in .CGP extension.
Decrypting the file is as easy as the encryption process. Run PixelCryptor and click on the third icon from the let to decode the files. Select the image that you’ve previously used as the password, click Next and select the .CGP package file.
If you have specified the correct picture, the files that are encrypted inside the package will be shown. Click Next and the final step is to select the destination to save the decrypted files.
Although encrypting files using pictures as your password is quite creative and useful especially to old people who tends to always forgot their password, it does have its flaws and weaknesses. First of all, the encrypted package is saved as .cgp extension and it is associated to PixelCryptor by default. This would allow any user who has access to the computer to know the program used to encrypt the package. The next thing is to search for the correct image to unlock and decrypt the .CGF package.
Windows keeps a list of all recent opened files by creating a shortcut and store them in the user’s Recent folder which can be easily accessed by pressing WIN+R and type recent in the Run window. The picture used by PixelCryptor to encode can be found on the Recent folder. If it’s not there, a program can be created to automate searching of all images on the computer and test it with PixelCryptor.
Unlike TrueCrypt which is so famous that attracts a lot of individuals or password recovery companies in constantly finding ways to beat the encryption, PixelCryptor flies under the radar and so far there are no known methods or cracking utility that is able to decrypt the encrypted package without the correct image as password.
Tip: Although PixelCryptor requires installation, the program’s folder installed in Program Files can be copied to an external USB flash drive and ran from there. Doing this will provide additional security.